I always loved cheese. When I was young my favorite snacks were string cheese and the neon orange Kraft singles. I’d unwrap the packages, quarter the cheese and pop it in. Maybe I’d put it on a cracker, but often I’d just eat it as is. When I became vegetarian giving up meat wasn’t hard for me. I was never a big fan anyway. But cheese—cheese was something I really loved.
Like most people I thought eating cheese was harmless. I understood that in order to eat meat, animals had to die. My understanding was as rudimentary as that. I didn’t understand though, as many people don’t, that in order to consume milk, a cow has to give birth to a calf. Her calf is typically taken away from her within days of birth—sometimes within hours, which is a heart-breaking separation. The mother cow is then hooked up to milk pumping machines and milked until she runs dry while her calf, if female joins the dairy herd and if male, becomes a veal calf. Isn’t it wrong to put these animals through this misery just to produce a fluid that is not only unnecessary for our health, but that is actually bad for us?
In addition to the systemic psychological abuse involved in artificially inseminating cows then taking away their day-old babies, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals today released the results of an undercover investigation into Adirondack Farms, LLC, a dairy factory farm that sells milk that becomes Cabot and McCadam cheeses. PETA’s investigation documented egregious acts of cruelty.
PETA’s investigation documented workers jabbing and striking cows with a pole and cane—on the face, udder, and hindquarters—when being led to be milked. According to PETA, when its investigator raised concerns about this behavior to a farm manager, the investigator was told that the workers “get carried away with” striking cows. Workers were also documented repeatedly electrically shocking a cow in the face and jabbing a cow in the ribs with a screwdriver.
This video is further evidence that egregious animal cruelty is widespread in dairy production, and that animals must suffer these cruelties in addition to the indignity and misery caused by the standard practices of the dairy industry. And these cruelties are entirely unnecessary, because humans do not need to drink cow’s milk.
In addition to encouraging people to adopt a vegan diet, PETA has a quick online form people can fill out to ask Agri-Mark’s CEO to implement its recommendations to help end the most egregious abuses of cows on cooperative members’ farms and to improve the animals’ welfare.