The dairy industry has constantly managed to increase productivity with the high demand for dairy products. But a lesser-known fact is that dairies employ abusive practices to meet these demands.
Investigators from Animal Equality conducted an extensive study in 2015–2016 in which 107 dairy farms, two semen collection centres, 11 cattle markets, eight slaughterhouses, seven meat markets and five tanneries across nine states were covered. The study shed light on the atrocities conducted by the dairy industry on helpless cattle from breeding to slaughtering.
The dairy industry blatantly breaches animal rights and existing laws through practices that can potentially harm the cattle and can even affect humans who consume dairy products.
Animal Cruelty On Dairy Farms
Over 300 million cattle are subjected to abuse to fulfil the dairy demands of the population. Here is a deeply saddening but real look at what these animals go through.
Similar to humans, cows and buffaloes produce milk for their offspring. Once calves are born, they are separated and tied away from their mothers so that the milk can be used to meet the demands of human consumption.
Male calves and bulls do not produce milk and are expensive for cattle farmers to keep, so they are fated to be sold for slaughter or starved to death.
Female calves are raised. They are forcefully made pregnant by artificial insemination. Eventually, they are slaughtered when they cannot produce enough milk.
The cattle are also dehorned by cutting off the horns or burning the tissues around it without anaesthesia which is extremely painful.
Some cattle farmers cut off the tail of the cows and buffaloes. This harmful practise is known as tail docking.
Cattle are tied using ropes and cannot even move around, which forces them to sit in their own excrement.
Cows are brutally beaten with sticks or chains, punched or kicked. They are even subjected to sexual abuse as workers pinch their genitals to make them submissive.
Female cattle are injected with oxytocin to artificially stimulate milk production. This practise is illegal and can harm the reproductive organs of animals, resulting in the early death of the animals.
Animals are often injured or suffer from diseases or infections. However, dairy owners do not provide medical care to these animals to reduce their costs.
Unproductive dairy animals are sold for meat. During the transportation of cattle to slaughterhouses, the animals are crammed into trucks. Often, handlers rub chilly in the animals’ eyes, shove sticks or fingers in their genitals and bend or break their tails to load as many animals as they can.
At slaughterhouses, butchers repeatedly slit the animal’s throat with knives and skin the animals live. Some slaughterhouses bludgeon the animals with hammers to make them unconscious.
Preventing Animal Cruelty
All these practices of the dairy and meat industry are violations of the basic rights of animals. Not only is the dairy industry cruel to animals and its workers, but it is equally harmful to the environment and to the consumers of dairy products.
In India, vegetarians avoid meat because of its association with animal cruelty and slaughter. However, dairy products continue to be consumed even in vegetarian households as they seem to be free of the violence that is apparent with meat consumption.
Reducing or eliminating the use of dairy products can help protect the lives of the animals, our environment and our own health.