Cows bond closely with their herd and create close friendships. They can anticipate the future and experience pain, fear and anxiety, which makes the abuses of factory farms all the more cruel. The dairy industry likes to show images of cows grazing on rolling green pastures, but most of the roughly nine million cows used for dairy in the United States are confined either indoors or in dirt feedlots without a blade of grass. And calves used for veal are taken from their mothers shortly after birth before being forced to spend their short lives in tiny crates.
On many industrial dairy farms, cows are subjected to cruel treatment including repeated impregnation, forced overproduction of milk, restrictive confinement and poor nutrition. Cows’ welfare could be vastly improved by providing more available space, opportunities for exercise and access to pasture to help avoid the health, stress and behavioral problems associated with poor conditions.
Cows display their emotions in subtle ways. A low ear position and cool nose, for example, mean that a cow is feeling good.
One day a week can make a world of difference for your health, animals and the environment! Start by trying a new vegetable-packed dish or swap your usual entrée with a plant-based meat alternative.