Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Drop Dairy Challenge

When you think of dairy farms, what comes to mind? Idyllic green pastures dotted with grazing bovine?
Perhaps rough yet gentle hands calmly milking at dawn?
Maybe at worst mechanized, yet humane, operations?
Think again. 
An in-depth investigation by Mercy for Animals into dairy farms in the US uncovers some of the industry's most gruesome and cruel practices. For those of you who are ready to give up dairy, this is a heart wrenching, sometimes stomach turning, must-read. 
"Day 1
The mechanic training me says of the cows, "You'll learn to hate them." He screams profanities at them and occasionally whips them with a frayed steel cable. He charges at others with a large wrench," writes the investigator in their diary.
"Day 16
(...) I also observed workers feeding the calves. They held the calves' necks between their legs, yanked their heads up and dumped formula down their throats. An uncooperative calf was frustrating one worker, so he kicked her so hard that she flew back several feet against the wall of her stall."

The investigation goes on to describe how the cows are milked despite being chock full of growth hormones, sick, or lame. Accordingly, unless a cow was recently administered penicillin, all milk goes to market.

Cows and calves are beaten, tortured, and, when finally too sick, simply left to die. When cows are too weak to be impregnated, in order to artificially produce milk, they are sent the slaughter house, sold as either meat or dog food.

Still think there's nothing cruel about dairy?

I first read of the investigation on ChloĆ© Jo Davis' Girlie Girl Army who, with Kind Green Planet, is challenging everyone to drop dairy for one week.

A few weeks ago, I confessed to having slipped back into my dairy-eating ways and pledged to return to my compassionate diet. After reading the undercover notes, I strongly urge everyone to take the Drop Dairy Challenge along with me.