Animal Rights

If You Think Cows Aren't Being Killed for Milk, Cheese, Butter and Yogurt, You're Dead Wrong

A common misconception is that dairy products don't involve killing animals.

Photo Credit: Anton Havelaar/Shutterstock

The most common response I hear when I tell people I don’t eat dairy products goes something like this: "But what's wrong with dairy? It's not like they’re killing the cows for milk." I can understand why people would have this misconception about the dairy industry, but the truth is they're dead wrong.

Let's take a dive into modern-day dairy farming and dispel the myth that "no one is dying for dairy" once and for all.

Cows on dairy farms live in filthy, overcrowded sheds or lots. What's more, in order for a cow to continually produce milk, she must be repeatedly impregnated. (Yes, cows like all other mammals produce milk for their babies.)

Once her calf is born, the baby is stolen from her so her milk can be sold. If the calf is male, he is sent off to a veal farm where he will be chained inside a crate so small he can barely move and slaughtered in weeks. If the calf is female, she is kept and raised for dairy.

Constantly giving birth takes a physical toll on the cows. The natural lifespan of a dairy cow is 15–20 years, but due to neglect and constant breeding, cows on modern dairy farms only live about four years. Once they are considered "spent" they are sent off for slaughter, typically becoming ground beef.

A 2014 Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at Andrus Dairy, a supplier to one of the largest cheese producers in the country, revealed extreme animal abuse and neglect. Workers were caught on video viciously punching, kicking and beating cows.

See for yourself.

Cows are killed for dairy; there's no debate there. Luckily, with all of the tasty vegan versions of your favorite dairy products already on the market, there's never been a better time to ditch dairy and all animal products and embrace a compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Click here for tips on making the transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle. Click here for a list of delicious dairy-free products.

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Joe Loria is the communications and content manager at Mercy For Animals.