Oops! The dairy industry has blundered again by giving up
another one of their dirty secrets. The following information was
published in the September 10, 2004 issue of the national dairy farm
magazine, Hoard's Dairyman. On page 558, we find this revealing letter
from a California dairy producer:
"When Cows are Abused
The article 'When cows are abused' in your August 10, 2004
issue, page 484, should be required reading for anyone raising a farm
The author concludes, 'All our public relations efforts
are in vain if an animal rights horror happens in our dairy community and
only PETA speaks out.' Amen. In the nearly 17 years that I have dealt with
the animal welfare and animal rights set of issues, I have witnessed far
too many occasions upon which agriculture has given its power away to the
activists by not taking care of industry blemishes in-house. Downer cows
are a prime example: tail docking is another. Science clearly (not 'sort
of') doesn't support docking cattle, and yet farmers continue to do it.
Must we, again, wait until we're forced by public policy and an
embarrassing media expose to do the right thing? I hope not."
Ria De Grassi
Thanks to Hoard's editors for tipping us off. Any TV
producers or investigative newspaper reporters out there looking for a
story of widespread animal abuse?
Chopping off cow's tails is a common practice in the dairy
industry. Why do dairymen do such a thing? So that they will not get
swatted while milking their cows.
Let me tell you why cows have long tails. The tail was
invented by an architect who recognized that the part of the bovine
structure located just below the tail attracts many different varieties of
the common and not-so common fly. A tail is nature's perfect built-in fly
swatter. Without her tail, the cow lives an uncomfortable life of being
eternally pestered and bugged.
Cutting off tails is called docking. To me, docking is
what I ineptly do each time I attempt to return a powerboat to its berth
after a day of water skiing with my kids. To dairymen, docking is chopping
off a cow's tail.
Which brings me to Boston. I have been permanently banned
from speaking at the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Tasting because I
openly criticize their sponsors, cheese producers. The conference is
October 23, 2004. If you should go, please avoid the animal products sold
by their major sponsors, Annies, Moosewood, Lightlife, and Smart Foods.
Few people have the courage to criticize vegetarian societies and animal
groups for the hypocrisy of serving dairy products at their conferences.
To do so is to not get invited back. You know what? Animals must die so
that AW, AR, and Vegetarian conferences can promote an event to keep
animals from dying. Makes sense to me. That's sort of like killing Iraqi
children today with smart bombs so that they cannot grow up to kill each
other years from now with dumb bombs.
I make no friends when I offer sarcasm towards vegetarian
conference planners. "Why not accept money from Burger King and
McDonald's," I ask, "instead of from cheese producers?" Promote cheese and
you promote the most painful form of animal torture. Taking money from
cheese producers to support a vegetarian conference is akin to walking the
streets and trading sexual favors for dollars.
I have a track record of being extremely critical of the
dairy industry and those who promote cheese, 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 merge into one point. One obvious conclusion: milk does
not do the body any good.
If you have became a cheese-eating 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
only to be tomorrow's steak or burger suffers a horrible death. Yet,
compared to dairy cows, this gentle creature's life is tolerable. She
eats. She poops. She sleeps. She eats. She poops. She sleeps. The tailless
cows cannot defend their rear flanks. When the time to die finally
arrives, it is a painful relief to a lifetime of torture.
I found a letter regarding tail docking in the January 25,
2002 issue of Hoard's Dairyman. On 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 extreme 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 vegetarian.
In 1870, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "You have just dined,
and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful
distance of miles, there is complicity."
I blame tail docking on farmers. Once you are made aware
of tail docking, and continue to support the consumption of milk and dairy
products, you become part of the problem. There is complicity.
You become the enemy. Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, and
Vegetarian groups by accepting money from dairy manufacturers, or by
serving and promoting their products, support tail docking. Shame on them.
Go on to The Question
of Elephants in Zoos
Return to 26 September 2004 Issue
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