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  • The True Face of Milk
    The True Face of Milk admin
    admin on Wednesday, October 2, 2013
    reviews [0]
    Animal Abuse [4]

    Australian Dairy Statistics:

    • There are over 10,075 dairy farms in Australia which adds up to an approximate 3,056,00 dairy cows and calves (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2006).
    • Australian dairy farmers produce 10,075 million litres of milk each year (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Food Statistics 2004).
    • Australia accounts for 13% of the world trade in dairy products, behind the European Union (34%) and New Zealand (32%). (Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy in Focus 2005).

    Tasmanian Dairy Statistics:

    • The Tasmanian Dairy industry produces 610 million litres of milk per year.
    • On average, Each cow produces 4,520L of milk per year.
    • Tasmania accounts for 6.2% of Australia’s milk production.
    • There are approximately 500 dairy farms in Tasmania.
    • The average herd size on a Tasmanian dairy is 275 cows.
    • The Tasmanian dairy industry advisory organisation ‘intoDairy’ receives sponsorship from ANZ Bank, Roberts and Elders. At present, there is no regulatory body in the dairy industry.

    What Industry Says:
    According to intoDairy Tasmania, Tasmania is ‘a great place to dairy’ as it has reliable rainfall, low land cost, competitive dairy companies and minimal regulations and red tape. www.intodairy.com.au

    Why Milk is Cruel:
    dairy cowsMany people find it difficult to understand how drinking milk could be cruel as they believe that cows produce milk naturally anyway. In order to produce milk, a cow must give birth to a calf each year. This raises the question “if you are drinking milk, what is the calf drinking”. The sad truth is that the majority of calves born on dairy farms are sent to slaughter.

    Calves are taken from their mother 12 – 24 hrs after birth. Research has shown that there is a strong maternal bond between a mother cow and her calf. Mother cows show strong signs of grieving after their calf is removed and will bellow desperately for it to return.

    Calves that are not wanted for herd replacement or to be used as ‘pink veal’ are sent to slaughter. Industry considers it acceptable to transport calves to slaughter at the age of 5 days old. The calves are crammed into trucks and transported long distances to abattoirs. Some calves are crushed to death during transport or seriously injured due to overstocking of trucks and the fragility of the calf itself. Once unloaded at the slaughterhouse, calves are left in crowded pens, terrified and hungry, where they await slaughter.

    Dairy calves are an unwanted by product of the dairy industry as they do not grow as fast as beef calves and their meat is considered to be poor quality by the beef industry. Approximately 1 million dairy calves are slaughtered each year in Australia. (Read more about bobby calves)

    The Life of a Dairy Cow:
    The life of a dairy cow is full of pain and suffering from the time she is old enough to give birth to her first calf. Under natural conditions, cows can live from between 15 – 20 years of age. Dairy cows live for an average of only 3 – 5 years. A dairy cow is only valuable for as long as her milk yield is good.

    cow with leg problemsDairy cows are made to give birth to a calf each year of their life until their milk production falls bellow profitable levels. To maintain profitable levels, the average dairy cow must produce 4,520 litres of milk per year. This is more than 10 times the amount of milk that is required by a calf. The strain of producing such large milk quantities may cause painful swelling of the udder resulting in stretching and tearing of the ligaments. Added to this is the trauma of milking which is carried out twice a day using machines that vacuum the milk from the cow’s teats. In an natural situation, a calf would gently suckle its mother 5 – 7 times a day.

    One of the leading causes of death in dairy cows is mastitis, a bacterial infection (Streptococcus Uberis) of the teat. Mastitis is very painful, even in mild cases, and causes the cow to experience an increase in respiration and heart rate.

    Lameness is a common problem in dairy cows. Cows often have to walk long distances to the milking shed where they are then forced to stand for long periods of time on hard concrete floors whilst being milked or waiting to be milked. The weight of their swollen udders places additional stress on the cow’s hooves.

    Tail docking:
    Tail docking involves the removal of up to two-thirds of a cows tail and is generally carried out at 12-18 months of age. This cruel practice is carried out in order to reduce obstruction to the udder during milking and to prevent workers from being swatted in the face by muddy tails. Dairy farmers justify tail docking by adhering to a number of reasons that have been scientifically proved to be inaccurate. Despite claims, tail docking does not reduce the risk of leptospirosis, reduce the risk of mastitis, improve milk quality, result in cleaner udders or reduce fly numbers. The truth is tail docking causes the cow acute pain during the procedure, as no anaesthesia is used. Following the procedure, cows may be subjected to chronic pain as a result of infection, inflammation and lesions. In addition, as a result of tail docking, cows have a reduced ability to get rid of flies, creating further discomfort for the animal.

    Tail docking is carried out using a number of methods; tight rubber rings, a sharp knife or heated docking iron. Despite the fact that a study by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries has concluded that there is no evidence that these provide any health benefits or improvement in milk quality, tail docking is still a common practice.

    Calving Induction:
    Calving induction is classified as a ‘herd management procedure’ in which cows are induced so that they calve within the seasonal calving period (August) to ensure that their milk production meets market demands. Regardless of when a cow was mated or when she conceived, cows are given an intramuscular injection of corticosteroids by a veterinarian that prematurely triggers the birth of the calf. The injection mimics the calf’s ‘time to be born’ signal and cows give birth approximately two weeks later.

    Calving induction places an incredible strain on the cow and increases the risk of mastitis, retained placenta and infection. Induced cows are more likely to require assisted calving. In addition, it increases the cow’s susceptibility to illness and death.

    Calves born as a result of induction are smaller, weaker and less coordinated than calves born naturally. Some calves are born dead.

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