Cows must give birth to give milk? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-14-2006, 05:32 PM
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I'm sorry, I don't know if this is the proper place for this question, but I've been hearing conflicting opinions on this, and I don't know which is true. I've heard from some sources that cows must give birth to produce milk, which actually makes sense, but I've also heard from other sources that cows can't help but produce milk, like humans produce saliva. Which is it?
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#2 Old 11-14-2006, 05:39 PM
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Cows have to give birth to produce milk- just like people do. Milk is produced to feed mammals' babies.
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#3 Old 11-14-2006, 05:53 PM
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WARNING: If you want to drink milk stop reading now. You may find this offensive.









I grew up on a dairy farm and can tell you for a fact that, yes, cows must give birth in order to give milk. They are usually artificially inseminated. Shortly after birth the calf is taken away, usually to be sold for veal. The cow will go through a mourning period and call out for her missing calf. She will continue to produce milk for about a year before she "dries up". At that point she is inseminated again and the process starts over. Because they are kept in a constant state of pregnancy or lactation the typical dairy cow will only live 4-5 years.
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#4 Old 11-14-2006, 08:27 PM
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Many dairy farms let their cows roam in pasture with their bulls. It's called "natural service" and the bulls are called herd bulls.



AI is common on factory farms, but once you start looking at dairy co-ops and family dairy farms, the use of natural service is a lot more prevalent.
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#5 Old 11-14-2006, 08:27 PM
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That sounds horrible...so much for that "Happy Cows" ad...

Thanks for the info tho. I'll totally use that when I'm trying to pump veganism to my veg friends.
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#6 Old 11-14-2006, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

Many dairy farms let their cows roam in pasture with their bulls. It's called "natural service" and the bulls are called herd bulls.



AI is common on factory farms, but once you start looking at dairy co-ops and family dairy farms, the use of natural service is a lot more prevalent.



Whatever. The baby cows still get killed, and the dairy cows end up being killed as well. Whether they have known the joys of sex or not, they still end up dead on someone's plate and their skin becomes someone's shoes.
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#7 Old 11-14-2006, 10:32 PM
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I didn't say anything to suggest that veal doesn't exist, merely that AI isn't used on every farm.
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#8 Old 11-14-2006, 11:01 PM
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Calves are byproducts of the dairy industry. These calves are taken away very early in their lives to end up in veal crates, tethered until slaughtered.



quote from 'White lies' booklet :



'Milk production today is big business. Currently in the UK 2.2 million cows are held in 22,000 dairy holdings. There total value ofthe production of milk in the UK is estimated to be £2.7 billion'



it goes on to say:



'A common misconception is that it is nateral for cows to produce milk constantly. This is not the case; just like us, cow's only produce milk after a nine month pregancy and giving birth. Todays large-scale intensive dairy farming employs a highly regulated regime of cycling pregnancy and lactation concurrently, meaning that cows are both lactating and being milked at the same time for most of each year. This intensive physical demand puts a tremendous strain on the dairy cow and, as she gets older, infertility and severe infections causing mastitis and lameness cuts short her economic and productive life. (The dairy council 2002) The average lifespan of a modern dairy cow is only five years - that is after three or four lactations, when naturally she may live for 20 -30 years.'





I strongly recommend this booklet which can be got from www.vegetarian.org uk



Also because of this intensive milking the dairy cow when has mastitis is still milked and the dairy industry allows so much pus into the milk production.

And there can be antibiotic residue in dairy milk.



Cows milk is loaded with hormones (like human milk) designed for calves and there is a strong link between the rise of breast cancer and prostate cancer. This is due to the fact of our own hormones being bombarded with these extra hormones that can cause cancer.
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#9 Old 11-15-2006, 08:43 AM
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Milk is gross for so many reasons. I used to love milk and cheese but after learning the truth about how it is "harvested" I couldn't do it anymore.



When I was growing up all I ever heard was that cows always produce milk. Just something people convince themselves of to turn a blind eye to the truth.
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#10 Old 11-15-2006, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jojob1969 View Post

WARNING: If you want to drink milk stop reading now. You may find this offensive.









I grew up on a dairy farm and can tell you for a fact that, yes, cows must give birth in order to give milk. They are usually artificially inseminated. Shortly after birth the calf is taken away, usually to be sold for veal. The cow will go through a mourning period and call out for her missing calf. She will continue to produce milk for about a year before she "dries up". At that point she is inseminated again and the process starts over. Because they are kept in a constant state of pregnancy or lactation the typical dairy cow will only live 4-5 years.



Omg.

That is so upsetting.

Bring on the soy milk.

I always thought that "dairy cows" just magically produced milk all the time...
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#11 Old 11-15-2006, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Aimra View Post

Milk is gross for so many reasons. I used to love milk and cheese but after learning the truth about how it is "harvestead" I couldn't do it anymore.



Agreed
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#12 Old 11-15-2006, 10:09 AM
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Actually, I have been led to believe that after the birth of the first calf, continued milking will cause continued lactation although the yeild drops after 9 months or so.

Certainly it is commercial practice to breed yearly to keep milk yeilds high, but Im not sure that without breeding the amount reduces so much that its not worth milking at all. Does anyone know what the usual reduction is?
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#13 Old 11-15-2006, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jojob1969 View Post

WARNING: If you want to drink milk stop reading now. You may find this offensive.









I grew up on a dairy farm and can tell you for a fact that, yes, cows must give birth in order to give milk. They are usually artificially inseminated. Shortly after birth the calf is taken away, usually to be sold for veal. The cow will go through a mourning period and call out for her missing calf. She will continue to produce milk for about a year before she "dries up". At that point she is inseminated again and the process starts over. Because they are kept in a constant state of pregnancy or lactation the typical dairy cow will only live 4-5 years.



This is true to my experience as well, working on a goat farm that also had a few dairy cows. The goats were "naturally serviced," but the cows were artificially inseminated. The animals went through different levels of mourning. Some seemed to get over it quickly (very few), some cried for a few weeks looking for their babies, and a few seemed to never get over it, yet they were put through the same thing year after year. And this was at a small family farm where the animals all had names. No matter how nice the dairy farmers are, there is inherent cruelty in dairy farming.
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#14 Old 11-15-2006, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by queenarmadillo View Post

Actually, I have been led to believe that after the birth of the first calf, continued milking will cause continued lactation although the yeild drops after 9 months or so.

Certainly it is commercial practice to breed yearly to keep milk yeilds high, but Im not sure that without breeding the amount reduces so much that its not worth milking at all. Does anyone know what the usual reduction is?



Continued milking will lead to extended lactation, but not continued, lactation would eventually stop naturally.



Milking machines cause cows to produce more milk than is natural, stretching their udders and so making them produce more and more milk. This makes life difficult for the cow, walking and sitting are uncomfortable due to the huge udder. The udder size is also due to selective breeding. Dairy cows are thus generally very slow moving and seem very tired. In fact, we have three retired dairy cows at the moment, and the relief of not having to produce milk, and not having such a huge and full udder has been very obvious. They run around the paddock, kick up their back legs, chase each other around. It's great to watch, they're supposed to be old but they seem younger than cows half their age.
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#15 Old 11-15-2006, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

This is true to my experience as well, working on a goat farm that also had a few dairy cows. The goats were "naturally serviced," but the cows were artificially inseminated. The animals went through different levels of mourning. Some seemed to get over it quickly (very few), some cried for a few weeks looking for their babies, and a few seemed to never get over it, yet they were put through the same thing year after year. And this was at a small family farm where the animals all had names. No matter how nice the dairy farmers are, there is inherent cruelty in dairy farming.



I've also been witness to the mourning of cows for their babies. I don't think I've seen anything more heart wrenching. I also knew a cow who remembered her calves even though she'd known them for only a few days after they were born. She had two heifer (female) calves over her lifetime who were kept to be milked when they were older, when each of them came into the herd with her she would be seen spending time with them, and at milking time you could see the three of them standing in a line in the bails.
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#16 Old 11-15-2006, 03:51 PM
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[...]And this was at a small family farm where the animals all had names. No matter how nice the dairy farmers are, there is inherent cruelty in dairy farming.

I don't think this is always the case. I'd recommend the below article by Food for Life (a Vedic emergency relief organisation) which I found enlightening (if you can bear the obligatory preaching):

All about milk:

Quote:
[...]It is important to understand the distinct difference between traditional milk flowing from protected and loved cows, and commercial milk that is forcibly extracted from exploited cows in industrialized countries.

[...]

So although vegans certainly have strong scientific evidence, albeit, limited to the harmful effects of commercial dairy products on humans, we should also consider the overwhelming evidence of one of the world's oldest culturesHinduismand be careful not to generalize that "all milk is the same." It isn't.

[...]

By the way, the generalization bandied about by some vegans that a cow must be in calf to produce milkis not entirely true. Examples to the contrary include one cow at the ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor in England that continued to give milk 8 years after calf!!! How is that possible? The cow felt loved, and so she continued to offer her milk with love.



In a sense, I am a "conditional vegana new breed of conscious consumer, who will accept milk only from loved and protected cows, and NOT from those that are raised for slaughter, including the cows at organic dairies (another hypocrisy of the modern day).

[...]


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#17 Old 11-16-2006, 12:34 PM
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I don't know Indian Summer. That cow that gave milk for 8 years would be an extreme exception. I knew a cow who had her calf left on her and while she continued to protect her like a mother cow does, and spent time with her for the whole time they were together, she was only able to feed her for 1 year, then her milk dried up.

Also, there's the theory that you could have a cow who has had a calf and since dairy cows generally produce far more milk than a calf needs (having been breed for huge udders), you could take most of the milk and she could keep her calf as well. It sounds nice in theory but I've known cows with calves and they are extremely reluctant to give away any of their milk when they still have their calf, even if it's just to relieve them of the pressure of their full udder. I've physically had to push two (normally very cooperative) cows into a cowshed in those circumstances. These were both cows that had been milked in cowsheds without incident for years beforehand. I really do believe that they just wanted to keep the milk for their calf.
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#18 Old 11-16-2006, 12:43 PM
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I've noticed that article mentions the idea that cows have to be in calf to produce milk. Of course that's not true. In calf means pregnant. Cows do not have to be pregnant to produce milk. They have to have recently had a calf and to continue producing must have the milk taken by either a calf or a human, which indicates to the cow's body that more milk is required, so its body makes more. It will produce as much as is needed based on the amount taken.
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#19 Old 11-16-2006, 02:33 PM
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I don't know Indian Summer. That cow that gave milk for 8 years would be an extreme exception. I knew a cow who had her calf left on her and while she continued to protect her like a mother cow does, and spent time with her for the whole time they were together, she was only able to feed her for 1 year, then her milk dried up.

I don't know either, but perhaps it has to do with the particular breed. Cows that I've seen in pictures or on TV from India don't at all look much like the cows they have in Europe or North America.



Cow milk is and has been for thousands of years a very important food for Hindus. But before the downfall when commercial dairies and cruel practices were introduced in India in 1950, how did they produce cow milk? If Hindus really were so concerned about cows, could they really keep the cows constantly pregnant and kill the calves?

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#20 Old 11-16-2006, 03:03 PM
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I think the answer to the India question might be seen at modern Krishna dairies. Like Hindus they consume milk and butter-- but have prohibitions against meat-eating or killing cows.



Their method is to breed the cows and keep the calves. The males grow up to be either breeding bulls or they are trained to plow as oxen. Perhaps in pre-industrial India male cattle were dealt with in a similar way.

slops, gloops, and gruels.
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#21 Old 11-16-2006, 03:03 PM
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This is interesting:

India's Holy Cow: the Sacred and the Suffering

http://tedeboy.tripod.com/drmichaelwfox/id47.html



It says there is sufficient feed for only 60% of India's cattle population and much land is over-grazed - and so many are starving and chronically malnourished. There is an "excess" of cattle for the environment - and thus if cows are made to reproduce in order to produce milk, there is an issue in what happens to all the offspring, i.e. it doesn't seem sustainable without killing...

"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.

 

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#22 Old 11-16-2006, 04:12 PM
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Thanks, that was a really interesting article. It doesn't seem to address pre-industrial dairy farming, though? I tend to believe it was more like peace mentioned than the methods described in the article.

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#23 Old 11-16-2006, 09:15 PM
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I don't know either, but perhaps it has to do with the particular breed. Cows that I've seen in pictures or on TV from India don't at all look much like the cows they have in Europe or North America.



Cow milk is and has been for thousands of years a very important food for Hindus. But before the downfall when commercial dairies and cruel practices were introduced in India in 1950, how did they produce cow milk? If Hindus really were so concerned about cows, could they really keep the cows constantly pregnant and kill the calves?



I've been told by someone who'd know that the non-kill policy just means that the old cows are basically left to die. Apparently they're neglected and basically starved until they die anyway. If that is the case then the whole sacred cow thing seems like a formality.
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#24 Old 11-16-2006, 09:18 PM
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This is interesting:

India's Holy Cow: the Sacred and the Suffering

http://tedeboy.tripod.com/drmichaelwfox/id47.html



It says there is sufficient feed for only 60% of India's cattle population and much land is over-grazed - and so many are starving and chronically malnourished. There is an "excess" of cattle for the environment - and thus if cows are made to reproduce in order to produce milk, there is an issue in what happens to all the offspring, i.e. it doesn't seem sustainable without killing...



I had also heard that the old cows that can't produce anymore are neglected and usually end up starving to death because the producing cows are given all the food.
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#25 Old 11-16-2006, 09:19 PM
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Looks like we're back to the whole veganism solution
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#26 Old 11-16-2006, 10:20 PM
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Looks like we're back to the whole veganism solution



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#27 Old 11-17-2006, 01:29 AM
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I had also heard that the old cows that can't produce anymore are neglected and usually end up starving to death because the producing cows are given all the food.

Yes, that is how it is today after Indian dairy farming has become industrialised.

Quote:
Looks like we're back to the whole veganism solution

Veganism remains the solution as long as we have an abundance of good vegan food, and no need for oxen to help with plowing. But we have not seen evidence that dairy farming is inherently cruel - only that the industrialised, factory farming sort of dairy farms are cruel. (That is, unless you consider taking the excess and/or unused milk and using oxens to help with plowing to be cruel.)

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#28 Old 11-17-2006, 04:04 AM
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I asked my cooking teacher and she said that of course they didnt have to give birth. Shes been teaching cooking class for over 20 years =O I figured she was right.
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#29 Old 11-17-2006, 04:46 AM
 
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Your cooking teacher needs to take a biology class.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#30 Old 11-17-2006, 05:22 AM
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Being a cooking class teacher has nothing to do with what one knows about how something is produced. She could have been a teacher for 100 years and think that tomatoes grow out of Tom Cruise's ass.

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