With all the street outreach and yoga workshops I've been doing lately I'm constantly coming across people who offer me words of support and affirmation.
"Hey what you are doing is great, I'm 100% against animal cruelty, that's why I'm vegetarian."
Although I love that people are making conscious choices to not eat animal body parts, the words "I'm Vegetarian" just isn't enough.
I understand. When I first decided that eating animals was ethically wrong I went vegetarian. After all, you're not actually consuming the body of the animal so nothing has to die for you, right?
Not quiet. Although you may not be consuming their flesh directly, you are directly responsible for their death.
SO HOW IS DAIRY ANIMAL ABUSE?
In the dairy industry female cows are forcibly impregnated from as young as 15 months of age. This is equivalent to us impregnating 7 year old humans, these female bovines are just children themselves when they are first forcible impregnated and exploited.
The cows are held down in a rack, while a human carer inserts semen into them, its common practice for them to be "stimulated" by the farmer by putting a hand up their rectum to position the cervix.
You can see via the video below (Trigger warning contains graphic content) that this process is uncomfortable and not welcomed by the cow, but as they cannot articulate for themselves in a language humans understand, their cries go unheeded. There pain ignored.
9 months after the cow falls pregnant she gives birth, her body floods with mothering hormones, her milk comes in to feed her baby and she instinctively knows what she is supposed to do. But she is never given the chance to be a mother, her baby is taken from her, usually within 24 hours of giving birth.
The baby is then sexed. Boy calves, or bobbies, are considered a waste product in the dairy industry.
After all, if you can't produce milk, what use do they have for you?
They are then discarded in one of two ways.
1. They can be legally killed on the farm up to 24 hours of age by a bullet or blunt force trauma.
2. They can be sent to sale yards or sold at slaughter for their flesh.
Girl calves fear little better, 75% of girls are taken and bottle reared by the farmer to be used as replacement "breeders" and subjected to the same cycle of abuse as their mothers, the other 25% subjected to the same fate as bobby calves.
We as consumers are fed lies to make us feel better about the milk we purchase. The terms "organic", "farmer owned", "Healthy", "Sustainable" and "Made for You" are used copiously to give the public a false feel good feeling on their purchasing decisions.
Some of the dairy's even offer tours and the opportunity to meet the milk producers, but if you show too much interest in the process, ask what happens to the boys, or if you can see where the babies are kept, you are quickly shut down.
The truth is the dairy industry is like the meat industry, but worse. After 5 to 6 years of being constantly pregnant and lactating, the female cows body begins to break down. Milk production reduces and they begin to not earn their keep. They are then sent to slaughter, many of them still pregnant with not even half of their natural life span spent.
There is nothing natural about humans consuming dairy, we stop being breastfed by our own mothers within only a few years of life, yet we continue to breast feed from another species mother until well into adulthood. How does that seem natural?
SO HOW CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Every time you shop you have the power to decide where your money goes. If you buy dairy products you are directly responsible for this cruelty. There are thousands of dairy alternatives available, from coconut and almond milk yogurt, to cashew nut cheese and oat milk, there is not rational reason to continue supporting the dairy industry and the cruel processes it strives to hide.
HELP GOING VEGAN
If you know exploiting animals is wrong, and you no longer want to participate in this systemised cruelty going vegan has neve been easier.
The app Fussy Vegan is incredible for helping to check food labels and most local Facebook groups are happy to offer advice on different products.
We will never be silenced