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Reveals the hidden cost of dairy

Each day we find little moments of joy in sips of tea, scoops of ice-cream, or in a bite of our favorite mithai, but little do we know about their source. Could these fleeting joyous moments mean only pain and suffering to somebody? In a country like India where vegetarianism is widely known and practiced, many relate meat with cruelty and killing. Did you know that there are people who don't consume milk at all and their numbers are increasing. Now you would wonder why? because animals are not killed for milk? Well, you may think that way but the reality is far from it. Let's meet the real source of milk- Dairy Animals.

Animal Equality conducted an investigation covering small, medium and large dairies across the different states of the entire country. The facts presented here are standard practices in all kinds of dairies in villages and cities.

Did you know??

Cows and buffalos are intelligent and sentient animals. Every animal has a distinct personality. Just like us, they feel various emotions like love, fear, pain and joy. Advertisers make us falsely believe that dairy animals live happily with their babies and we just take a portion of their milk. But the reality is no way closer to this, they are abused, their babies are taken away from them and they are made to go through a never-ending cycle of cruelty.

The cruel dairy

Conceiving
The dairy animals are made to reproduce not through natural mating but through artificial insemination (AI). AI is practiced on a large scale in dairies of all sizes. The process involves collecting semen from bulls by unnaturally mating them with other bulls known as ‘teasers’, who are raised to be docile by cruel means like beating.
Semen collected from such tormented bulls is inserted into the uterus of the female animal, often by inexperienced men with unsterile equipment in unhygienic conditions. This process is repeated year after year until her body finally gives up.
New born's fate
The male calves are of no use to the owner and are therefore sold for slaughter or starved till death. This is a very common practice among dairies irrespective of their size. The female calf is often ill-fed and kept away from her mother. Colostrum, the first milk which is essential to a baby for building the foundation of immunity, is also taken away from them and sold to humans. It is a common to see crying mothers and calves in dairies.
Milking
Workers allow the calf to suckle just enough to the get the mother to release the milk, and then the calf is brutally pulled and tied away. The separation of the baby from the mother makes her withhold the milk. To counter this, the dairy owners use an illegal hormone called Oxytocin or stuff the dead calf's head or body with hay to make the mother falsely believe that it's her baby.
Ritual cruelty
Just like us, these innocent animals feel fear and pain; they want to be safe from harm and injury. But at dairies, they are often brutally hit with sticks, punched and chained so tight that they can barely move. Because of such short tethers, they are forced to sit and sleep in their own faeces. We found that sexual abuse-pinching sensitive genitals is the most common way of making the animals submissive.
No medical care
In order to save costs, the dairy owners do not provide the required medical care for animals. The common conditions like Mastitis, Foot and mouth infections, vaginal infections are left untreated many times. Injuries from nose-roping, hitting and milking are considered trivial! Some of the owners even resort to abandoning the sick animals which makes them susceptible to accidents, attacks and consumption of garbage containing plastic.
Sale
A cow/buffalo's average lifespan is 15-20 years; because of all these cruelties, their body begins to deteriorate at 4-5 years. As she grows weak, her milk production declines; such animal is considered as a loss and sold for the slaughter. Agents of slaughterhouse hover around dairies frequently to check on unproductive animals. Whilst making these deals, the value of meat as well as the hide is considered. In our investigation interviews, many farmers blatantly accepted the sale of animals for slaughter.
Transport
Each animal now faces a dangerous journey to the slaughterhouse. Just before loading them onto the trucks, they are milked one last time to ensure not a drop goes to waste. To make them submissive while loading, handlers use brutal means like twisting tails, shoving sticks into the sensitive genitals or rubbing chilly in their eyes. Their neck and legs are tied together and they are stuffed over each other so that not a single square foot space goes for waste. They are made to travel in such conditions for days without any food or water. Some die even before reaching the slaughterhouse.
Slaughtered
Once these animals reach the slaughterhouse, they are brutally pulled out and aligned in queues. Often it's workers, not the veterinary doctors who mark animals as ‘fit for slaughter’, despite they being sick and injured. They're brutally killed, where the animal is slammed on the floor and throat is slit several times, In certain regions they practice 'hammer slaughter' which involves bludgeoning animal's head repeatedly with a sledgehammer. It is also noticed that the animals are alive while they are skinned. The living animals are made to watch this torture, waiting for their turn while their companions are being slaughtered. The workers are seen cracking jokes and laughing while they slaughter the animals.
Dairy
Meat
Leather
Dairy=Meat=Leather
Your choice makes a difference

Dairy, meat and leather industry are interdependent. The dairy industry churns out a large number of unproductive animals for slaughter every day, which in turn helps the meat and leather trade thrive. When an animal is sold to the butcher the value of both the meat as well as the hide (skin) is taken into consideration.

You can help these animals by replacing dairy products with plant based alternatives

Brief report on investigaion

Animal Equality conducted an investigation covering small, medium and large dairies across the different states of the entire country. The facts presented here are standard practices in all kinds of dairies in villages and cities.

Types of dairies covered:

Dairy, meat and leather

There is no such thing as beef cattle in India as in other countries where cattle are specifically raised for beef. Therefore dairy, meat and leather industry are interdependent. As per the United States Department of Agriculture's report , there were 327,300,000 dairy animals in India in 2013. The dairy industry provides large number of unproductive animals for slaughter everyday. For e.g. in 2013 42,100,000 cattle were slaughtered in India. Through this report we've documented how the meat and leather industry is heavily dependent on the dairy industry for its supply.

Other areas covered

  • Transport of animals to cattle markets
  • Sale of animals for slaughter at the cattle markets
  • Slaughter of animals at legal and illegal slaughterhouses
  • Illegal ways of slaughter
  • Tanneries

Geographical coverage of the dairy investigation

Investigation details

In total 107 dairy farms, 2 semen collection centres, 11 cattle markets, 8 slaughterhouses, 7 meat markets and 5 tanneries, situated in different parts of the country were documented by Animal Equality. The dairy animals which were documented were buffaloes and cattle.

Findings of the investigation in brief
1.Reproduction
2.Milk production