The Dark Side of Dairy
Photos from Viva!'s dairy farm investigation 11/08/05 - 15/08/05
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Photos 1 - 4
A typical high-yield dairy farm operating a zero-grazing system. These cows never leave the shed, spending their entire lives indoors on concrete, slurry-covered floors. All of the cows are very thin and have visible protruding bones, a common condition in high-yield herds (producing up to 12,000 litres per cow every year) as cows cannot maintain this enormous milk output and their normal bodily functions. Many cows are standing with their hind legs protruding into the slurry covered aisle, another common occurrence on British dairy farms as modern cows are too big for old cubicle systems. This leads to excruciating sole ulcers in their hind legs due to the burning acid slurry. Pressure sores are also visible on the hocks (rear knees) of several cows, due to the endless hours they spend lying on the hard cubicle base.
Photos 5 - 6
A malnourished cow at pasture. Modern dairy cows are bred to produce so much milk that they have trouble eating enough to meet all of their metabolic demands and are often emaciated.
Photos 7 - 9
Newborn dairy calves in stalls. On all dairy farms calves are torn away from their mothers a mere 24-48 hours after birth. Although the veal crate is banned in Britain, it is still legal (and common practise) to keep calves in small stalls such as these until eight weeks old. The lonely, terrified newborns are denied exercise, contact with other calves and of course motherly care.
Photos 10 - 11
A cow in hobbles. These are commonly used on cows who have suffered nerve paralysis during calving (usually due to insemination with large beef breeds) and can not stand unaided. The chains prevent them from performing normal behaviours such as scratching.
Emaciated cows in the milking parlour. Another high-yield herd where all of the cows have skeletal bodies.
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