Learn about dairy farming
Just like people, cows, in order to produce milk, must have a baby.
The dairy industry forcibly impregnates cows once each year to keep the milk flowing. Male calves born to the dairy industry are either slaughtered at 6 days old to make TV dinners and kid leather, or are farmed for veal and slaughtered at between 3 and 6 months of age.
Female calves are either removed from their mothers and placed in a crate or fitted device that makes them unable to suckle. Instead of their mother's milk, calves are fed a soy based formula so that the farmers can supply milk for human consumption.
Anne Marie was a rescued dairy cow that lived at sanctuary. She was used as a dairy cow for 9 years and during that time probably gave birth to 9 calves. So that the farmer could sell her milk for human consumption, all of her calves would have been removed shortly after their birth.
Once rescued, we found Anne Marie in a poor nutritional state from her years of being pregnant and milked. Her body was frail and twisted, her horns pock marked, testament to years of long term mineral deficiency. Her body had been designed to produce the milk for 4-6 calves each pregnancy, in order to satisfy consumer demand for dairy.
The dairy industry asserts that dairy cows have the maternal instinct bred out of them, and that the cows do not mind when their babies are taken shortly after birth. However, Anne Marie actually gave birth shortly after arriving at sanctuary, and when her calf died due to it being very weak, Anne Marie displayed grieving and distress just as any mother would.
After her birth, Fiona, born to a dairy cow, was moved to a crate. Having to sit, sleep and eat in her own faeces and urine, she arrived with acid burns to the underside of her body.
These days, we simply cannot understand how there continues to be demand for dairy when it causes cows and calves so much distress. Apart from studies linking dairy to diseases in humans, there are now so many plant based, delicious alternatives such as soy, almond, oat and rice milk.