The Australian dairy industry kills almost half a million calves every year so that their mothers’ milk can be sold to humans. Many are sent to the abattoir when they’re just 5 days old, or they’re shot in the head so that farmers don’t have to spend money on transporting them.
Alarmingly, there’s another way in which farmers “dispose” of newborn calves – bludgeoning them to death with hammers.
This is what the industry calls “blunt force trauma”, and it’s listed on the Queensland Government’s website as a “humane” way to kill premature and day-old calves.
The site describes the method as follows:
“It requires a single firm blow to the front of the poll … with a heavy blunt instrument. A short-handled club hammer approximately 1.2 kg with a striking face of 4 cm x 4 cm is suitable.”
Dairy Australia’s “Animal Husbandry Survey 2016” states that a quarter of farmers still use blunt-force trauma to kill calves.
PETA’s exposé of the Australian dairy industry captured footage of this horrific practice. One calf was hit on the head seven times with a hammer but was still seen moving two minutes later.
No glass of milk, slice of cheese, or scoop of ice cream is worth bludgeoning a calf to death.
Cows make milk for the same reason that humans do: to feed their babies. Female cows are inseminated on devices called “rape racks” and spend their lives enduring one pregnancy after another so that their milk is always flowing – but they never get to share any of it with their babies.
Some female calves are kept alive so that they can replace their young but already-spent mothers in the production line. Because male calves are useless to dairy farmers, they’re taken from their mothers when they’re less than a day old. Many are confined to pens, longing for the comfort of their mothers, until they’re packed into trucks bound for the abattoir to be made into veal. Calves who are deemed “unprofitable” are killed with all manner of weapons, including firearms, captive-bolt guns, and, of course, hammers.
The only way you can be sure that no animal suffered for your food is to eat vegan. And with more plant-based milks, ice creams, and cheeses available on supermarket shelves, it’s never been easier to be kind to cows.