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#31 Old 01-17-2016, 05:24 AM
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It's rare to drive by a dairy farm (or bike or walk) and not see at least a few calves. And you gotta wonder where all those cows come from year after year. They can't be the same ones I saw ten years ago producing the same amount of milk? My guess is they are female offspring.
Yes, the females are raised as dairy cows while the males are sold or slaughtered for veal. I was reading that there are around nine million dairy cows in the United States. At the rate of one calf per cow per year, that's nine million births in the US alone. So many babies. 😢
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#32 Old 01-17-2016, 07:19 AM
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Yes, the females are raised as dairy cows while the males are sold or slaughtered for veal. I was reading that there are around nine million dairy cows in the United States. At the rate of one calf per cow per year, that's nine million births in the US alone. So many babies.
Yes, and in some cattle breeds, particularly the Holsteins and maybe the Jerseys, many of those dairy calves are bottle-fed on milk replacement, then sold to ranchers and put to graze in pasture for several months and then another three to six months in a feedlot before slaughter. Except for not nursing from their mothers after they've received a jolt of colostrum, they are raised like ranch cattle. I think many if not most of the female dairy calves are dispatched the same way; they keep only the number that will be replacement dairy cows, from the number of milk cows due to be culled that year.

I wonder if there's a steep decline in the demand for veal which would have led to this change? Last time I was driving through Texas I did notice quite a few Holsteins in a feedlot I passed; hadn't ever seen them there before, and that led me to google "holstein beef" to see if this was part of a larger trend. I've read that cattle born at dairies now provide about 15 to 20 percent of the regular beef market.
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#33 Old 01-17-2016, 09:51 AM
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being vegan is awesome, I hope some day ppl will undertsand that

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#34 Old 01-17-2016, 10:38 AM
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I disagree. I think the fact that every dairy cow is repeatedly impregnated at a rate of about one calf a year is one of the most compelling arguments against dairy farming. Even if it were technically possible to produce a profitable amount of milk from a cow who had never given birth-- of which I am extremely sceptical-- that simply isn't how it's done. Dairy cows give birth repeatedly until they're slaughtered, and their babies are either killed or raised to become tortured mothers themselves. Those who claim that cows produce milk "spontaneously" or that they'll "explode" if not milked are not speaking factually.
I guess I have been unclear in my posts on this matter.

1.Modern dairy practices are disgusting. As a former nursing mother and lactation nurse, stealing the baby calf and then its milk from his mother is something that makes me physically nauseous to think about. I haven't had dairy in over a decade.

2. It is important to have correct facts when discussing dairy with meat eaters or lacto-veggies. If you tell them one thing that is not true, it punches holes in their belief that what you say is true. It IS true that mammals can lactate without giving birth, or even having been pregnant. If we say it isn't, and mock those who say it is, we are no longer believable. Ask any lawyer. One lie, the rest of the testimony is suspect.

3. I never said that it would be economically sustainable or pleasant to force lactation on or to keep milking a cow for years without re-impregnating her. What I was disputing was that it was not possible, which was what was told to the omni nurse. I bet she knows that's not true, so whatever else she was told, she will likely disregard as vegan ranting. So the real point that cows ARE impregnated every year and their calves stolen will be lost.
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#35 Old 01-17-2016, 12:57 PM
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I guess I have been unclear in my posts on this matter.

1.Modern dairy practices are disgusting. As a former nursing mother and lactation nurse, stealing the baby calf and then its milk from his mother is something that makes me physically nauseous to think about. I haven't had dairy in over a decade.

2. It is important to have correct facts when discussing dairy with meat eaters or lacto-veggies. If you tell them one thing that is not true, it punches holes in their belief that what you say is true. It IS true that mammals can lactate without giving birth, or even having been pregnant. If we say it isn't, and mock those who say it is, we are no longer believable. Ask any lawyer. One lie, the rest of the testimony is suspect.

3. I never said that it would be economically sustainable or pleasant to force lactation on or to keep milking a cow for years without re-impregnating her. What I was disputing was that it was not possible, which was what was told to the omni nurse. I bet she knows that's not true, so whatever else she was told, she will likely disregard as vegan ranting. So the real point that cows ARE impregnated every year and their calves stolen will be lost.
I understand what you're saying, but I don't think that the hypothetical ability to get milk out of a cow who's never given birth is what anyone is talking about when they talk about dairy cows. That situation has never happened and never will happen in reality, so it is accurate to say "Cows don't produce milk unless they've given birth," because they don't. Whether or not it could happen hypothetically is irrelevant.
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#36 Old 01-17-2016, 02:18 PM
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I am a vegan as well for 2 years already but I still can not reject leather ware. I think leather boots is the best protection for our feet. though I feel truly sorry for animals I think shoes like this are more practical in winter time.
These VEGAN boots look far more practical for winter-
http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n:7141123...20Boots&page=1
I don't take with people having need to buy leather-like in work uniforms, or buying used if money is an issue, or when special sizing is a problem. If you don't have a real NEED, and still buy leather, you're not vegan.
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#37 Old 01-18-2016, 02:47 AM
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These VEGAN boots look far more practical for winter-
http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n:7141123...20Boots&page=1
I don't take with people having need to buy leather-like in work uniforms, or buying used if money is an issue, or when special sizing is a problem. If you don't have a real NEED, and still buy leather, you're not vegan.
I have been living without leather for almost five years (except a few odd things like the straps on an expensive canvas canoe pack I have had for many years and can't afford to replace) and I live in NE Minnesota. Subzero temps are the norm this time of year, and this last week has been no exception! I have done snowshoe adventures, Boundary Waters Canoe Camping trips complete with miles of portaging heavy gear and sloshing through cold water and over rocks to enter the canoe, have done lots of winter hiking, all with synthetic man made material hiking boots. I have a pair of vegan Garmont Kiowa hiking boots I have had since the summer of 2011 and they actually keep my feet warm in winter. I also now have Adidas Terrex Swift GTX midsport hiking shoes with high ankle support and I wore them around the last week or so and even below zero they are keeping my feet somewhat warm. They are more waterproof than the Garmonts too. I have a very old pair of Columbia snowboots acquired in 2008 that are "accidentally" vegan and I have worn them countless times snowshoeing. It is entirely possible to keep one's feet warm in cold winters without leather. I use hemp socks (they wick moisture similar to wool) and also heavy cotton work socks in winter as well.

Like silva, I can understand if a person HAS to wear leather for work or some other reason, or they have an old pair of quality leather boots they can't afford to replace as of yet. I personally could never simply choose to wear leather because I think it is "superior" to other materials.

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#38 Old 01-18-2016, 09:00 AM
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These VEGAN boots look far more practical for winter-
http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n:7141123...20Boots&page=1
I don't take with people having need to buy leather-like in work uniforms, or buying used if money is an issue, or when special sizing is a problem. If you don't have a real NEED, and still buy leather, you're not vegan.
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I have been living without leather for almost five years (except a few odd things like the straps on an expensive canvas canoe pack I have had for many years and can't afford to replace) and I live in NE Minnesota. Subzero temps are the norm this time of year, and this last week has been no exception! I have done snowshoe adventures, Boundary Waters Canoe Camping trips complete with miles of portaging heavy gear and sloshing through cold water and over rocks to enter the canoe, have done lots of winter hiking, all with synthetic man made material hiking boots. I have a pair of vegan Garmont Kiowa hiking boots I have had since the summer of 2011 and they actually keep my feet warm in winter. I also now have Adidas Terrex Swift GTX midsport hiking shoes with high ankle support and I wore them around the last week or so and even below zero they are keeping my feet somewhat warm. They are more waterproof than the Garmonts too. I have a very old pair of Columbia snowboots acquired in 2008 that are "accidentally" vegan and I have worn them countless times snowshoeing. It is entirely possible to keep one's feet warm in cold winters without leather. I use hemp socks (they wick moisture similar to wool) and also heavy cotton work socks in winter as well.

Like silva, I can understand if a person HAS to wear leather for work or some other reason, or they have an old pair of quality leather boots they can't afford to replace as of yet. I personally could never simply choose to wear leather because I think it is "superior" to other materials.
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#39 Old 01-18-2016, 09:49 AM
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Okay, sorry to return to the milk debate but perhaps I wasn't being clear either. The person in question thought that cows are born producing milk, aren't impregnated to produce it and their udders would literally explode without being milked.

Spontaneous lactation does indeed occur in humans, though I think it's fairly rare and sometimes there is a medical reason for it. An unmilked dairy cow will likely get mastitis and possibly a life-threatening infection. They won't, however, blow up like a hand grenade.

In future I will take extra care when discussing this and acknowledge the fact mammals sometimes lactate spontaneously but in the dairy industry (which is what I was discussing with him) this isn't actually the case.
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#40 Old 01-18-2016, 11:33 AM
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....... I think the fact that every dairy cow is repeatedly impregnated at a rate of about one calf a year is one of the most compelling arguments against dairy farming.........

Dairy cows give birth repeatedly until they're slaughtered, .......
No whey jose, I've partially quoted your post.

Critics of the dairy industry often argue that cows are forcibly impregnated year after year. It is true that they are almost always artificially inseminated, as opposed to being in a herd with a bull; but I think cows, like most bovines, would normally give birth annually anyway if they were living wild.

Having said that... everything else people have said about how the dairy industry is abusive to cows is true. And even if cows would normally breed annually, it isn't necessarily in their best interests for them to do so. (We normally prevent our companion animals from breeding, after all.) I just wanted to point out that breeding every year, on the face of it, may not be particularly abnormal for these animals; some in this thread have pointed out that one factually-incorrect statement can be seized upon by those trying to defend dairy practices.
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#41 Old 01-18-2016, 12:20 PM
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No whey jose, I've partially quoted your post.

Critics of the dairy industry often argue that cows are forcibly impregnated year after year. It is true that they are almost always artificially inseminated, as opposed to being in a herd with a bull; but I think cows, like most bovines, would normally give birth annually anyway if they were living wild.

Having said that... everything else people have said about how the dairy industry is abusive to cows is true. And even if cows would normally breed annually, it isn't necessarily in their best interests for them to do so. (We normally prevent our companion animals from breeding, after all.) I just wanted to point out that breeding every year, on the face of it, may not be particularly abnormal for these animals; some in this thread have pointed out that one factually-incorrect statement can be seized upon by those trying to defend dairy practices.
To clarify, I mention the fact that cows are repeatedly impregnated not to highlight any inherent problem with the rate of one calf per year but to counter the notion that cows produce milk spontaneously without first giving birth, or that cows who have only given birth once are encouraged to continue lactating through extended breastfeeding or pumping, or whatever other mistaken notions a person might have about milk production. Whatever might be hypothetically possible regarding lactation, in the dairy industry cows are generally impregnated at a rate of one calf per year.

As for the abusive part of this, it isn't simply giving birth once a year. It's being forcibly impregnated, carrying a calf to term, and giving birth only to have the baby ripped away and the baby's milk stolen-- and, yes, it's the repetition of this trauma once per year. I would not consider a wild cow giving birth once a year to be exploitative or abusive, but the dairy industry has nothing to do with wild cows.

I understand the desire to speak only truths, but I don't feel it's at all inaccurate to say that dairy cows don't produce milk spontaneously (because they don't, even if it might be technically possible for them to do so) or to say that it's abusive for a dairy cow to be repeatedly impregnated for her milk (because it obviously is.) Out of curiosity, how would you prefer to express those sentiments? Is there a way that's less ambiguous? The meaning seemed clear to me, but obviously there's been some confusion and I'm always interested in finding better ways to phrase these things.
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#42 Old 01-18-2016, 04:28 PM
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IMO, using the term "rape" for artificial insemination is going to make anyone who has lived around nonhuman animals think that the speaker is speaking from an overly emotional POV. (And I say this as someone who is pretty damn emotional about nonhuman animals.)

The fact is, an awful lot of the sexual activity among animals of the same species is non consensual. For example, although most bird species are not physically capable of rape because of the nonpenetrative nature of the male's sexual organs, there are some notable exceptions, of which ducks are one. Drakes are extreme rapists, so much so that, at certain times of the year, I have to separate the drakes out from the girls, because they rape so prolifically that they injure the girls, and it's not unusual for a female duck to be raped to death. Rape/attempted rape is also not unusual among dogs and cats, even when everyone has been spayed/neutered.

So,while I am not an apologist for artificial insemination (or of breeding of any kind), I think that most people turn the auditory dial to the "this person is an overly emotional dingbat who thinks that animal life is some sort of Disney romp" when people call it "rape", because it is much less brutal than what many/most of these females would be subjected to without human intervention. It's not that different from calling it "sodomy" when the vet takes the anal temperature of one of my cats - a procedure that is also done without the consent of the cat, and to which the cat objects.
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#43 Old 01-19-2016, 04:08 AM
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IMO, using the term "rape" for artificial insemination is going to make anyone who has lived around nonhuman animals think that the speaker is speaking from an overly emotional POV. (And I say this as someone who is pretty damn emotional about nonhuman animals.)

The fact is, an awful lot of the sexual activity among animals of the same species is non consensual. For example, although most bird species are not physically capable of rape because of the nonpenetrative nature of the male's sexual organs, there are some notable exceptions, of which ducks are one. Drakes are extreme rapists, so much so that, at certain times of the year, I have to separate the drakes out from the girls, because they rape so prolifically that they injure the girls, and it's not unusual for a female duck to be raped to death. Rape/attempted rape is also not unusual among dogs and cats, even when everyone has been spayed/neutered.

So,while I am not an apologist for artificial insemination (or of breeding of any kind), I think that most people turn the auditory dial to the "this person is an overly emotional dingbat who thinks that animal life is some sort of Disney romp" when people call it "rape", because it is much less brutal than what many/most of these females would be subjected to without human intervention. It's not that different from calling it "sodomy" when the vet takes the anal temperature of one of my cats - a procedure that is also done without the consent of the cat, and to which the cat objects.
Artificial insemination without consent is rape, whether most people approve of the term or not, and regardless of what goes on between animals in the wild. I don't understand how its being arguably less brutal than intraspecies assault makes it any less of an assault. On the contrary, since humans understand the concept of consent, we can be held fully accountable for sexual assault against non-human animals in a way that the animals themselves cannot.

As far as the difference between taking your dog's temperature rectally and artificially inseminating a cow, pretend for a moment that we aren't talking about non-human animals but about a human woman who is incapable of consent due to physical or mental limitations. Would you consider it sexual assault for a doctor to take her temperature rectally if there was no other way of taking her temperature? Would you consider it sexual assault for a farmer to manually inject semen into her with the intention of selling her milk for profit? If an act is sexual assault for a human, it is sexual assault for a cow, too.

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#44 Old 01-19-2016, 08:45 AM
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It never makes us look logical and balanced when we take human constructs like rape and overlay them onto other species. Human women are capable of giving and withholding consent at any point during the monthly cycles. And if our non-consent is overridden by coercion, that's clearly rape. But with nonhuman mammals, if the female isn't in season she isn't receptive, and he's not interested anyway. Males in the wild rarely attempt to mate with females out of season, because the "in-season" scents the females give off trigger the males' arousal. To that one extent, we're making invalid comparisons. If you've witnessed a female cat or dog in season one can only conclude she "wants" to be mated with. She will make that as clear as any organism possibly can. Does a cow experience a sex drive as an urge when she's in season? With the act of insemination does she experience sexual relief? Would she really experience insemination as we would experience a rape? Could we prove it?

I think one valuable line of research into animal husbandry/animal abuse might be to take baseline measurements of an animal at equilibrium, at homeostasis: at peace, not under stress. What is the breathing rate like at that point, what is the heart rate and blood pressure, what hormones are in the bloodstream, what is the behavior like. And then take the same measurements once the animal has been exposed to treatment we expect would cause it stress. How far do those numbers jump, and how long does it take for the animal to regain its equilibrium? A cow forcibly separated from her calf, an inseminated female of any "food animal" species, a lamb or piglet castrated without anesthetic, a calf being branded with a hot iron, and so forth. We know we ourselves would detest and resent any of that treatment, but how do they react to it, and how long does the stressed condition persist? Are cows at the feedlot as miserable as we would be, or are they as content as they are placid? Have they gone nose-blind to all that manure and urine? Or are cattle in feedlots persistently stressed compared to cattle in pasture?

If it turns out animals can pretty much roll with the lot they've been dealt, food ethicicists could concentrate more on how the animals' health is being harmed, and on the environmental and public health aspects of CAFO environments rather than how "miserable they must be." I think this line of reasoning could resonate with more people on the fence than do appeals to pure human emotion. We all know we'd hate to be a cow with a human frame of reference, enduring the treatment they endure, but that's really beside the point. And I'm not talking about flagrant abuses like stomping and kicking and maiming, but about the activities that are part of standard, acknowledged procedure in animal agriculture. When we point to a treatment as being indisputably inhumane, it would be good to have metrics to back up our opinions.

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#45 Old 01-19-2016, 09:07 AM
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^Those sound like the studies ---I can't think of her name but she's known for making changes how cafos operate, and known for being autisic-

But anyway, it still comes down to unnecessary exploitation for human greed
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#46 Old 01-19-2016, 09:41 AM
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^Those sound like the studies ---I can't think of her name but she's known for making changes how cafos operate, and known for being autisic-

But anyway, it still comes down to unnecessary exploitation for human greed
Sounds like you're thinking of Temple Grandin. I know her connection with making changes to slaughterhouse routines by changing the shape of the route the animals walked (curved instead of straight, not seeing what the animal directly ahead is walking into) so they'd be calmer and not set one another off. And yes, it does come down to unnecessary exploitation for human greed, but you have to be pretty far along the path already, to be receptive to that concept. I was talking about specific narratives the animal rights community is attached to (e.g., insemination=rape), and why some of them might not be so effective. I was talking strategy for communicating things that can be observed and measured, not arguing against giving up animal products.

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#47 Old 01-19-2016, 09:59 AM
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I have never seen any compelling evidence to suggest that animals don't experience pain and fear in the way that we do. I don't know of any good reason to assume that they don't. They have all the necessary hardware: a central nervous system, a complex brain. There have been studies like the ones you describe, most notably a study on cognitive bias in calves which revealed that they view the world pessimistically after experiencing the trauma of dehorning and separation from their mothers. There are studies highlighting cows' ability to successfully solve puzzles, such as one experiment where they learned to navigate a maze by following a noise. By all accounts, cows are intelligent creatures with emotional lives.
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#48 Old 01-19-2016, 10:13 AM
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I have never seen any compelling evidence to suggest that animals don't experience pain and fear in the way that we do. I don't know of any good reason to assume that they don't. They have all the necessary hardware: a central nervous system, a complex brain. There have been studies like the ones you describe, most notably a study on cognitive bias in calves which revealed that they view the world pessimistically after experiencing the trauma of dehorning and separation from their mothers. There are studies highlighting cows' ability to successfully solve puzzles, such as one experiment where they learned to navigate a maze by following a noise. By all accounts, cows are intelligent creatures with emotional lives.
Not disputing that cows are sentient, social animals capable of suffering! Under the circumstances, no intelligent steer has reason to be anything but pessimistic. I'm more skeptical that a cow's experience of insemination is analogous to a woman's experience of rape. I think the ability to regain equilibrium after trauma is a highly adaptive trait, the way it is in the emotionally healthiest, most resilient of humans. Considering the scope of the CAFO situation, I'd hope that cattle in general, not just unusually resilient cattle, possess this trait, that the suffering they experience is more in the immediate aftermath of trauma than forever after the trauma. And that the day-to-day reality of CAFO life is not experienced as trauma. But one way or the other, I'd like to know. Are some of the studies you remember available on the 'net to look at?

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#49 Old 01-19-2016, 11:34 AM
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But with nonhuman mammals, if the female isn't in season she isn't receptive, and it's just not gonna happen.
While I agree with some of your post, I have to take issue with this. Not all species are alike in their sexual behaviors. For instance, most species of ducks mate for life, but drakes do "rape" females who are not their mates. This has been prevalent duck behavior for so long that the female duck anatomy has actually evolved so that a female duck will almost never be "impregnated" through coerced sex, but her eggs will be inseminated through consensual sex with her mate. See this article for a brief description of this phenomenon: http://www.science20.com/news_articl...ewed_human_sex

With respect to chickens, roosters do attempt to mount hens against their will, on a regular basis. Because their sexual relations are not penetrative (completely different reproductive organs than ducks), there are no internal injuries to the females.

And, as I said above, anyone who has lived a long time with dogs and/or cats and has been observant of their behavior will have seen firsthand that just because a dog or cat has been neutered at a young age will not necessarily mean that an individual will not attempt to forcibly mount another individual, also spayed/neutered. Sexual urges are strong, and, depending on the individual, survive early neutering.

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#50 Old 01-19-2016, 11:36 AM
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^Those sound like the studies ---I can't think of her name but she's known for making changes how cafos operate, and known for being autisic-

But anyway, it still comes down to unnecessary exploitation for human greed
Temple Grandin. Not a fan.
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#51 Old 01-19-2016, 11:46 AM
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While I agree with some of your post, I have to take issue with this. Not all species are alike in their sexual behaviors. For instance, most species of ducks mate for life, but drakes do "rape" females who are not their mates. This has been prevalent duck behavior for so long that the female duck anatomy has actually evolved so that a female duck will almost never be "impregnated" through coerced sex, but her eggs will be inseminated through consensual sex with her mate. See this article for a brief description of this phenomenon: http://www.science20.com/news_articl...ewed_human_sex

With respect to chickens, roosters do attempt to mount hens against their will, on a regular basis. Because their sexual relations are not penetrative (completely different reproductive organs than ducks), there are no internal injuries to the females.

And, as I said above, anyone who has lived a long time with dogs and/or cats and has been observant of their behavior will have seen firsthand that just because a dog or cat has been neutered at a young age will not necessarily mean that an individual will not attempt to forcibly mount another individual, also spayed/neutered. Sexual urges are strong, and, depending on the individual, survive early neutering.
There was a Radiolab episode about this! Fascinating.

Joan - not sure about the studies. I'm only pulling this from memory. Maybe someone reading this will recognize them and be able to help out?

Regarding insemination, my understanding of the standard practice is that the cow is restrained while a human arm is shoved elbow-deep into the cow's anus to manipulate the cervix while another with a syringe of semen is inserted into the vagina. I cannot imagine that experience being anything but traumatic, and I don't think that's anthropomorphizing! Artificial insemination is nothing like mating, and even the experience of mating among animals can be violent and nonconsentual.
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#52 Old 01-19-2016, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Beautiful Joe View Post
While I agree with some of your post, I have to take issue with this. Not all species are alike in their sexual behaviors. For instance, most species of ducks mate for life, but drakes do "rape" females who are not their mates. This has been prevalent duck behavior for so long that the female duck anatomy has actually evolved so that a female duck will almost never be "impregnated" through coerced sex, but her eggs will be inseminated through consensual sex with her mate. See this article for a brief description of this phenomenon: http://www.science20.com/news_articl...ewed_human_sex

With respect to chickens, roosters do attempt to mount hens against their will, on a regular basis. Because their sexual relations are not penetrative (completely different reproductive organs than ducks), there are no internal injuries to the females.

And, as I said above, anyone who has lived a long time with dogs and/or cats and has been observant of their behavior will have seen firsthand that just because a dog or cat has been neutered at a young age will not necessarily mean that an individual will not attempt to forcibly mount another individual, also spayed/neutered. Sexual urges are strong, and, depending on the individual, survive early neutering.
I specifically wrote "non-human mammals," not wishing to generalize to birds. Also, and how the heck were you supposed to keep track, I actually edited the "it's not gonna happen" out of my post. I get there are exceptions. I understand, for example, that tom cats have been observed to kill a kitten by mounting it, but that this is an aberration (the mother cats normally get pretty fearsome when their litters are messed with). It's true that with animals, as with humans, sexual domination can be more about the domination than about the sex. But when a dog mounts another dog outside of mating with a female in heat, is it actually penetrating and inseminating? I thought they were just sparring and establishing dominance. Man, so many scenes I should've broken up instead of letting them play out!

I don't know whether a cow experiences that grope as traumatic or merely annoying, or neither. A good example of why I believe it would be good to measure indications of stress right before and right after.

I don't know whether it's consensual or not, but when a wild goose's clutch of eggs is analyzed, her gander mate is the biological father of only about 40 percent of them. It's gotta be true, I heard it on NPR. :-)

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Originally Posted by no whey jose View Post
Regarding insemination, my understanding of the standard practice is that the cow is restrained while a human arm is shoved elbow-deep into the cow's anus to manipulate the cervix while another with a syringe of semen is inserted into the vagina. I cannot imagine that experience being anything but traumatic, and I don't think that's anthropomorphizing! Artificial insemination is nothing like mating, and even the experience of mating among animals can be violent and nonconsentual.
An arm up a cow's rectum is a routine part of large-animal veterinary care. It's apparently not the trauma it sounds like. What bothers me about laying human concepts like rape on nonhuman animals is that it trivializes the experience of human rape while lacking most of the factors that make rape such a grave transgression. Understood that not every girl or woman faces all the social baggage that can attach to sexual assault. Not to belittle the social and emotional lives of non-sapient animals, but they aren't self conscious about anything, and specifically not about nakedness. They don't experience shame, or loss of virginity as cultural currency. They don’t fear the possibility of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, stigmatization, or being blamed for attracting unwanted attention, or losing their ability to respond sexually to males. I'm not writing here to defend any practice attached to breeding food animals. But I don’t think this issue is likely to resonate with the public as a source of animal suffering. Veterinary video footage of cows yawning their way through the procedure would just make us look overwrought.

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#53 Old 01-20-2016, 07:42 AM
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I specifically wrote "non-human mammals," not wishing to generalize to birds. Also, and how the heck were you supposed to keep track, I actually edited the "it's not gonna happen" out of my post. I get there are exceptions. I understand, for example, that tom cats have been observed to kill a kitten by mounting it, but that this is an aberration (the mother cats normally get pretty fearsome when their litters are messed with). It's true that with animals, as with humans, sexual domination can be more about the domination than about the sex. But when a dog mounts another dog outside of mating with a female in heat, is it actually penetrating and inseminating? I thought they were just sparring and establishing dominance. Man, so many scenes I should've broken up instead of letting them play out!

I don't know whether a cow experiences that grope as traumatic or merely annoying, or neither. A good example of why I believe it would be good to measure indications of stress right before and right after.

I don't know whether it's consensual or not, but when a wild goose's clutch of eggs is analyzed, her gander mate is the biological father of only about 40 percent of them. It's gotta be true, I heard it on NPR. :-)



An arm up a cow's rectum is a routine part of large-animal veterinary care. It's apparently not the trauma it sounds like. What bothers me about laying human concepts like rape on nonhuman animals is that it trivializes the experience of human rape while lacking most of the factors that make rape such a grave transgression. Understood that not every girl or woman faces all the social baggage that can attach to sexual assault. Not to belittle the social and emotional lives of non-sapient animals, but they aren't self conscious about anything, and specifically not about nakedness. They don't experience shame, or loss of virginity as cultural currency. They don’t fear the possibility of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, stigmatization, or being blamed for attracting unwanted attention, or losing their ability to respond sexually to males. I'm not writing here to defend any practice attached to breeding food animals. But I don’t think this issue is likely to resonate with the public as a source of animal suffering. Veterinary video footage of cows yawning their way through the procedure would just make us look overwrought.
While I understand your perspective, I disagree. The factors you mention are all valid experiences not to be dismissed, but their absence doesn't render rape anything less than rape. A sleeping victim, a very young victim, a victim with severe mental disabilities, or a non-human victim is as much a victim as any other. I don't find it at all disrespectful to human victims of sexual assault to extend our compassion to dairy cows. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I am deeply offended by the casual way we can dismiss the experience of ANY female who's being sexually exploited. I think that it's easy and convenient to assume that cows don't suffer during artificial insemination, but that doesn't make it accurate-- and even if it were accurate, the exploitation of another woman's reproductive system in this way should be enough, at least, to dissuade anyone with an interest in feminism from ever drinking milk. I think we do women a great disservice if we suggest that someone isn't a "true" victim unless she meets certain mental, emotional, or social criteria.
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#54 Old 01-20-2016, 08:17 AM
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While I understand your perspective, I disagree. The factors you mention are all valid experiences not to be dismissed, but their absence doesn't render rape anything less than rape. A sleeping victim, a very young victim, a victim with severe mental disabilities, or a non-human victim is as much a victim as any other. I don't find it at all disrespectful to human victims of sexual assault to extend our compassion to dairy cows. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I am deeply offended by the casual way we can dismiss the experience of ANY female who's being sexually exploited. I think that it's easy and convenient to assume that cows don't suffer during artificial insemination, but that doesn't make it accurate-- and even if it were accurate, the exploitation of another woman's reproductive system in this way should be enough, at least, to dissuade anyone with an interest in feminism from ever drinking milk. I think we do women a great disservice if we suggest that someone isn't a "true" victim unless she meets certain mental, emotional, or social criteria.
We won't be agreeing on this, but you make some good points. One other line of stress factors I didn't mention is physical injury, fear of injury and fear of imminent death. A non-sapient animal undoubtedly realizes when "resistance is futile," but that's not the same as "shut up or I'll kill you." Especially if the animal is in heat. Absent the stress factors I've enumerated, a victim of coerced mating or molestation certainly would be less of a victim in that she would be far less traumatized, though her rapist would rightly be held culpable. Again, in the fight for public support, all the industry needs to fight this line of attack is video footage of a placid cow calmly undergoing the rather rapid process of insemination. Plus some voice-over about the relative physical safety of insemination in contrast to being transported to and mounted by an excited bull. The insemination/rape analogy wouldn't have convinced me when I was an omnivore, it wasn't what convinced me to step off milk, it would have made it take longer. Because it would have made me think vegan animal advocates lack all sense of proportion. I know better than that, but I've done a lot of work in communications and every aspect of this tactic feels utterly futile to me. It feels more like an example of why Gary Francine hasn't had much luck recruiting feminists.

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#55 Old 01-20-2016, 11:23 AM
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That's interesting, because my viewpoint is almost exactly opposite yours. It's inconceivable to me that a feminist could not be outraged by the dairy industry. To me, an attempt to elevate human suffering over that of another betrays a true lack of proportion, a belief that OUR pain is somehow more pure or more deserving of attention simply because it's ours. I don't know precisely what it's like to be a dairy cow. I can never know, but when it comes to determining whether or not it's an act of sexual assault to forcibly impregnate a female who can't consent, I think it's reasonable to err on the side of caution.
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#56 Old 01-20-2016, 12:22 PM
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I don't know precisely what it's like to be a dairy cow. I can never know, but when it comes to determining whether or not it's an act of sexual assault to forcibly impregnate a female who can't consent, I think it's reasonable to err on the side of caution.
I did not come over to Vegan Support to argue otherwise, but to point to where I think tactical problems lie in using the insemination/rape analogy with the public. Have you had some success in turning feminist friends away from dairy with this rape line of rhetoric? I don't need proof or evidence; I'll just take your word for it. I admire cows, I just don't identify with them. They seem to take a lot of things in stride that I couldn't, which is why I don't imagine myself in their place. Never mind insemination: The whole being-a-cow thing lost me all the way back with having to stand around in the wind and the weather.
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#57 Old 01-20-2016, 12:37 PM
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I don't have any feminist friends who AREN'T vegan or at least considering veganism, so it's hard to say. In the last few days, since posting the status I wrote in response to the #MilkTruth campaign, three people have contacted me for advice on cutting down on their milk consumption. I didn't use the word "rape" in that post, but I did stress the fact that dairy cows are forced to give birth to one calf a year and that half of those calves are killed for veal. I don't know what moves other people to drop dairy. I do know that, personally, the sexual exploitation of dairy was a big reason why I couldn't keep drinking it. I suppose that we all have our own motivations.

ETA: Having given it some thought, I think that a good analogy to use would be a child who is too young to harbour inhibitions or to feel shame, who has an underdeveloped brain and an inability to understand what's happening to her. I can't think of any circumstance where it would be even remotely acceptable for someone to manipulate her genitals in any way aside from necessary cleaning or medical procedures, even if she herself couldn't tell the difference. It doesn't seem to matter, ethically, that the victim understands what is happening. What matters is the intent, the purposeful abuse of power. Does that make sense?

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#58 Old 01-20-2016, 01:12 PM
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Here's why to me the intent of the actor matters less than the effect of the action on the subject. Talk to any "good Christian dairyman," or beef rancher, or any religiously observant person who raises living beings for slaughter, and they say this: "Our relationship to animals is analogous to God's relationship to us. God has dominion over us, the way I have dominion over my cattle. God brings us into life, takes good care of us, and takes us out of life again. That's how I treat my animals; they're not people, they don't have souls, and they're not pets, but they deserve to be treated humanely, fed regularly, protected from predators and from the elements because that's what good stewards do." You might gag at the stench on a dairy farm (I trashed the clothes I'd worn last time I toured one), be horrified at some of what you see and hear, and you could point to many jaw-droopingly unpleasant practices, plus the fact that they raise animals to kill. However, that inseminator is not getting off sexually as would a rapist, but is working to bring new beings into life. A rapist acts with evil intent, against his upbringing and against his own conscience if he has one. Not so with the dairy farmers. Those guys are acting in good faith, bringing what they believe is a needed food commodity to the world.

I can try to re-find and post some papers on raising veal, and about keeping a small family dairy. Not because I endorse what they're doing, but because they are a reliable source of information about veal trends and insemination processes. People are a lot more candid when they're not busy defending themselves and what they do for a living.

The landscape is changing about numbers. You wrote of the "fact that half of those calves are killed for veal." Not so much these days, as I alluded to several posts ago. A dairy will keep only a few of the female calves as replacements for the ones that will be culled that year, so most of the female calves are destined for beef or veal like their brothers are. But anymore it's more for beef and less for veal. Fifteen to twenty percent of beef cattle were born to dairy cows and auctioned off (or sold directly to customers) as one-day-old calves. Then bottle-fed, then pastured, then the feedlot, then the slaughterhouse. Just like the calves born to beef cows, except for the bottle-feeding part. Veal producers today say they have a lot of competition from ranchers for those day-old dairy calves. Which changes our narrative as we explain why we object to the dairy industry, if we want to keep up with shifts in how that industry operates. That "fifteen to twenty percent" number is significant, because there are only about twenty percent as many cattle born at dairies as there are born on beef ranches. Which would indicate most of those day-old calves are going to ranches, not veal pens. What isn't changing of course is that pretty much every cow or steer born into the food system leaves this world by way of the slaughterhouse. But it does look like our narrative should adapt to incorporate recent trends.

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#59 Old 01-21-2016, 02:14 AM
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I got the 50% figure directly from the website of the Veal Farmers' Association of Ontario, not from AR literature. Maybe it varies according to country. Either way, I don't see the difference between slaughtering an animal for meat immediately or a couple of years later. I don't understand why that would change anything. All cows are slaughtered young.

Whatever a farmer might say about his motivation for raising dairy cows, we all know-- as does he-- that his real motivation is profit. Milk is a business and it's quite literally cutthroat. I don't buy for a minute that picturesque scene of a humble, pious farmer tending to his animals with quiet respect. It's a lie that we tell ourselves to distract us from the reality that the vast, vast, vast majority of milk available for consumption comes from large, industrial dairy farms and that even the small family farms which remain exist for one purpose only: to make money.
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#60 Old 01-21-2016, 05:26 AM
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I got the 50% figure directly from the website of the Veal Farmers' Association of Ontario, not from AR literature. Maybe it varies according to country. Either way, I don't see the difference between slaughtering an animal for meat immediately or a couple of years later. I don't understand why that would change anything. All cows are slaughtered young.

Whatever a farmer might say about his motivation for raising dairy cows, we all know-- as does he-- that his real motivation is profit. Milk is a business and it's quite literally cutthroat. I don't buy for a minute that picturesque scene of a humble, pious farmer tending to his animals with quiet respect. It's a lie that we tell ourselves to distract us from the reality that the vast, vast, vast majority of milk available for consumption comes from large, industrial dairy farms and that even the small family farms which remain exist for one purpose only: to make money.
First of all, yes. All cows are slaughtered young.

The point of that “good Shepherd/good steward" schpiel isn’t to say these are wonderful people (to my mind genuinely pious does not necessarily equate to authentically good), but that they lack the evil intent of a rapist. And of course these dairymen are motivated by profit. That goes without saying. We’re all trying to make money, but we also want to feel good about what we do. You’re mistaken if you think dairy operators can’t honestly believe they’re contributing in a positive way to the needs of this world. I can disagree profoundly with them about the value of that contribution, but I can also take a farmer’s word about what keeps him in that line of work. Dairy operators believe their product is wholesome. They eat cheese, and they feed milk to their own children. Anyway, the point of bringing up the schpiel goes right to intent. The rapist has no such positive schpiel. There are valid reasons why a rapist’s intent is nearly always seen as evil and antisocial, whereas the inseminator’s intent is nearly always seen as positive and pro-social. Please keep in mind that I brought this up because you pointed to intent as being more significant than effect in your inseminator/rape analogy.

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