dairy cow on farm

10 Facts about mother cows

How much do you know about animal welfare in the dairy industry?

  • Cows only produce milk after they have a calf. This means that mother cows are kept continually pregnant so that they continually produce milk. After the last calf is born, mother cows are inseminated as soon as possible, so that she is already highly pregnant once the actual milk cycle is coming to an end and the “dry period” is limited to approximately eight weeks in a year. 1
  • Dairy cows are at a higher animal welfare risk than beef cattle, but despite this, dairy production is mistakenly perceived as more humane than beef production. 2 
  •  There is a common misconception that dairy does not involve killing any animals, but the male calves of the continually pregnant mothers are often killed for their meat as a part of the veal industry.  2 
  •  Worldwide, more than 265 million dairy cows produce more than 680 million tons of milk annually. 3
  • Up to 12,000 liters of milk a year are given by high performance cows. This physical performance is comparable to a top athlete who must run a marathon every day. 1  
  •  In order to produce a single liter of milk, a cow’s body must pump half a ton of blood through her udder. 3
  • Advertisements often show pictures of cows on lush meadows, but very few dairy cows ever have access to a pasture.
  • On most dairy farms, the calf is routinely separated from their mother shortly after birth. Female calves await the same cruel fate as their mothers, and all male calves are killed as a part of the meat industry.  2 
  • When dairy cows become sick, weak, or injured after years of pregnancy, they are transported to slaughter. Their meat is often used for ground beef and cheaper products. 4
  •  Some evidence suggests that dairy cows experience particularly painful and traumatic slaughter due to often violent handling during transport and other circumstances. 5
dairy cows on farm

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