Anonymous asked in Food & DrinkVegetarian & Vegan · 1 decade ago

I'm a vegetarian. Am I causing any harm to animals by buying dairy products?

Don't give me the negative side effects on health, I'm asking about the animals

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Do you want the opinion of someone who actually knows what they are talking about? If not, please feel free to ignore!

    Here are the facts:

    -Yes, male calves are raised for veal. They are harvested at around 6 mos. of age (~300 lbs.) Not really babies.

    -Yes, the cows end up dead in the long run. Just like everything else in this world. The reason for selling cattle is not usually that they are worn out. Usually there are young productive heifers coming in to take the place of the older cows. Our oldest cow is 14 and still kicking.

    -Yes, cows are bred to calve every 13 months (no less, it's hard enough to get 13). With good nutrition available, cows would naturally calve every spring. (That 2-3 year thing is for Indian water buffalo who live in a region with poor forages.)

    - Yes, The calves should be removed immediatly after birth to avoid disease contaminations such as Jones, Lukosis, E. coli infections, Scepticemia, Staphs and Steps, etc. The calves don't care at all and the mothers don't stress after the move has been completed. I know this, I take calves away all the time and tuck them in their new beds where I become mommy.

    -Yes cows are artifically inseminated. It takes 2 seconds. It does not hurt them. Cows are not like humans. They come into heat every 21 days until bred. The scream and rant around and cause a big rucous until bred. They do not choose to have babies or not. Their bodies tell them what to do.

    -Cows are not pumped full of chemicals or whatever nonsense. There is a protein hormone given to some cows during the middle third of lactation but many farmers are stopping that practice. If you buy milk from Smith's, Krogers, anyone who gets milk from Dairy Farmers of America Co-op, Turkey Hill, etc.; it was produced from farms not giving rBST. Cows may be given antibiotics if they are sick. There are no anitibiotics in your milk. Every drop is tested.

    Organic milk is NOT more humane. This is an all too common misconception. The basic differences are the cows are allowed out a few hours a day and cows cannot be treated with antibiotics when they are sick. These sick cows suffer until they die or are sold to market. Herbal remedies only help the cows immune system battle the bug. They don't get rid of the bug. For example, Coliform mastitis will kill the cow unless treated with strong antibiotics. Bacterial pneumonia will kill calves unless treated with antibiotics. There is no way around it. I have worked on an organic farm and have seen the needless death first hand. (In Denmark, organic farms are allowed to use antibiotics because it is more welfare friendly than to let them suffer.)

    My cows are content. They get to sleep, eat, and drink all they want. That is what cows really love. They are not given rBST. They are given antibiotics when absolutely needed. They are well cared for. As my boss says, "the cows come first, they are our bread and butter."

    Take the truth and make your own choice. I know cows very well and I think they are in no harm.

    Source(s): B.S. in Agriculture--Animal Science (dairy) Herd Manager of 170 cows Worked on both conventional and organic dairies
  • 1 decade ago

    You could argue that using any animal product is exploitative of animals by virtue of the fact that it isn't a part of the natural life cycle of that animal in the wild. But there is a world of difference between commercial farming - battery hens and cows kept inside and their calves taken at one day old - and organic methods. There are strict rules farmers must keep to to gain organic certification as regards animal welfare - stock densities, feed, providing as natural as possible living environment, etc, and calves must remain with their mothers for far longer than in conventional dairy farming (I think it's several weeks as opposed to 1 or 2 days). And organic farming DOES permit the use of antibiotics when animals are ill (in Europe at least) - it simply prohibits the routine administration of drugs to the entire herd.

    There is always the problem of excess calves in dairy farming, no matter how ethically run, and if you drink milk you have to accept that someone down the line is going to eat beef or veal, even if you don't yourself. However veal does not necessarily have to mean the horrific crated variety. Organic standards (at least in Europe) do permit veal farming - simply a younger animal as in the case of eating lamb.

    I believe that if you are going to eat dairy, organic is the best possible way to do it - the least exploitative, and probably better in terms of taste and nutrition. There's also an argument that by supporting organic dairy farming, you are encouraging more dairy farmers to go organic in the long run.

  • 1 decade ago

    There's really no such thing as humane dairy. Unlike chickens which may be kept as treasured pets and will lay eggs regardless, cow have to give birth in order to produce milk. The resulting calf either becomes a dairy cow like her mother, or if male, is sold to the veal crates. Newborn calves, for whom nature produces cow's milk, often do not get to suckle at all and if they do, they are usually removed from their mothers within 24 hours. The life of a dairy cow is no treat either. Left to her own devices a cow would calf every 2-3 years, but a dairy cow is forcibly artificially inseminated every 11 months; cows gestate for the same 9 months as humans so this equates to almost constant pregnancy. The cycle of pregnancy, birth, lactation, hormones, steroids, mechanical milking, infection and antibiotics wear cows out in 4-5 years rather than the 15-20 they should live. Many dairy cows are so calcium depleted by the time they are sent to slaughter (there is no retirement for these animals) that they can barely walk. Their fate is fast food hamburgers. Organic operations and small dairy operations may treat their cows better while they are alive, but the fact of life are still the same: milk requires childbirth and spent dairy cows are slaughtered.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It depends. Unless you're getting raw milk from your local farm, the milk you get in stores is from, you guessed it, dairy cows. They are harmed in two ways:

    1. Dairy cows are constantly impregnated and then have their calves removed from them. Not only does this cause a lot of stress for mother and baby, but the male cows that are born are destined to become veal cows. Supporting dairy is supporting veal, as Meet Your Meat puts it.

    2. Dairy cows are hooked up to machines over and over again, which can hurt their udders. Their pained udders become infected, but they aren't treated. Not only is this bad for the cow, but delicious things like their pus gets into the milk.

    Hope this helps.

    Source(s): vegan
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, milk comes from cows, so you are hurting the cows by buying dairy. Cows at dairy farms are treated better than cows raised for slaughter, but still not very well.

  • 1 decade ago

    Kind of, because when they get milk some put a metal machine on instead of milking it which makes the cows stomach peal and ache. It really depends on the milk or milk products you buy.

  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on what dairy products you buy. The commercial stuff, yes, but if you were to buy milk from lets say-an Amish farm than the animal is probably going to be very well treated.

    So it depends on the brand

  • 1 decade ago

    A dairy cow is abused every day of their life, then killed. A animal that is raised for meat has a way better life.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you are still doing harm because the cows babies are taken away from their mothers and sold into the veal industry(the male ones) and i'm sure you know what they do to them there

    and the cow is hooked up to a machine to get the milk out, not a little farmer on a stool

  • 1 decade ago

    It all depends on what brand of milk you buy. There are places where the cows go have themselves milked instead of people making them, and they have back-scratchers and lots of food and clean floors... and then there are the places that have cow slaves. I'd suggest buying organic milk, or milk from a company that takes pride in its treatment of its livestock.

    I don't like skim milk unless it's organic... I dunno, it just tastes... milkier. I love milk, and organic tastes best, too.

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