By Robert Cohen -
They call it docking. To me, docking is what I ineptly
do each time I try to return a powerboat to its berth after a day of
water skiing with my kids. To dairymen, docking is the practice of
chopping off a cow's tail.
This past year, two vegetarian groups refused to allow
me to speak at their so-called health festivals because their major
sponsors included cheese producers. There was some controversy within
the boardrooms of those decision makers between the vegetarians who
barred me, and the vegans who have open eyes regarding the treatment of
cows, and the adverse effects of dairy products on the human body.
I am extremely critical of the dairy industry, for good
reason. Medical science points hundreds of incriminating fingers of
blame at milk and dairy being the etiology for various illnesses.
Hundreds of those converging lines merges into one point. One obvious
conclusion: milk does not do the body good.
I make no friends when I offer sarcasm towards those
vegetarian conference planners. "Why not accept money from Burger King
and McDonalds," I ask, "instead of from cheese producers like Kraft?"
If you have became a vegetarian for some misplaced sense
of compassion, please know that the dairy industry creates a lifetime of
torture for cows. There is no debate that an animal born to be
tomorrow's steak or burger suffers a horrible death. Yet, compared to
dairy cows, this gentle creature's life is tolerable. He eats. He
sleeps. He eats. He sleeps. He then dies. Modern slaughterhouses attempt
to keep impending death a secret from these victims for as long as
possible, knowing that a cleanly killed animal is profitable.
Compassionate slaughter ramps have eased the fear of slaughter for
animals. Many times, the animal is stunned before he realizes his fate.
Horrible? Of course it is, but the dairy industry is much worse.
Yesterday, I received my latest issue of Hoard's
Dairyman, the national dairy farm magazine.
If you use dairy products, you must know what you are
responsible for. The latest issue (1/25/02, Volume 147, No. 2) includes
Letters To The Vet (page 90). N.L from Vermont writes:
"We milk 72 cows...We have been docking tails for a
couple of years...We use an elastrator in the winter when fly
populations are the lowest (They cut off most of the tail with this
device. Imagine winding a rubber band tightly around your finger until
the blood no longer circulates. The finger slowly dies, then atrophies.
So does the tail.) After about two weeks, we lop off the remaining tail.
We dunk the stump in iodine and watch for infection, keeping a close eye
on the wound until it heals. The wound takes a long, long time to
completely heal. My question is: Why not (cut) the tails when the
heifers are small? It could be done with other stress-inducing
procedures like dehorning."
Dr. Ken Nordlund, DVM responds:
"Tail Docking is controversial and has been banned in
England and some Scandinavian countries because of concerns about pain,
reduced ability to swat flies, and potential problems with infection and
wound healing. However..."
Folks, the list of "howevers" will break your heart, but
to Hoard's and its readers, it's business as usual.
I've run out of tolerance for the "however" people. I
hope that you are not one of them. Please re-read the letter from N.L.
and know that with the next bite of a slice of pizza or Hershey's Kiss,
you must also take responsibility for a lifetime of pain and suffering
to your bovine, a cow dedicated to your dairy consumption, set aside to
produce the cheeses and ice cream, yogurt and butter, cream cheese, and
chocolate that you consume by being a so-called compassionate
Go on to Fight Against
Olympic Rodeo Continues
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