Milk Monday: Mothers and Calves

I thought for this Milk Monday I’d share a couple of YouTube clips depicting the life of a dairy cow.

Thanks to YouTube and the work of a number of animal advocacy groups, there is no excuse for ignorance about where milk and cheese come from and what the animals that provide it have to endure. After several minutes of trolling through the clips, I am, once again, so disturbed and upset that I’m not sure I can put together a coherent and balanced post on the subject. Some of the footage available depicts now well-publicised abuse of cows on dairy farms. Thankfully, in most cases, this is illegal and the perpetrators of the cruelty have been punished. However, although illegal abuse of animals does go on behind closed doors and occasionally comes to the attention of the public, the practice of commercial dairy farming seems to be inherently cruel and totally legal.

I’m not going to post the most upsetting footage that is readily available but I don’t apologise for highlighting the realities. I believe that it is a moral given that it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak and not to exploit them and in this we humans fail spectacularly several million times a day.

There are a wide range of approaches to dairy farming (from intensive zero-grazing factory farms to spacious organic family farms) that have differing effects on the welfare of the animals. However, it is an inescapable fact that it is simply not commercially viable to preserve the lives of male calves which are useless for milk production (they, therefore, have to be considered dispensable) or to allow females to live beyond their useful span of 4-5 pregnacies/lactations.

As usual, the offer is open for anyone with informed views on dairy farming from any perspective to get in touch about doing a guest post or response for another Milk Monday.

A YouTube playlist of the dark side of dairy

Previous Milk Monday posts


4 Responses

  1. I have recently adopted a vegan lifestyle, after being vegetarian for many years. The final straw regarding dairy, for me, was seeing an Australian story of some calves who were rescued from slaughter. They are now living ‘the life of Riley’ at farm sanctuary in rural Victoria, southern Australia. But as for so many others… we must get more people to STOP and THINK.

    • Thank you for your response! I quite often get attacked for my views so it’s always great to hear something positive.

      All the best with your vegan lifestyle, too. I’m always delighted to hear news of people making that simple and powerful change in their lives. I know you’re going to love it 🙂

  2. Hi Seymour,

    Thank you so much for all of this. I have been a vegetarian pretty much all of my life. My parents are Indian (and therefore, so am I…doh!) and they gave up before I was born. I spent most of my childhood arguing with some pretty stupid people including other parts of my family, about not eating meat. It was tiring!

    I did go through a stage when I was a teenager, of eating meat but soon realised I don’t have it in me to do it. I am energy sensitive and would feel a strange energy in me that I knew wasn’t me. I would also picture slaughtered animals straight after eating meat. So that didn’t last.

    At the age of 37, I am at the stage where I am seriously considering becoming vegan. Your comment about eggs being chickens menstruation has really struck a chord with me and I feel a bit sick at the thought now. The egg eating was something I did. My parents didnt eat fish, meat or eggs but do other dairy. I feel a bit crap for doing it if I am honest. I was taught better. I think I am done with eggs, in fact, I am done.

    The rest is challenging and I suppose no matter how hard it is, I need to watch some vids and educate myself. I am having an epiphany and you are the instigator of that! I sincerely thank you because I needed to go through this. My body has been hinting it for ages, I just needed to take the bait and you really helped. I love the idea of raw food too so I may look into that.

    Sorry if I have ranted on a bit but better out than in I guess!

    Please don’t ever apologise for your work because you make changes, like you have with me. We are all big enough to make decisions and read what we want and what we don’t. The education is your responsibility but the reading and taking it on board lies with the reader.

    Thanks again,

    • Suky,

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment and for responding so honestly. I’m absolutely delighted that you have come to the point of considering going vegan and I’m glad that I have been able to play a remote part in that.

      I think that it is one simple thing that we can do in life that makes such a great difference in every way. I find it hard to understand why people are so resistive to becoming vegan but then I forget that I was a devoted meat eater for most of my life. However, switching was not difficult. Taste is culturally defined and if you change your “inner” culture you quickly come to the point where you would no more want to eat an egg than a piece of your own brain.

      Changing my diet and preferences has been very easy; but talking to people about it and functioning in social situations that are focused on consuming animal flesh and secretions has been the more challenging part.

      I’m thankful that vegans are a friendly and supportive bunch of people and although I only know one other vegan in my town, there is a great community online.

      I wish you every blessing on the journey 🙂


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