A holocaust is taking place in your backyard. I am not exaggerating, i am not scaremongering, i am not being melodramatic or “green”. And i am not being disrespectful. Prior to writing this article, i didn’t know that my idea of cows milk was very naive and largely based on pure propaganda, fed to me from the day i was born in Holland; a country possibly more crazy about dairying than New Zealand: you feed the cow, you milk the cow, the milk goes in the bottle, the bottle comes to town (or is exported overseas). O, yes, and: milk is good for humans.

I am only just finding out that these are all myths to keep the dairying machine pumping. It is tempting to assume that cows must be kept healthy and happy or else they wouldn’t survive to continue to give milk. But that is equally naive as thinking that those who did survive years of torture, hunger, slave labour and maltreatment in concentration camps had their wellbeing and welfare looked after. Their survival is simply a testimony to the awesome resilience of the Force of Life, triumphing against all odds. In the case of any holocaust the odds being systematical, intentionally inflicted suffering of defenseless, living, breathing creatures, ending in callous slaughter.

For most of her life, a cow will be kept pregnant and milked. After giving birth, she will continue to be milked for 10 months – but will be made pregnant again within 3 months. Only for the final few weeks of pregnancy she will be “dried out” (stop being milked) and her overworked udder given a rest. “Dairy cows” never have the opportunity to raise any of their babies. Yet, the bond between a cow and her calf is very strong. Taking away a calf is greatly distressing for both mother and baby. They cry and search for each other for quite some time. Every farmer knows this. Without human intervention calves will suckle their mothers for nearly a year. During natural weaning there is never a complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. The cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship. Read More →