Cows

Cows are sensitive, social beings who deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. They are gentle, sensitive, peaceful beings who love one another and who want to live, just like you and I.

Have You Seen Happy Cows?

I wish I knew earlier about dairy

Just like humans, cows need to be pregnant in order to produce milk.  This means that cows on dairy farms are kept in a constant cycle of impregnation and birthing. Their babies are taken away from them the day that they are born either to be raised as future dairy cows or as veal (if they are male).  Veal calves are immobilized either with the use of crates or chains and are slaughtered at 1-18 weeks of age.

Photos of dairy and veal farm: Jo-Anne McArthur, WeAnimals


Mother dairy cows are typically kept inside vast manure-filled, concrete-floored sheds with little or no access to the outdoors. They often suffer from foot infections due to this unnatural environment as well as other health conditions such as mastitis, a painful inflammation of the udders. Due to these deplorable conditions, these cows, who naturally could live to as old as 25 are usually “spent” by the age of 4 or 5 when their milk production declines.  They are then sent to slaughter as cheap hamburger meat.  Dairy cows experience such abuse that 40% of them will experience some degree of lameness by the time they reach the slaughterhouse.

Toronto Cow Save witnessed young dairy cows with oversized udders being transported to “St. Helen’s” slaughterhouse. Their eyes were wide and some were foaming at the mouth—both signs of stress.  In Canada there are about 1.4 million dairy cows and 80% of them can be found in either Quebec or Ontario.

Dairy breaks up families and ends up in death. Go vegan.

Routine mutilation

Canadian cows are routinely subjected to agonizing, body mutilating procedures as part of routine farming practice – all of which are undertaken without any pain relief.Males, not selected for breeding, are castrated without painkillers. The scrotum is cut with a scalpel or knife and the testicles removed. This is an excruciatingly painful surgical procedure, which can only be accomplished in a “squeeze chute”, where the animal is trapped and cannot move.In cow breeds with horns, both males and females have their horns burnt or cut off without any pain relief.Finally, in certain provinces, cows are branded using either red hot or freezing metal, with the resulting scar tissue leaving permanent identifying marks on their bodies. No anaesthetic or analgesia is provided.

“Finishing”

Almost all cows are “finished” on feedlots, large mud and feces-filled enclosures where hundreds, sometimes thousands, of bovines are kept for the last months of their lives. Cows in feedlots are fed anything from corn and soy to rendered animal products from slaughterhouses “unfit” for human consumption, such as ground up bone, hair and chicken feathers. To promote growth and prevent the spread of disease in the crowded conditions, cows are fed growth hormones and antibiotics.Their diet, not even close to natural, leads to diarrhea with undigested bits of corn and other food, something Toronto Cow Save regularly witnesses in the dirty transport trucks crammed with cows.

Transport

At 14-16 months of age, cows are sent to slaughter, crammed into trucks which are legally allowed to transport them for up to 52 hours without food, water or rest. Some drivers of transport trucks are rougher than others, and Toronto Cow Save has observed trucks where many of the bovines’ carpi (“knees”) were bleeding due to recent injuries. Five hundred are found dead on arrival at federally inspected Canadian slaughterhouses each year and 8 thousands are “condemned” due to being too injured or diseased to enter the human food chain (these stats do not include provincially inspected slaughterhouses). Minimal legal requirements not to transport animals with significant illness or injury – such as amputation, uterine or rectal prolapse, hernias so large they drag on the ground or impede walking or animals unable to move at all – continue to be flouted and transgressors are subject to paltry fines when caught.

Slaughter

At the slaughterhouse, cows are forced through a chute that starts out wide and narrows. The terrified animals are forced to move by administering painful shocks with electric prodders, sometimes to the anus or genitalia, where they cause the most pain.The chute leads to a “knock box”, where a “stun gun” is used to drive a captive-bolt cartridge into the brain, while leaving the brainstem intact so that the heart will continue to pump blood and the cow will bleed out faster. When used properly, this causes the animal to spasm uncontrollably and then collapse into a state where they are believed to be unable to feel pain. However, stunning is frequently unsuccessful due to the terrified animals thrashing around, making it difficult to administer the shot. Slaughterhouses are considered to have an “acceptable” number of captive bolt failures if 95% of cows are not stunned during the first stunning attempt. This would mean that, under ideal conditions, 150,000 of the 3-million cows and calves slaughtered in Canada each year, would not be successfully stunned. Even those that are stunned may regain some degree of consciousness before they are “bled out” by having their throats slit.

In Halal and Kosher slaughter, animals are not stunned before being slaughtered, according to contentious religious tenets. Consider how tough it is to cut through a piece of steak. Now imagine how much strength it takes to slit the throat of a fully conscious steer, with the animal enduring the pain from every determined thrust of the blade. To add to this, the esophagus may be pulled out to prevent blood gushing into their stomachs (though this is illegal).Much of the flesh from animals that are slaughtered according to Halal and Kosher requirements ends up being sold to the general public without being labelled as ritually slaughtered. This is because religious laws stipulate that only certain body parts are allowed to be eaten, so the remainder of the animal is sold to other consumers. The bodies of animals deemed to have not met certain aspects of ritual slaughter requirements are also redirected into general food production.The high speed at which modern slaughterhouses operate means that some cows end up being skinned alive, as they have not yet finished “bleeding out” when they reach the next stage of the meat production process.

Over 27-million adult cows and 263,480 calves were slaughtered in Canada in 2013. Approximately 80% of the calves slaughtered were male.There are over 12-million cows on Canadian farms, including almost 1.5-million dairy cows.

References

Canadian Federation of Agriculture AGM resolutions 2014 (re: opposing transport regulations)

CFIT – Transportation of Animals – Compromised Animals Policy

Use Of Electric Prods On Cattle

Recommended Captive Bolt Stunning Techniques for Cattle

Feed Regulations

Statistics

Red Meat Market – Slaughter Reports

Red Meat Market – Livestock Population of Canada

Cows just like to have fun!

Sickening cruelty to animals at a veal factory farm was captured on hidden camera by an investigator with Mercy For Animals Canada. Workers violently kick, punch, and torment baby calves who are crammed into filthy wooden crates so small they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
A new Mercy For Animals (US) undercover investigation reveals shocking animal abuse at a major pizza cheese supplier — Leprino Foods. Workers were caught viciously kicking, punching, and stabbing cows with screwdrivers, and violently whipping them in their faces and bodies with chains and metal wires.