Animal Equality India Launches 'Deadly Dairy' Documentary
Animal Equality recently went undercover to film the truth about the practices and the reality of the dairy industry and its impact on the animals. While most of us know of the horrors, there are still many who don't. There is never a moment in life to stop learning, and documentaries like these are not only eye-opening but educate those who don't know the truth or who have been turning a blind eye to this barbaric cruelty. Amruta Ubale, for Animal Equality, has written an incredible article on the finding from their investigation. Here is what she had to say:
HORRIFIC FACTS ABOUT DAIRY WHICH WERE NEVER TOLD TO US
Most of us start or end our day with a glass of milk, knowing very little about how milk is produced. Now a documentary titled, ‘Deadly Dairy’ highlights the entire process of dairy production. It was released on National Milk Day by Animal Equality which is known for its groundbreaking undercover investigations, effective legal advocacy, and create awareness programs.
The documentary is an outcome of Animal Equality’s two-year investigation covering small, medium and large dairies in nine states across India. Top newspapers like Times of India and media channels like Times Now have shown the findings of the investigation and footage. This is one of the very few times the terrifying plight of 'farmed' animals has been exposed on national media.
Animal Equality visited 107 dairy farms, 2 semen collection centers, 11 cattle markets, 8 slaughterhouses, 7 meat markets and 5 tanneries covering all the cruelties inflicted on dairy animals, from birth to slaughter.
Reproduction in dairy does not take place through natural mating anymore. 100% of the dairy farms covered in the study used artificial insemination, irrespective of its size. At semen collection centers, bulls are unnaturally made to mate with other bulls known as ‘teasers’, who are made submissive 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, called artificial insemination, is repeated year after year.
Fate of newborn
100% of the dairy farms had calves tied away from their mothers. In some cases, they were tied away immediately after birth. This is done to ensure that calves do not drink any milk.
In 100% of the dairy farms, male calves are either sold for slaughter or starved to death as they do not produce milk and add to the cost of the dairy owner. Dairy farmers have accepted this practice on record in the study. Female calves are fed milk formulas and eventually, they replace the older female animals and are subjected to the same cruel cycle.
When the calf is taken away, a cow will mourn the loss. She withholds milk, as she only wants to nurse her young. Dead calves are stuffed with hay to trick the mother into thinking it’s her baby.
When this doesn’t work, dairy workers use the illegal drug, ‘oxytocin’. It is a common misconception that this drug increases milk output; all it does is expand the muscle thereby releasing the milk. Oxytocin induces labor-like pains and is known to harm the reproductive cycle of animals thereby reducing their life expectancy. And the consumption of milk from animals injected with oxytocin is known to cause severe hormonal imbalances among its consumers.
Dairy animals do not receive any exercise whatsoever. They are tethered with short ropes all their lives forcing them to sit in their own feces and urine. Some dairy farmers have gone on record saying that the animals don’t need any exercise.
The animals are often brutally hit with sticks or chains, punched, kicked and subjected to sexual abuse as workers shove their fingers inside the cows’ sensitive genitals or pinch their genitals.
There is no veterinary doctor on board and many of the dairy owners self-medicate the animals in order to save costs. Many animals were seen with injuries or suffering from untreated diseases.
Some of the owners resort to abandoning the sick animals, which makes the animals susceptible to accidents, acid attacks, consumption of garbage containing plastic, paralysis, etc.
A lesser-known fact is that animals raised for dairy are ultimately sold for meat. Earlier animals who stopped producing milk were sold for slaughter but more than 75% of the dairies sell their animals even when their production declines by 1-2 liters.
Cattle markets meant for sale of agricultural bulls and dairy animals often facilitate the sale of unproductive animals and newborn male calves for slaughter. More than 30 animals were stuffed in a truck which should not carry more than 6 animals as per the Transport Rules 1978. The men shove sticks or fingers in animals’ genitals, rub chilly in their eyes, twist break the tails to make them submissive.
At the slaughterhouses, the butchers fail to kill the animals in one slit. They repeatedly slit the animal’s throat resulting in severe shock. It’s a routine act to kill an animal in full view of others waiting in the queue. It is also noticed that the animals are alive while they are skinned.
Some meat shops in Kerala practice barbaric ‘hammer slaughter’ where the animal is repeatedly bludgeoned with a hammer on the head till the animal falls unconscious.
Dairy, meat and leather are three sides of a triangle. Beef and leather industries are dependent on dairies for their supply. This is how, even if you don’t eat meat or wear leather, consuming dairy fuels this cycle of brutality.
And it’s not just the animals that the industry is cruel to, but also the workers, many of which are employed illegally -- as they’re just children. Animal Equality documented at least one child under 18 years working in every tannery and slaughterhouse visited.
Both children and adult workers from these places are underpaid and not given the required facilities, working environment or medical treatments. Because of the nature of their job they are forced to work with diseased animals in dairies making them susceptible to diseases.
India has more than 327 million cattle. It may seem that cattle are protected but they are subjected to this torture every day. Cattle generally live up to 15-25 years but because of all these cruelties, their bodies begin to deteriorate at the age of 4-5.
From birth to their deaths, the dairy production cycle is rife with animal abuse. Knowingly, or unknowingly, we as consumers are contributing to the sexual abuse, torture and ultimately, the death of innocent animals. Is all of this worth it just for a glass of milk?
It is, for this reason, many people across the world, including India, are eliminating milk and milk products from their diet and replacing it with plant-based alternatives derived from coconut, almond, soy, rice, oats and cashew milk.
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