The cruelty inflicted upon calves in the dairy industry is one of agribusiness’s best kept secrets. Many consumers might assume that because cows are not slaughtered directly for their milk, dairy products are somehow less inhumane. What many consumers aren’t aware of is that when they purchase milk, cheese or other dairy products, they are contributing to a brutal cycle of suffering for countless calves. In order for a cow to produce milk, she has to have a calf, and those calves are taken away from their mothers immediately after birth. Half of those calves are male, and they’re often used in veal production.
More and more Americans are beginning to understand these realities of factory farming and are taking a stand. Earlier this month, we were excited to report that after thousands of citizens in Ohio spoke out against the cruel confinement of veal calves, livestock officials voted to reverse an earlier decision and give calves more room to move.
But following on the heels of this important step forward for calves, comes a shocking new investigative video by Mercy for Animals. Reminding us that there is still much work to be done, the video depicts workers at a dairy calf farm in Texas subjecting young cows to horrific abuse, bludgeoning them with pickaxes and beating and neglecting them. The video is a poignant look at the horrific lives of calves born into the dairy industry.
Over the years, Farm Sanctuary and others have documented the cruel conditions of factory farms, including at a veal farm in Wisconsin. Our “Behind the Mustache” video gives a behind-the-scenes look at the California dairy industry. It’s videos like these that have helped create change in laws and policies for farm animals and inspire citizens to reconsider their diets and take action. We’re confident that Mercy for Animals’ powerful new video will help further the animals’ cause.
Since Farm Sanctuary’s inception, my colleagues and I have conducted numerous visits to farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses to document conditions. Exposing animal abuse through photos and videos is a powerful tool and agribusiness is well aware of that fact. I recently wrote about two state bills, in Florida and Iowa, which would criminalize the documentation of “animal facilities.” Since then, similar legislation has been introduced in Minnesota.
In light of these videos and photographs, the agriculture industry is fighting hard to keep consumers in the dark about where their food really comes from. That’s why it’s important that we use these investigations as tools to educate our communities and show lawmakers the importance of revealing abuse. I hope you’ll use these resources to help create change.