Pravin K. Shah
Jain Study Center of North
Dairy Visit in USA:
I visited a dairy farm located on
Route 2 north of Burlington, Vermont (USA) in May of 1995. The dairy owns
approximately 150 cows. All of its milk production is used to make ice
Here is the summary of what I saw and
was milking time (5:00 PM) and the cows were being milked in 3.5 minutes
each by a machine. This is done without regard to how hard it is on the
cow. It was extremely difficult to watch the cows' sufferings during the
milking. The machine has no feeling. To extract the last drop of milk
sometimes traces of blood get mixed with the milk.
morning hormones or drugs are injected into the cows to increase their
cows produce the most milk after pregnancy, they are kept pregnant for
their entire fertile life through artificial insemination.
gestation period of cow is 9 months same as human does. If a male calf, of
no use to the dairy industry, is born, he is shipped to the veal industry
within two or three days of birth. The evening I was there, the farm was
shipping three baby calves in a truck to a veal factory. The mother cows
were crying when their babies were separated from them. I cannot forget
the scene and can still hear the cries of the mother cows.
veal industry is the most cruel meat industry in the world. It produces
very tender meat that is considered a delicacy. The baby calves are raised
in darkness in a very confining crate, which allows practically no
movements. They are fed an iron-deficient diet. This way the meat gets
very tender and properly textured. They slaughter the baby calves after
six months. There is much literature available about cruelty in the veal
two months of delivery, the cows are impregnated again. I did not have the
stamina to watch the process of artificial insemination that the farm was
four to five times a year, this farm would take the cows outside for a
walk. Otherwise, the cows are tied in one place and they have no choice
but to defecate where they are confined. It badly stunk when I was there;
the farm would wash the confinement areas once or twice a day, and the
remaining times the cows would live in their own waste.
life expectancy of cows is about 15 years. However, after about 4 to 5
years, their milk production capacity drops significantly so these cows
are sent to the slaughterhouse for cheap meat which is used in fast food
restaurants, hot dog filler, dog & cat food and a variety of other
"foodstuffs". The rest of the body material (by products) turns up in the
products like floor wax, pet food, medicines, insulin, gelatin, footwear,
upholstery, taco filling, cosmetics, candles, and soaps.
her fertile life, cow delivers about four babies. Statistically only one
female baby is needed to replace the existing cow. Hence all other babies
(males or females) are sent to veal industry where they are tortured for
six months and then slaughtered for the meat (delicacy meal).
As I learned and observed the cruelty
in the dairy industry, I at first found it hard to believe. On a personal
level, I feared that it would be impossible for me to give up the dairy
products and become vegan (absolutely no animal product). How could I
eliminate milk, yogurt, butter, ghee, and cheese from my diet? To become
vegan means that I cannot drink tea with milk, eat any Indian sweets,
pizza, milk chocolate, ice cream, eggless but dairy-containing cake, and
many other items.
At this time I remembered my daughter
Shilpa�s (who became vegan few months prior to my visit) word, �Dad, cows'
milk is for baby cows and not for humans or their babies. No other animal
consumes the milk of another species. We do not have the right to consume
the milk of other animals for our benefit by exploiting and torturing
them. Furthermore milk and its products are not essential for our survival
or for healthy life�.
However, needless to say, the dairy
farm tour made me an instant vegan.
I also visited a dairy farm near
Bombay in India in November 1995. I observed similar things. Overall,
things were actually worse because there are few enforced regulations.
Also during my visits to India in 1997 and 1998, I learned more about
Indian dairy operation.
Many dairies in India do not own
cows. Milk is supplied to the dairy industry by local cowherds who own the
cows. The local cowherds generally own 10 to 40 cows and they do not use
machines to milk the cows.
However they keep cows pregnant all
the time for continuous supply of milk. Every year each cow delivers a
baby. The local cowherds can not absorb all the baby calves that are born
every year in their business. Hence they sell the baby calves (70 to 80%
of them) to the beef industry where they raised the calves for beef and
are slaughtered in three to four years or to an illegal veal industry
where they are being slaughtered in six months. In the holy city of
Palitana, I found a newly born calf lying dead in a field close to my
cousin's home. After investigation I found that the cow delivered a baby
calf in the field and the owner left the newly born calf in the field and
carried the cow to his place.
Also after four to five deliveries,
the milk yield of an adult cow drops significantly and hence the cowherd
replaces the old cow with a young one and sells the old cow to a
slaughterhouse for cheap meat. Only few cows (5% or less) end up in a cow
shelter place called Panjarapole.