The Global Impact of Dairy Farming: Why Amey’s Story Matters for Animals
The production of milk and other dairy products is often described as a natural process for cows and other animals used by the dairy industry. However, the reality of where our milk comes from is far from picturesque. Have you ever considered what goes on behind the scenes in the dairy industry? It’s a world where the mistreatment of animals is common, and the suffering of animals is ignored for the sake of profit.
Imagine newborn calves screaming out for their mother as they are ripped away mere hours after birth. The mothers are subjected to endless cycles of pregnancy just to produce milk, only to be slaughtered when they are no longer profitable. This is the dark truth of the dairy industry, and it’s a story that needs to be told.
Recently, our team in India made a disturbing discovery that highlighted the harsh reality of this industry. Animal Equality’s Managing Director in India, Amey Deshmukh, bravely documented these practices, witnessing tears rolling down the faces of cows and buffalo as these animals endured extreme cruelty on a daily basis. These findings shed light on the urgent need for change in the dairy industry, both in India and worldwide.
Amey’s Story Demands Attention
Over the course of a year, Amey and Animal Equality’s tireless investigators journeyed across the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, and West Bengal. With unwavering determination, they visited 27 farms, 6 markets, and 2 slaughterhouses connected to India’s dairy industry.
What they discovered in these facilities was truly shocking, documenting everything from child workers rubbing chili peppers into cows’ eyes to workers artificially inseminating cows with their bare hands.
Amey shared his findings:
Workers routinely separate newborn calves from their mothers, causing immense distress and trauma to both the mother and baby. Male calves are often deemed unprofitable and are either sold for slaughter or left to die of starvation. Female calves are subjected to the same cycle of forced impregnation and birth as their mothers, as this is the only way they can produce milk.
In the absence of their babies, the mother cows struggle to produce milk, but instead of allowing them to nurse their calves, dairy farmers resort to cruel and inhumane methods to increase milk production. Mothers are forced to stand beside their dead baby after workers stuff the body of a dead calf with hay. It is believed this will trick the mother cows into thinking they need to continue producing milk.
Contrary to the public perception, cows and buffaloes are sentient animals and their grief and sorrow on losing their babies is no less than human mothers.Amey Deshmukh, Animal Equality’s Managing Director in India
Workers use illegal hormones such as oxytocin to increase milk production. This dangerous practice has been banned due to its harmful effects on animals and the health of people who consume dairy products. Yet, in the pursuit of profit, more than half of India’s dairy farms continue to use this hormone. These practices are not only unethical but also pose a serious threat to public health.
Weak and vulnerable animals are beaten and whipped as they are forced onto transport trucks. Workers painfully handle the genitals of these animals, inserting sticks to induce pain and force them to move. This cruel practice is excruciatingly painful for the animals. Children working in these markets were observed imitating this behavior.
The Dairy Industry is a Global Threat
In addition to the recent footage from India, Animal Equality’s investigators have documented the suffering and cruelty in the dairy industry in countries such as the United States, Spain, Italy, and Mexico. These investigations have uncovered a pattern of systemic abuse and neglect in the industry worldwide:
Within the US there are over 9.3 million cows used for milk. Animal Equality’s investigation into Babybel supplier Tuls Dairy uncovered concerning findings at their Summit Calf Ranch. The footage obtained during the investigation depicts sick and injured, day-old calves being neglected and left without adequate medical attention, some even left to suffer and die on top of already dead calves.
The investigation documented instances of workers inflicting harm on the calves, including hitting them, as well as conducting painful procedures like castration without administering any form of anesthesia.
Young calves were left unprotected from extremely cold temperatures leading to severe injuries. In some instances, the hooves of calves had frozen and separated from their legs. With sub-zero temperatures as low as -20 with the wind chill, the calves’ water and food supply freezes over, leaving the animals to suffer from thirst in addition to being inadequately protected by their plastic huts.
Animal Equality’s investigation into dairy farms in Mexico has revealed standard practices used in milk production within the country, which involve cruelty towards animals at every stage of the process.
During the investigation, our team found that calves were being torn away from their mothers shortly after birth to prevent them from drinking their mother’s milk. As a result, the calves were often heard crying out to their mothers in distress. Meanwhile, cows were repeatedly impregnated through forced artificial insemination, a practice that is not only cruel but also harmful to their health.
Newborn calves were found confined to small, dirty cages, which led to a multitude of health problems. Workers were seen dehorning and tail docking adult cows without anesthesia, while branding them with hot irons.
In addition to this, cows were sometimes forced to ingest magnets to pick up metals in their stomachs from contaminated food. Cows with low milk production levels were then killed in slaughterhouses where animals are often slaughtered while conscious.
Animal Equality’s investigation into buffalo mozzarella production in Northern Italy has uncovered horrific conditions for the animals involved. The investigation captured images of buffaloes covered in mud and feces up to their knees, and forced to live alongside the bodies of dead animals. The animals were also covered with flies, and many were subjected to ill-treatment and degraded sanitary living conditions.
In addition to the mistreatment of adult buffaloes, the investigation also revealed the abandonment of baby male buffaloes to die of hunger and thirst after being torn from their mothers. The investigators also found a corpse of a buffalo hidden under straw and feces.
With a Small Act, You Can Make a Lasting Difference: How Every Individual Can Contribute to Positive Change
Amey’s story serves as a wake-up call about the importance of not supporting these unethical and unsustainable farming practices. The time for change is now, and we must use our voices and our actions to demand a more humane and ethical food system. Join our Love Veg journey today.
A cow’s maternal instincts foster a gentle bond with her vulnerable calf.
Preserve this tender relationship by choosing plant‑based alternatives to dairy products.
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