A few years back I worked on a project to push the dairy industry to stop a practice called dehorning. This is a common practice in the dairy industry to cut off a cow’s horns – with no anesthesia or pain meds. Through my research to prepare for various meetings, it was shocking to learn about the lives of dairy cows.

Here are some key highlights:

– Most people don’t think about the fact that, in order to continue producing milk, dairy cows must be impregnated over and over. The female calves are born into the same fate as their mother, but the male calves are sent off to become veal. The veal industry would not exist without the dairy industry.

– 97% of all dairy calves are stolen from their mothers within hours of birth. Cows also have maternal instincts and this is extremely traumatizing to them.

– Due to genetic manipulation and growth chemicals, dairy cows now produce up to 12 times more milk than they would naturally produce to feed a calf. This is very hard on their bodies and produces a product that is extremely unhealthy for us.

– Over 90% of the dairy cows in the U.S. are confined in indoor operations, and more than 60% of them are tethered by the neck inside barren stalls. They are stripped of everything that is a natural instinct to them.

– Because of being horribly overworked, dairy cows’ bodies begin producing less milk at 4 to 5 years of age, and they are sent off to slaughter to become ground beef and hamburgers. In natural conditions, cows can live 20 to 25 years.

The dairy industry has also done an excellent job of working with the USDA to convince us that we need milk for strong bones – but that is a myth. Here are just a few articles about the health dangers of milk:

WebMD – The Pros and Cons of Milk and Dairy

Nutrition MD – Understanding the Problems with Dairy Products

Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine – Health Concerns about Dairy Products

There are some amazing groups fighting to defend farm animals. As you probably know if you have read many of my blogs, I am a big fan of PETA’s work and I would also recommend the HSUS and Mercy for Animals.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Humane Society of the United States

Mercy for Animals

There are so many amazing alternatives that are really taking off because of the horrors and health risks of dairy. The plant-based milk industry has grown from almost nothing to 8% of the milk market in the last decade. Almond milk is my personal favorite, but you can also buy soy milk, hemp milk, and cashew milk. And there are new options popping up all the time. Check them out the next time you are at the store. It is an easy way to improve your health and make the world a better place!