Although the UK has welfare standards prohibiting some cruel practises - eg veal crates or calf mutilations beyond certain age - it doesn’t mean dairy cows live a happy life.
Cows would normally form herds with complex social structure where daughters stay in the herd and bulls migrate. None of this is possible on a dairy farm and cows are permanently stressed by the unnatural conditions.
All dairy cows have their newborn babies taken away from them within two days and they spend seven months of each year both pregnant and producing so much milk it could feed eight calves. That’s the reason so many of them suffer from serious deficiencies, exhaustion and lameness. And because the udder works so hard, sooner or later dairy cows develop mastitis – a painful udder infection.
The very basis of animal farming is about minimising costs and maximising profit. Minimising costs comes with minimising cow movement which means limited or zero grazing where cows spend most of or their entire lives indoors. It also means minimising costs when it comes to treatment so as long as cows produce enough milk, they won’t necessarily get the vet treatment they need.
Cows can’t endure such high demands on their bodies for too long and most of them are slaughtered at around five years of age because they stop being profitable (due to infertility, low milk yield or an illness).
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