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Dairy is Scary. The Public are Waking up to the Darkest Part of Farming

By The Guardian

Photographs of industrial rows of cramped pens, each imprisoning a solitary calf, will shock those who still believe in the fairytale of the pastoral dairy farm, where blushing maidens milk smiling cows.

 

Welfare legislation says that calves should only be held in solitary pens until they are eight weeks old, but Animal Equality claims that the battery calves it photographed at Grange Dairy in Dorset are up to six months old – too large for their hutches– and say that some have grazes on their backs.

But trading standard officers say there is no evidence of any breach of animal welfare requirements. Marks & Spencer, which sells milk from the farm, said it was “disappointed” to see the report, but it has refused to drop the supplier.

Upsetting as the story is, what happens elsewhere in the dairy industry amounts to systematic cruelty. In reality, the daily practices of most dairy farms are more distressing than those of meat production. A mother cow only produces milk when she gets pregnant. So, starting from the age of 15 months, she will usually be artificially inseminated. Farmers mechanically draw semen from a bull, and then force the female cow into a narrow trap, known as a “cattle crush”, where they will brutally impregnate her.

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