The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but rather, “Can they suffer?” (Jeremy Bentham)
I was delighted to learn last week that the good people of Farmaround are offering “Slaughter Free Milk”. Here’s the blurb from their website:
Dairy cows have an average life expectancy of 17 years. However, once they have reached their peak dairy producing age at around four to five years old, they are generally sold for slaughter. Aside from their curtailed life, a dairy cow is forced to bear a calf every year which will then be taken away from her immediately or within a few days of birth, distressing both the calf and the mother. A young male calf would then either be shot, or fattened up for veal; female calves are either shot, fattened for veal or reared on powdered milk to eventually enter the dairy herd to continue the cycle of intensive milk production.
Cows raised under the slaughter-free scheme will have a different life altogether. In partnership with a Norfolk farm and The Ahisma Dairy Foundation, our slaughter-free milk will come from a herd of Jersey cows. Any cow born into this herd will live out their full lives. There will be no slaughter, and calves will continue to feed from their mothers until they are naturally weaned.
By contrast, plans are afoot to bring zero-grazing factory dairy farming to the UK in Lincolnshire and time is running out for people to make their views known on this practice and do something to stop it. The zero-grazing approach to dairy is a lot more “factory” than “farm” as the animals never walk on or eat grass and would be lucky to even see it. It is the exploitation of animals for our own greed, taken to its extreme. I would go as far as to say that if we allow this to happen in our “green and pleasant” land we will significantly lose our right to call ourselves a “civilised” nation. When we become so disengaged from the means of our sustenance (food production) we can pretend that the cruelty has nothing to do with us.
Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. (Albert Schweitzer)
Plans to open a couple of these enormous production plants that use animals as machines are imminently in the hands of county planners. According to Martin Hickman in The Independent last month, the first wave of proposals by Nocton Dairies in Lincolnshire has been withdrawn thanks to popular outrage. However, the campaign against zero-grazing dairy facilities needs continuing support as that is only a fleeting triumph in an ongoing war of attrition and plans are being revised and re-submitted.
Please look at a couple of the informative links below and consider signing the petition, giving up dairy products, switching to cruelty-free milk, donating to Compassion In World Farming, posting a blog or using whatever platform you have.