Jain Study Center of North Carolina (Raleigh)
I visited a dairy farm located on Route 2 north of
Burlington, Vermont (USA) in May of 1995.
The dairy owns approximately 150 cows.
All of its milk production is used to make ice cream.
Here is the summary of what I saw and learnt:
It was milking time (5:00 PM) and the cows were
being milked in 3.5 minutes each by a machine. This is done without
how hard it is on the cow. It was
extremely difficult to watch the cows' sufferings during the milking.
The machine has no feeling. To extract the last drop of milk sometimes
traces of blood get mixed with the milk.
Every morning hormones or drugs are injected into
the cows to increase their milk yield.
Since cows produce the most milk after pregnancy,
they are kept pregnant for their entire fertile life through artificial
The gestation period of cow is 9 months same as
human does. If a male calf, of no use to
the dairy industry, is born, he is shipped to the veal industry within two or
three days of birth. The evening I was
there, the farm was shipping three baby calves in a truck to a veal factory. The mother cows were crying when their babies
were separated from them. I cannot
forget the scene and can still hear the cries of the mother cows.
The veal industry is the most cruel meat industry
in the world. It produces very tender
meat that is considered a delicacy. The
baby calves are raised in darkness in a very confining crate, which allows
practically no movements. They are fed
an iron-deficient diet. This way the
meat gets very tender and properly textured.
They slaughter the baby calves after six months. There is much literature available about
cruelty in the veal industry.
Within two months of delivery, the cows are
impregnated again. I did not have the
stamina to watch the process of artificial insemination that the farm was
About four to five times a year, this farm would
take the cows outside for a walk.
Otherwise, the cows are tied in one place and they have no choice but to
defecate where they are confined. It
badly stunk when I was there; the farm would wash the confinement areas once or
twice a day, and the remaining times the cows would live in their own waste.
The life expectancy of cows is about 15 years. However, after about 4 to 5 years, their milk
production capacity drops significantly so these cows are sent to the
slaughterhouse for cheap meat which is used in fast food restaurants, hot dog
filler, dog & cat food and a variety of other "foodstuffs". The rest of the body material (by products)
turns up in the products like floor wax, pet food, medicines, insulin, gelatin,
footwear, upholstery, taco filling, cosmetics, candles, and soaps.
During her fertile life, cow delivers about four
babies. Statistically only one female
baby is needed to replace the existing cow.
Hence all other babies (males or females) are sent to veal industry
where they are tortured for six months and then slaughtered for the meat
As I learned and observed the cruelty in the dairy
industry, I at first found it hard to believe.
On a personal level, I feared that it would be impossible for me to give
up the dairy products and become vegan (absolutely no animal product). How could I eliminate milk, yogurt, butter,
ghee, and cheese from my diet? To become
vegan means that I cannot drink tea with milk, eat any Indian sweets, pizza,
milk chocolate, ice cream, eggless but dairy-containing cake, and many other
At this time I remembered my daughter Shilpa’s (who
became vegan few months prior to my visit) word, “Dad, cows' milk is for baby
cows and not for humans or their babies. No other animal consumes the milk of another
species. We do not have the right to
consume the milk of other animals for our benefit by exploiting and torturing
them. Furthermore milk and its products
are not essential for our survival or for healthy life”.
However, needless to say, the dairy farm tour made me an