They are huge, but very docile. The native breed is creamy white in colour, with a distinctive hump. Sometimes the pious people of India can be seen feeding a roadside cow with a carrot or chappati or some water.
The two reasons to stop drinking milk are The Health perspective and The Moral perspective to save the cows. This is the second part we see the Moral perspective
What happens in Dairy farming?
For many people, dairy farming conjures up images of small herds of cows leisurely grazing on open pastures. Although scenes like this still exist, most milk is produced by cows raised in intensive production systems. Some cows are housed indoors year-round and lactating cows are often kept restrained in tie stalls or stanchions.
Although they don’t reach mature size until at least 4 years old, dairy cows first give birth at about 2 years of age and are usually bred again beginning at about 60 days after giving birth, to maintain a yearly schedule.
Most dairy calves are removed from their mothers immediately after birth. The males are mainly sold for veal or castrated and raised for beef. “Bob veal” calves are killed as soon as a few days after birth; those used to produce “special-fed veal” are typically kept tethered in individual stalls until slaughtered at about 16 to 20 weeks of age. The female calves are commonly subjected to tail docking, dehorning, and the removal of “extra” teats. Until weaned at 8 weeks of age, most female calves are fed colostrum, then a milk replacer or unsaleable waste milk. Each year hundreds of thousands of these female calves die between 48 hours and 8 weeks of age, mostly due to scours, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
What about Cows in India?
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), backed up by The Independent’s own investigation, which reveals the Indian treatment of its holiest animal as a scandal of cruelty, greed and corruption.
The cow’s special status in India is enshrined in law. Some States allow the slaughter of cattle with restrictions like a “fit-for-slaughter” certificate which may be issued depending on factors like age and gender of cattle, continued economic viability etc. Others completely ban cattle slaughter, while there is no restriction in a few states, most notably Kerala. By default, Bulls and bullocks and she-buffaloes are protected up to 15 years of age. But all this apparent reverence and protection masks a trade in cows and cow products which involves unbelievable barbarity and cruelty.
The issues of slaughtering
Cows are routinely shipped to states with lower or no requirement for slaughter, even though most States make it illegal to transport the animals for slaughter across State borders. Many illegal slaughterhouses operate in large cities such as Chennai and Mumbai. While there are approximately 3,600 slaughterhouses operating legally in India, there are estimated to be over 30,000 illegal slaughterhouses.
Much of the abuse stems from the fact that the trade in and slaughter of cows is almost entirely clandestine and illegal – but the authorities which should be stopping it are routinely bribed to let it continue. There is, therefore, no scrutiny or regulation of the trade anywhere along the line. Much Indian beef finds its way to the Middle East and Europe from Kerala and Bangladesh
Some cruel stats
The slaughter of cows has been banned in all Indian states and territories except West Bengal, in the north-east, and Kerala in the far south. But the main result is an appalling traffic of cattle. There is a huge amount of trafficking of cattle to both West Bengal and Kerala. The ones going to West Bengal go by truck and train and they go by the millions. The law says you cannot transport more than 4 per truck but they are putting in up to 70. When they go by train, each wagon is supposed to hold 80 to 100, but they cram in up to 900, 400 to 500 of them go out dead.
“In Kerala they also have a unique way of killing them – they beat their heads to a pulp with a dozen hammer blows. A well-intentioned visitor from the West, trying to improve slaughterhouse practice in Kerala, exhorted them to use stun guns, saying that the meat of an animal killed in this fashion (rather than having its throat slit) tasted sweeter. The stun guns that she left behind quickly broke and fell into disuse, but the belief that the meat was sweeter took hold – which explains this horrible method of slaughtering.”
Between 1940 and 2012, the average amount of milk produced per cow rose from 2 tons per year to 10 tons. Although genetic selection and feeding are used to increase production efficiency, cows do not adapt well to high milk yields or their high grain diets.7 Metabolic disorders are common, and millions of cows suffer from mastitis (a very painful infection of the udder), lameness, and infertility problems.
The term “downer” refers to an animal who is too injured, weak, or sick to stand and walk. The exact number of downer cattle on U.S. farms or feedlots or sent to slaughter facilities is difficult to ascertain, but estimates approach 500,000 animals per year; most are dairy cows. Complications associated with calving and injuries from slipping and falling are leading causes, and the condition most often occurs within one day of giving birth.
Read the Part 1: The Health perspective to stop drinking milk
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