What's wrong with dairy?
Rolling green pastures? Happy cows and calves? Wrong.
The dairy industry’s marketing machine tells an idyllic story of cows and calves frolicking in green meadows, carefree and happy. The reality – cows and calves suffer on dairy farms. While shoppers pay a seemingly small price for a litre or two of milk, animals in the dairy industry pay the ultimate price.
Cows are mammals too.
Most people don’t give a thought to the fact that, like human mothers, cows only produce milk to feed their babies. This means that they are continually impregnated in order to produce milk. There is just one catch – their babies are taken away from them. Why? So humans can drink their milk.
Dairy cows lead miserable lives.
During their short lives, dairy cows suffer greatly. They are forced to give birth about once a year to increase milk yield. Most calves are removed shortly after birth to ensure they don’t drink too much milk. This is extremely distressing to both mother and calf and is carefully hidden by the dairy industry. Cows continue to cry out for their babies after separation - they will never be reunited.
They suffer in other ways:
• Mastitis – a painful inflammatory condition of the mammary glands caused by bacteria
• Painful de-horning procedures
• Their pregnancies are often artificially induced – this increases their risk of illness and death
• Other injury and disease
Cows are killed when they are no longer ‘useful’.
The dairy industry discards cows when they are no longer profitable. They are killed prematurely at around 6 years of age, due to illness, injury, infertility, mastitis and lameness. They are transported to saleyards or straight to the abattoir – their weak, bony frames tell a story of suffering.
Bobby calves – the dairy industry’s biggest secret.
Calves born into the dairy industry are deemed either useful (females who will eventually replace the breeding herd) or not (typically males who are slaughtered). The industry terms those calves destined for slaughter ‘bobby calves’. Around 800 000 tiny bobby calves are killed every year in Australia – often within their first week of life. These babies are essentially the ‘waste products’ of the dairy industry.
Does this leave a sour taste in your mouth?
You don't have to buy in to the cruelty. Dairy-free alteratives are delicious! Don't think you'll miss out - you can have it all – milk, cheese and even ice-cream. The range of products is vast and always increasing and no cows or calves were harmed in the making of them. There are so many products available and you don't have to look far. Many are sold at mainstream supermarkets while others can be purchased at specialty stores.
In 2017, Animal Liberation Qld and Aussie Farms has released undercover footage showing what happens behind the scenes in the dairy industry. Footage covers a dairy farm supplying to Pauls, a saleyard and slaughterhouse.
What are we doing?
- In October 2015 we launched Ditch Dairy one of the biggest public awareness campaigns in Queensland about the dairy industry.
- In 2017 we released undercover footage showing what happens behind the scenes in the dairy industry and obtained prime time news coverage following our successful protest action.
- We have run public campaigns to force issues related to dairy into the media and public discourse.
- Investigating and documenting reports of animal cruelty in Queensland.
- We run a stand-alone website educating people about dairy and alternatives ditchdairy.com.au
What can you do?
- Avoid buying and consuming dairy - this includes milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter – consider going vegan, a way of life that tries to avoid animal exploitation and suffering.
- Help make dairy-free shopping and eating a breeze by checking these alternatives out!
- Order copies of (or download) our What's wrong brochure to distribute to friends and help educate people about the issues associated with dairy.
Check out our separate DitchDairy.com.au website.