Just like humans, cows form strong maternal bonds with their babies and would go to great lengths to protect them. So you can imagine how helpless and desperate this cow must have felt after being separated from her calves and watching as they were driven away.
According to the New Zealand organization SAFE, the tear-jerking video was sent to it by a concerned citizen. It’s unclear where the babies are headed. SAFE noted in its Facebook post that in New Zealand, up to 2 million calves—just days old—are sent to slaughter as “wastage.”
Separating mums from their calves is how the dairy industry operates.
On dairy farms, cows are forcibly impregnated in order to get them to produce milk. Their young are taken away from them—typically days after birth—so that humans can drink their milk instead. Some mother cows have been heard calling for their calves for days after these traumatic separations occur.
If their babies aren’t slaughtered immediately, the females are doomed to lead the same lives as their mothers, while the males are sold into the veal industry—where they’ll spend the rest of their short, miserable lives chained up and malnourished.
Without human intervention, calves suckle from their mothers for nearly a year. One veterinary study revealed that “during natural weaning there is never complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. In fact, the … cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship.”
Cows used by the dairy industry are typically killed after about five years—well short of their natural life expectancy—because their bodies break down from a life of continual pregnancy and lactation.
Cows are intelligent, sensitive animals who feel pain and fear just as dogs and cats do.
Humans have known for some time that cows are individuals who express a full range of personality traits, such as shyness, boldness, bossiness, and sociability. They exchange relevant information with one another and mourn the deaths of their friends.
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