Cows with Holes in Their Sides
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM NZAVS New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society
March 2020

"Fistulating cows" - Scientists cut approximately 15cm in diameter sized holes in the sides of cows to gain direct access to their stomachs. They fit permanent plastic rings in the hole with a lid on it so that they can stick their arms straight inside the cow’s stomach.... It’s used to try to increase the profits of the animal agriculture industry, i.e. increase milk production or decrease methane production.

cows with holes
Photo credit: Jasmine Gillespie-Gray. Photo taken at a Lincoln University facility

The following procedure is one of the most gruesome of experiments on living animals I have come across, and we have proof it is still happening right now at a Lincoln University facility.

Scientists cut approximately 15cm in diameter sized holes in the sides of cows to gain direct access to their stomachs. They fit permanent plastic rings in the hole with a lid on it so that they can stick their arms straight inside the cow’s stomach. Contents of the stomach can be removed, or chemicals can be directly inserted.

They call this process ‘fistulating cows’.

It is a painful procedure and cows are still suffering from the intrusive surgery up to 11 days after the surgery.1

It’s used to try to increase the profits of the animal agriculture industry, i.e. increase milk production or decrease methane production.

cows with holes
Photo credit: Association L214, France

Can you imagine poking your arm into another living being’s stomach? Yet again, animals are treated as test subjects.

We as humans need a wake-up call and start seeing these heinous procedures for what they try are: cruel, insensitive and barbaric.

Together, we must protect innocent and defenceless sentient beings and do all we can to end gruesome tests such as cutting windows into cows.

We have found research papers from several facilities using fistulated cows.

The most recent one involved four fistulated cows and happened at a Lincoln University facility.2

A paper published in 2017, states that a fistulated cow died in the Waikato, for reasons that are unclear3.

This procedure is the epitome of using cows as mere objects, like cars with gas tanks. Cows are intelligent and sensitive animals who do not deserve to be tortured for any reason. It is NOT acceptable to treat sentient beings with such disregard.

The only ones to benefit from mutilating cows like this are companies such as Fonterra, research institutions, and industry organisations such as Dairy NZ.

Animal experimentation, agriculture and capitalism are deeply interconnected.

To make things worse, after fistulation, a cow is often used for further experimentation causing more suffering. She may get confined in a ‘respiration chamber’, a small plastic chamber in which she cannot turn around. The chamber measures the gases she produces.4

cows with holes
Photo taken at a Lincoln University facility recently (Feb 2020).

104,728 cows used in 2016

Unfortunately, in New Zealand, the cow is the most used animal in research, testing and teaching. MPI has not released the total numbers for 2017 onwards, but in 2016, 104,728 cows were used for so-called science5. According to their stats, 'less than 1%' (which is still 1,047 cows) died or were killed.

However, MPI did not release the total number of cows that came out of the experiments alive but were then sent to slaughter.

For instance, in 2018, Livestock Improvement, a New Zealand research facility, used 12,773 cows for testing and sent 12,212 off to slaughter; in their stats though for MPI, zero died or were euthanised.

This just shows you how skewed MPI's numbers actually are.

The numbers are staggering and so sad. Each and every one of those animals felt pain, joy, and wanted to live. The fistulation of cows in my mind is one of the most gruesome of research procedures. They do not deserve to be treated like a car, but with the love, respect and understanding they deserve.

Did you know, a cow forms close friendships, loves music and chooses to spend most of their time with 2-4 close friends. She also displays similar emotions like you and me; I’m sure the term ‘jumping for joy’ came from cows!

A cow can live up to 20-25 years and is a devoted mother, running for miles and bellowing for days to find their calves…

She is an emotional being who feels pain and pleasure like we do and who deserves to lead a life free of exploitation.

She needs you to defend her. She needs you to stand up against the industries. Be her voice and make a $25 gift today to defend animals fiercely and end cruel and intrusive tests such as the fistulation of cows.

Thank you for so fiercely defending animals used in science with us.



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