Posts Tagged 'dairy cows'

Cyborg cows

At a high-tech dairy farm in Moncton.

The day begins with the first milking at 4:30 a.m. As each cow is led into the “milking parlour” a computer reads a microchip in her ear, relaying information about milk output to a screen attached to the milking machine.

This information allows farm workers to keep track of how much milk each cow is producing. If a cow produces below her average, it’s a signal she may be sick.

A computer monitor attached to the wall provides detailed information on each cow. The flat screen looks out of place on the manure-splattered wall.

Total loss

Barn fire kills 450 cows.

A fire roared through a barn full of dairy cows in southeast Manitoba on Monday, killing hundreds of animals and causing an estimated $8.5 million in losses.

The blaze swept through the barn, in the Rural Municipality of Ste. Anne, at about 6:15 p.m.

Fire departments from the region, about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, were able to extinguish the blaze but the barn and its contents were a total loss, RCMP said.

Biological facts

A Mother’s Day story.

Dairy cows must be kept constantly pregnant in order to lactate. After four years of forced pregnancy and constant milking, dairy cows are considered “spent” and are sent to slaughter.

Despite common beliefs, cows, like all mammals, do not lactate spontaneously. They only produce milk to feed their babies and not humans. This biological fact does not change whether the dairy comes from a conventional, family, organic, or free-range farm. There is no such thing as a cruelty-free dairy as the cruelty is inherent. No farming method changes the fact that in order to produce milk for human consumption, cows must be impregnated and their babies must be taken away and killed. And no boycott of veal is truly genuine unless dairy is also boycotted.

No purpose

Thank you National Post for reminding us why milk is murder.

What most people don’t realize is that the production of veal doesn’t occur due to consumer demand, but as a byproduct of the dairy industry. The more cheese, butter, yogourt and ice cream we consume, the more we rely on Holstein heifers (female cows) to produce milk.

Each year, these cows require a break from milking and their udders dry up. To get the milk flowing again, they must be impregnated, which means giving birth to a calf that probably isn’t needed at the farm. If it’s a female, it has the potential to be used for milk production, but chances are its mother won’t be ready to retire as Holsteins are good for about six years of service. If it’s a male, it serves no purpose at all.

In most cases, the calf ends up with three possible fates: It either goes to a veal farm, where it will live for another five to six months; gets slaughtered after two weeks and is marketed as “bob” veal; or is killed almost immediately, with its meat going into pet food.

On that note, check out Liberation BC’s clever Mother’s Day campaign:

Resistance is futile

Shuswap farmer gets automated.

Traditionally, the life of a dairy farmer revolved around strict milking times. In May’s case, 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day, rain or shine, 365 days a year.

But the times, they are a changing, as DeMay Farms recently became the first in the Shuswap to convert their dairy operation to an entirely automated robotic milking system.

The DeLaval system uses computer and robotic technology to milk each of the cows on a 24-hour a day system. It works by tempting the cows into a special chute with a grain feed.

Cut cows

Four cows stabbed on Vancouver island.

Farm owner Barb Milley said the attack on the animals was cowardly and senseless. “They’re very docile, friendly creatures. They probably were sleeping and lying down. Who would hurt innocent cows that have no grudge against anybody?”

Comox Valley RCMP Const. Donald Sinclair said police don’t have any suspects yet.

“It’s just sick,” said Sinclair. “Poor old cow is not doing anything but giving milk and some guy comes along and cuts them open. Terrible.”


@AIC

REVIEW

Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil

INTERVIEW

Trevor Herriot

INTERVIEW

Erika Ritter

VIDEO

Toronto's cat problem

INTERVIEW

Don LePan

REVIEW

Don LePan's Animals

REVIEW

Justine Pimlott's Cat City

REVIEW

Erika Ritter's The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath