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Do dairy farms exist that don't take the baby calves away from their mothers?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I was discussing animal issues on another forum (babycenter) and someone said that where they live, there are TONS of farms that don't remove the baby calves from their mothers. I asked them where they got their info, and they have yet to respond. BUT...I thought I'd pose this question here.

I was under the impression that regardless of how small, free-range, or organic the dairy farm, the farmer still took the baby calves away from their mothers within a few days of their birth. Is this correct? I know that the farms in the Organic Valley co-op remove the calves within 5 days (I've contacted them about it). They don't go for veal but they do eventually get raised for beef. And of course on the factory farms the babies are removed within a few hours. But do farms actually exist where the baby calves get to live alongside their mothers and nurse whenever they are hungry?

I want to make sure that I have my facts straight when discussing these issues with non-vegans. Thanks!
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post #2 of 32
If it is a dairy farm I can't imagine it would be profitable to let baby calves drink their mother's milk. The calves would be siphoning off the profits.
post #3 of 32
Yes, one of the central principles of Hare Krishna dairy farming is that the calves suckle from their mothers until at least 6 months of age. They get all the milk until they start chewing the cud, and then they get about 25% - which, since cows have been bred to produce so much more milk than a calf needs, is adequate for their nutritional needs. Of course it is still not ideal.

It sounds like these people are bull****ting though. There is no reason on earth that a normal commercial farm would let a calf 'steal' the milk from the humans who can profit from it.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
That's what I was thinking. I just sent off emails to three different small organic dairy farms in my local area asking about this very issue. I'll post back with what I learn. The last thing I want to do is to be debating with misinformation!
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post #5 of 32
My dad tried to say the same thing but I knew he was talking out of his butt when he didn't even know that cows had to be impregnated and give birth in order to produce milk. His argument was that there are small farms out there that don't do the terrible things factory farms do and that the cows have to get milked or they will hurt, he assumed their udders were filled with milk waiting to explode their entire lives *face palm*

Well said phi.

Even if the milk could be taken without disrupting or taking away from mother and calf, why would one want to drink another species breast milk? It's just another weird greedy tradition that is pushed on us and rarely questioned.
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Phi - the person that I am discussing this with actually gets all her dairy products from one particular farm, which she says allows calves to nurse from their mothers for 3 months. She says you go to the farm and can see cows of all ages grazing on pasture together. The farm is owned by Mennonites who have a great respect for the animals and the land. I had no idea that farms like this existed, and I'm not 100% convinced that she has her facts straight, so I'm doing some research for myself.

So far I have already heard back from one of the farms that I emailed this morning, and sure enough, they take the calves away and sell them on the first day that they are born. This happens to be a farm that I used to buy from in my most recent lacto-ovo days, too, and I got my mom buying from them. They do let their cows graze on pasture, so it's definitely more humane than the factory-farmed version. But I am sorry that I was supporting a farm that rips infants from their mamas. So sad.
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post #7 of 32
Even if they let the calves nurse for 3 months. They still separate the baby and mama, and the calves would nurse longer than 3 months if they could. And whatever, all dairy cows become ground beef anyway, so the dairy industry supports the meat industry.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower View Post

The farm is owned by Mennonites who have a great respect for the animals and the land. I had no idea that farms like this existed, and I'm not 100% convinced that she has her facts straight, so I'm doing some research for myself.

I have read that the Mennonites have ties to puppy mills:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...uppy_mill.html
http://www.cchs-petshelter.org/id73.html
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamato View Post

I have read that the Mennonites have ties to puppy mills:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...uppy_mill.html
http://www.cchs-petshelter.org/id73.html

I've read and seen the same in undercover documentaries. Very sick, neglected animals.
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by FitChick99 View Post

Even if they let the calves nurse for 3 months. They still separate the baby and mama, and the calves would nurse longer than 3 months if they could. And whatever, all dairy cows become ground beef anyway, so the dairy industry supports the meat industry.

+1

It's crazy to think how ignorant I was about dairy farming when I was a kid and a newbie vegetarian. I just assumed that cows magically produced milk without making babies and they all got to retire when they got old, I believed the line about how milking is good for the cows without ever thinking it through and wondering where that milk really should have been going. It was horrifying to learn that the mothers and babies all get their throats slit in the end, I wish I had gone vegan years ago.

Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

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Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

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post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Just got another reply from a local and organic dairy farm, that looks nothing short of idyllic on their website. They take the babies away from their mothers 2-4 HOURS after birth.

I agree that even 3 months is not enough time for the calves to be with their mothers. But I'm starting to wonder if she had her information right. I know that cattle ranchers allow calves to stay with their mothers for up to 6 months, as they are growing them for beef and not milking the mothers.

It's so weird...I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for ethical reasons, but when I think about it, the milk industry seems more cruel to me than the beef industry. As a mother myself, when I think about going through pregancy, labor and delivery...the worst thing anyone could possibly have done to me is to take my baby away. I would have rather been tortured and beaten than to have my baby taken from me.
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post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower View Post

Just got another reply from a local and organic dairy farm, that looks nothing short of idyllic on their website. They take the babies away from their mothers 2-4 HOURS after birth.

I agree that even 3 months is not enough time for the calves to be with their mothers. But I'm starting to wonder if she had her information right.

2-4 hrs. is pretty fast. But out of sight before the next milking is the rule.

Keep on freepin' on

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Keep on freepin' on

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post #13 of 32
Anyone who says that is feeding you a load of crap. Even "humane" farmers cut corners on animal welfare for the sake of making a profit, otherwise it wouldn't be worth the time and money invested. There may be a few farms out there in the world which don't do it, but they're virtually nonexistent, and you should always assume that people do things the conventional way.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornflower View Post

I agree that even 3 months is not enough time for the calves to be with their mothers. But I'm starting to wonder if she had her information right. I know that cattle ranchers allow calves to stay with their mothers for up to 6 months, as they are growing them for beef and not milking the mothers.

That's what I was thinking. It's entirely possible her Mennonite farmers are raising both dairy and beef cattle, and the cows she's seeing out in the pasture with their calves are those being raised for beef. To most people, a cow is a cow--they don't see the difference.
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post #15 of 32
Do you think it would be more cruel if they ripped your baby away within a day, or after 3 months? I don't know. Because one so-called "humane farm" I called once said that they actually thought it was more kind to rip the baby away fast than after the cow had even more fully bonded to her baby. You have to figure everything that comes from a commercial industry is self-serving however, and their practices are not designed to serve the animals' interests.

3 months or within a day or so...everything in that mother wants to keep her baby with her longer than that. Nature gives her the same hormones and instincts it gives human mothers to care for her baby.

Quick research, but I'm seeing elsewhere that cow will let her calf nurse up to 2 years, if left alone.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

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"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

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post #16 of 32
I know when I have enough money to buy land and rescue farm animals cow and calf will be together as long as they want. Though technically my farm will be a sanctuary. All species deserve the same respect and should be allowed to live lives free from exploitation. It all comes down to Karma and most people are collecting very bad Karma.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom"
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"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom"
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post #17 of 32
it does.

however, the inherent exploitation of animal still remains, making the concept kinda moot for people who believe in AR anyway.
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post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary View Post

Quick research, but I'm seeing elsewhere that cow will let her calf nurse up to 2 years, if left alone.

That is what has been observed in studies with the small number of feral cows living unexploited in England.
post #19 of 32

The connection between Mennonites and puppy mills is not true.

 

Here is the truth:  

 

On YouTube there is a clip of a horrible puppy mill run by a man.  The puppies are housed in scrap heap kennels with stinking refuse--the place looks like a Third World garbage dump.

 

This man is identified as a Mennonite.  No doubt he was born raised in the church.  And now the way he runs his farm and has turned to puppy mill profits demonstrates how he has betrayed his upbringing and Mennonite values of cleanliness, integrity, plain dealing and sobriety.

 

His farm is as different from Mennonite values as the Godfather is from St. Francis of Assisi.

post #20 of 32

Demonstrates how far people will go to justify their desires and preferences... Just don't drink milk!

post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemermaid View Post

The connection between Mennonites and puppy mills is not true.

 

Here is the truth:  

 

On YouTube there is a clip of a horrible puppy mill run by a man.  The puppies are housed in scrap heap kennels with stinking refuse--the place looks like a Third World garbage dump.

 

This man is identified as a Mennonite.  No doubt he was born raised in the church.  And now the way he runs his farm and has turned to puppy mill profits demonstrates how he has betrayed his upbringing and Mennonite values of cleanliness, integrity, plain dealing and sobriety.

 

His farm is as different from Mennonite values as the Godfather is from St. Francis of Assisi.

 

Welcome to VB. Please start a thread and introduce yourself. :)

post #22 of 32
I live in New York City. We have a farmer's market on Thursdays and Sundays in my neighborhood. Sometimes I buy cheese from a farm that does not separate their calves from their moms. It's a wonderful farm. I pretty much live a vegan life but on occasion I enjoy cheese. Please read. Thanks. Julie
http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/dairy-herd
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie615 View Post

I live in New York City. We have a farmer's market on Thursdays and Sundays in my neighborhood. Sometimes I buy cheese from a farm that does not separate their calves from their moms. It's a wonderful farm. I pretty much live a vegan life but on occasion I enjoy cheese. Please read. Thanks. Julie
http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/dairy-herd

Sure, they may not separate the baby. Great....but for someone who is concerned about animals I think you might not know that you are supporting one minor problem.... "We also slaughter about 10 to 15 of our dairy cows each year as they age or if they need to be replaced for some other reason. These dairy cows turned beef animals provide excellent fillet mignon, NY strip, boneless sirloin, ground beef, stew beef, bones and organs.http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/other-livestock

 

While on the right track, seems a bit rude to slaughter your elders....


Edited by 4everaspirit - 6/20/13 at 9:19am
"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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post #24 of 32
You're absolutely right. I guess I'm just justifying
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie615 View Post

You're absolutely right. I guess I'm just justifying

I see you are a new member. Welcome to the boards.  :)

 

I do not want to derail this thread as it's not allowed, but since you mentioned you are "mostly" vegan, if you would like to talk about making the full step because you really do seem to care about the animals and are even acknowledge your own justificaiton (I'd give you a pat on the back for that) , you are more than welcome to P.M me and you are more than welcome to  also browse through the vegan section of these boards :)

 

I hope you have a good time here.

"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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post #26 of 32

Why would a dairy take the calf away hours after birth? The first milk is colostrum which isn't what people drink and is essential to strengthen the baby's immune system. 

post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by julie615 View Post

You're absolutely right. I guess I'm just justifying

And no offense, but i HIGHLY doubt they let the male calves happily live to adulthood with their mothers... until they too are murdered for "food".

Or the fact that the cows are repeatedly impregnated to keep milk production up, which is essentially rape because, again, I highly doubt they bring in a male to impregnate the cows voluntarily via sex.

There is no such thing as ethical dairy. Ever.
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― Virginia WoolfThe Waves
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post #28 of 32
A woman in her 40's at my work just wouldn't believe that cows have to have offspring to produce milk. She explained that her uncle had a specific breed of cattle that produced milk all year round and they never had calves.

I couldn't believe my ears and she was the one talking to me like I was stupid!
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyboy85 View Post

A woman in her 40's at my work just wouldn't believe that cows have to have offspring to produce milk. She explained that her uncle had a specific breed of cattle that produced milk all year round and they never had calves.

I couldn't believe my ears and she was the one talking to me like I was stupid!

Mutant cows!!!

 

Isn't that always how it is? Meat eaters act like you are the crazy one......when they have never probably even seen a cow! The one that makes me want to pull my hair out is the "they need to be milked or it'll hurt them!!" Right............

"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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post #30 of 32

I live in a rural area. I know some people (smaller scale farms), Actually keep quite a few calves with their mothers forever. Sounds nice hey? Except they put a spiky ring around the nose of the calf, everytime the calf goes to suckle the mother cow gets hurt and rejects the baby, so the calf won't be able to suckle ever. 

 

The dairy industry sucks

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