Distortion: unnatural milk yields lead to crippled cows | Viva!

Distortion: unnatural milk yields lead to crippled cows

A cow’s young would suckle five or six times a day but commercial milking often takes place only twice a day, meaning that up to 20 litres of milk can accumulate in her udder, which swells and can protrude between her hind legs. The outcome is leg distortion and an unnatural stance resulting in lameness.

Remember, high yields of milk produce crisis in the welfare of these animals. The separation of dairy cows from their newborn calves is a traumatic event for both of them. Desperate mums bellow for days in the hope of being reunited with their babies. This is the dark side of dairy. It means that a typical cow produces 40 litres (70 pints) a day. To keep the milk flowing, a cow is forcibly impregnated every year, by means of artificial insemination. Her first pregnancy occurs when she's between the ages of 14 and 28 months. She gives birth to a calf nine months later. Female calves may follow in the miserable hoof prints of their mums and be used as milk machines. Male calves who aren't killed soon after being separated from their mothers will be used in the veal trade and they will be slaughtered at the tender age of five to nine months.

So, you see: dairy really does harm cows. Without calves to feed, up to 20 litres of milk accumulates and their udders swell. These protrusions often lead to crippled cows who lead short lives of acute pain.