All-Creatures.org is a compassionate internet site for people who care about animals. It has many links which tell about man's cruelty to animals as well as others of an inspirational and kindly nature in this regard. Today I clicked the link entitled "Cattle Exploitation." I thought I knew almost everything there is to know about this cruelty, but I was wrong. There was more to learn and how better to understand a cow's pain than through her eyes? Please take no offense because this is written to promote understanding and compassion.
"LIVING" QUARTERS. I live with many other cows in an intensive dry-lot dairy operation where we must endure day after day standing in our own manure-laden holding pens. I once heard someone making a comment about the Christ Child being born in a "smelly" animal cave or stable. Well, I thought - if you were kept captive in an enclosure as we or they -just how pleasant would your surroundings be? We don't like living in our manure either. At one time, we had access to pastures where we could relieve ourselves, but those days are basically gone forever for most of us.
OUR FOOD. Imagine- that were it not for the fear of mad-cow disease, we would still be fed food which contained the processed remains of other animals- maybe even dogs and cats. God designed us to eat only plant foods, but what did others care about our food needs if they could expediently use cheap animal by-products instead of the grain we need.Hopefully now, the high energy diet we are fed is truly vegetarian.
ELECTRIC MILKING MACHINES - I know that being hooked up to milking machines is much easier on the people responsible to milk us. But being hooked up two or three times a day is trying because we are "pushed" to produce 10 times more milk than is natural. Why do people still feel such a need for our products when it is being found out daily that a diet rich in meat and dairy is not healthful. Milk is basically the food for babies and people don't really need it at all. In fact, it is a fallacy to believe that the only way to get calcium is from milk and dairy. I know vegans who don't use ANY of our products and they are doing just fine. And, of course, it has often been noted that the countries which do not consume a lot of dairy are basically healthier and their women don't suffer as much from osteoporosis, while the incidence of it in dairy-eating countries like ours is quite serious and debilitating.
However, please don't take my word for it. Professor T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. who was raised on an American dairy farm believed too as so many still do that the consumption of animal products is the bedrock of good health. Not so, says the professor today. After studying nutrition, diet and cancer for 40 years, his China Project data affirms that 80-90% of ALL cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a PLANT-BASED diet.
PREGNANT ALL THE TIME- At one time we were allowed to have sex with a bull. Those were the good ole days when we could still spend a day in a pasture and feel the warm rays of sun and breathe in fresh air. Of course, they are gone for many of us forever and so are the bulls. Their sperm is extracted from them and we are artifically inseminated- year in and year out. And what should be a joy for any mother - our beautiful new-born MALE calves are whisked away from us shortly after birth. They are then placed in a smallish crate -unable to turn around for 16 weeks until they are killed for their veal. Our female calves will be allowed to live so that they can join us on this painful milk line - ready to take over when we are spent and then sent to slaughter.
UNSANITARY UDDERS. Imagine that in these manure- laden surroundings we are forced to lie down in our own feces. Of course this means that our udders sometimes are covered with feces. If they are not properly cleansed before milking, there is a possibility of some of the feces and bacteria getting into the milk. Sometimes our udders are infected with mastitis and blood and pus are secreted as a result. This too can find its way into our milk. I wonder what people would think about this when buying that "pure" gallon of white milk? Perhaps the pasteurization process helps to eliminate the possiblilty of danger to the drinker, but I read somewhere that itdoesn't. However, if we were allowed to live in cleaner conditions, the dangers of impure milk would be minimized I'm sure.
HUGELY DISTENDED UDDERS. I learned that there are some farms where cows are permitted to graze in the pasture. How lucky they are! But then I was shown a picture of one poor cow with a hugely distended udder. This is very painful. Why hasn't she been milked? She is obviously pregnant, but still- her painful condition should be addressed and if milking her isa solution, it should be done. Colustrums can be added later for the calf after its birth. Another cow was so distended that she had to spread her back legs apart. When she defecated, the droppings landed on her swollen udder because of this condition. Obviously, she too is being neglected and not getting the care and attention she needs. She can't even lay down to rest because of this condition. Can you imagine what it is like to have to stand and not be ableto rest one's weary pregnant body?
THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE. This account happened to a pregnant cow who was sent to a New York stockyard. It didn't matter to her owners that she was pregnant. They decided her faithful years of milk productivity would end in a slaughterhouse. Why couldn't they give her just one beautiful summer in a sunny meadow where she could give birth to her last calf? No, that thought would never even enter into the minds of profit-making dairy farmers. In the stockyard she gave birth to a downer baby boy. He is left for dead and she doesn't know what will happen to him because soon she will be beyond worry as she faces the horrors of the slaughter house. Sir Paul McCartney once said that everyone would be vegetarian if slaughterhouses had walls of glass.
But then a miracle - not for her, but for her little boy calf. Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary spotted her baby and was able to rescue him. Only a few hours old and still wet from birth, Genetook him to their farm. The prognosis was grim, but they hoped and probably prayed for thisinnocent victim of farm abuse. They even gave him a name- "Opie." His temperature was too low to read on the thermometer. But Opie lived and he would grow up to be a huge steer. Hewould never experience the torture and hell of so many millions of other male calves forced intolittle crates. His mother would have been happy to know her little boy was safe. He was now being raised by friends and if he could realize what heaven on earth is like - this was it.
OPIE LIVES TO BE EIGHTEEN. In April of 2008 Farm Sanctuary shared with us the newsthat Opie, their resident ambassador had died. This is their lead in paragraph:
"On a cold day 18 years ago, a tiny calf, no more than a few hours old, was abandoned and left for dead at a stockyard in upstate New York. A dairy industry discard too weak and sickly to even stand, the male Holstein lay helpless in an obscure alleyway where few signs of life emanated from him - let alone any indication of the magnificent creature he was destined to become."
They then went on to recount how Gene Baur at the time -a young activist, brought the downer calf to a seedling operation called Farm Sanctuary. At this time they sheltered only a few animalsand these were cared for by its founders and a few volunteers. One of their first rescues -Opie was placed on an IV, given colostrums and bottle fed until he was well enough to be introduced to one of his herd mates- the now 21 year-old Maya. She too had been a downer calf and under her watchful eye, Opie grew and thrived.
Opie grew to be more than six feet tall and weighed 3,000 pounds in his prime. He became thebenevolent paternal leader of their cattle herd. Visitors were sometimes a little fearful of this huge steer but when they approached him, they learned that he had a huge heart to match his size and the fear melted away.