Induction, Murder and a Glass of Milk

June 20, 2010

There is a technique commonly used in New Zealand called Induction. Induction has been in use here for about 40 years and has become common practice. It is a process to get late calving cows to calve up to ten weeks earlier than they naturally would.

The process involves an injection of long acting corticosteroid which fools the cows into getting ready to calve; in a normal pregnancy corticosteroids are released by a calf as it is approaching maturity. A second injection two weeks later causes the cow to calve.

A cow is induced to birth her calf prematurely, thereby increasing her milking season, ie more money. The cows are all injected at the same time and I have been informed that in the Waikato it is not unusual to do mobs of 50 cows at a time. In the South Island with bigger herd sizes there could easily be over 100 cows induced at one time.

The calves either die before birth, die of prematurity and/or exposure or they’re killed in the paddock. The estimate is this is done to around 200,000 calves a year in New Zealand.

Watch this video and decide – Is this humane? Is this acceptable for just an economic benefit to farmers? Is this acceptable for a glass of milk?

The comment from this person who took with this video was “This video was taken on a farm I work on. I just can’t stand by and see this horror and pretend NZ dairy farming is clean and green. When actually it is the opposite. These calves were from induced cows, meaning they were injected by a vet to hurry the process of calving and to mainly get milk from the cow to make money. These calfs were all killed or had died at birth and will be used for pet food. This is the ugly face of some New Zealand dairy farms.”

This procedure is little known by the public and not commonly used overseas and would very much affect New Zealand’s dairy reputation, so the industry does have some motivation for stopping it. It is time to raise awareness of this practice as the dairy industry is revising their Code for Inductions this October. 


Shaking Up A Cow

June 16, 2010

I have just finished watching the TV1 late news and there was an article regarding a farmer who was banned for selling his fizzy milk at Waikato Field Days this week due to coca cola having the rights to sell their fizzy milk.

I probably would have let this news clip pass if it wasn’t for a couple of comments made both during and after the item.

One man interviewed at the Field Day said that it was a shame that the farmer was banned as he had put blood, sweat and tears into it. WHO has put the blood, sweat and tears into it? The cows and their babies, that’s who. Not the farmer who is running a profitable business on the exploitation, death and suffering of what he perceives as ‘his commodities’.

Then after the clip the TV1 news presenter made a really silly comment “Shaking up a cow, who would have thought of it!” Shaking up a cow? There is rather a lot more to it than that, if only he knew. And that in itself is the problem, if only he knew, and others too, of the truth behind what is in a glass of milk from a dairy cow.

And why fizzy milk? – cola flavoured fizzy milk? – to get kids to drink more milk, that’s why cola flavoured fizzy milk. What! – do they think that putting two really bad drinks together is going to miraculously make a healthy drink? Dairy cow milk is not needed in our diet, it does more harm than good and those that are suggesting children drink it to get calcium should really look into what milk from another species does to the health of a human. There are far better options available for maintaining a well-balanced calcium level without resorting to reliance on an industry (the dairy industry) that not only hides the truth but is perpetuating the death and suffering of thousands of cows and their babies for financial greed.

Refer to a previous post which details what is really involved in getting milk from a cow.

And visit the website NZ Dairy Cruelty for information on how drinking milk harms cows. There is also other extremely valuable and informative information on this site, so while there, browse around.


But I Eat Free Range Eggs

June 7, 2010

I tell people I am vegan and they might say “but what about eggs, do you eat them?”, I then explain that a vegan does not eat eggs from exploited chickens and they might respond with something like “well, I only eat eggs that are free range”. I am left to wonder if there are many people who realise that by eating free range eggs they are still contributing to the mistreatment and slaughter of millions of innocent lives, the lives of sentient beings (they feel).

Now, by choosing to eat free range eggs it tells me that these people do have a conscience about where their food comes from – they obviously care enough not to eat eggs from battery hens. It also tells me that they do not know the full truth. Unfortunately, we have become so far removed from where our food comes from and what happens in the process for it to get to our plate that we just automatically believe what is told to us, a fairy-tale image of happy hens in open paddocks laying eggs whenever they feel like it.

Unlike the image that free range means something like the photo above, here is the truth:

There are no standards in New Zealand regarding free range. So what does that mean? What does free range mean anyway? All it means is that they are not in a small cage. Nothing more. It means that some still never see the light of day. It means that they can still be kept in cramped conditions. It means that they still go to the slaughterhouse on an assembly line chain just like the battery hens. It means that millions of day-old chicks are discarded simply because they are born the ‘wrong’ sex or not ‘egg-laying’ condition.

Just like the battery hens these so-called free range girls go to slaughter when their egg production takes a decline. And to replace these hens after going to slaughter? More females have to be born. The gender ratio is roughly 50/50 from hatched eggs, so what happens to the baby boys? Well, on the first or second day of birth they get sexed, by someone who inserts their finger (you know where) to determine if they are a boy or girl. The boys and the girls deemed not suitable for egg laying are then discarded, some gassed with the likes of carbon dioxide, some appallingly get fed into crushers – alive. Into giant mincers they are stripped of limbs and wings and crushed. Both methods are horrid, horrid thing to do. So this means that for every hen that becomes an egg-layer just over one chick had to die.

The female chicks are not raised by their mothers (who I might add are wonderful mothers) they are raised in artificial incubators, with artificial light and heat and many commercial incubators holding tens of thousands of eggs at a time, with rotation of the eggs a fully automated process.

At about 21 days after being layed they hatch and are then ready for the outside world – a world of artificial light and artificial food, sexed and sorted and if ‘kept’ generally debeaked at around 10-days-old. Debeaking is done without any painkiller and is an extremely painful experience. Why do they get debeaked? Because under stress they peck each other. You might think that if they peck each other then they should be debeaked, wrong, if they are not living under stress they quickly establish a ‘pecking-order’ and no longer need to take out their depression on others. Given room, natural food and a good life there is no need for depression, hence, no reason for pecking, hence, no reason for debeaking.

These little girls are then raised until their egg production starts at which point they could be fed chemicals to make their egg yolk look more golden and to make them lay more often. They then lay on average up to 300 eggs within that year, pumping them out. So think about it, one hen works for just under 12-days to supply a dozen eggs.

They are still young (12-months) when they naturally go through a short moulting period at which time their egg production declines. The cost of feeding, and the non-generating-of-income means that they do not get to wait for their moult to finish before egg production comes back, they are sent to the slaughterhouse. Still young, still in their prime. Hens, depending on the breed, will live from five to about ten years of age, they go to the slaughterhouse at one.

With thanks to http://www.nzeggs.webs.com/ for this image

To get to the slaughterhouse they are picked up upside down by their feet and shoved into crates to be transported where they then get shackled upside down onto a chain which dips their heads into a waterbath. The waterbath stuns them only, it does not kill them. The back of their neck is then sliced, and in some cases their spinal cord can be cut but they may regain consciousness only to have their heads pulled off on another machine.

What a traumatic way to live and die. Thought of as just egg laying machines without thought, care or compassion, and so easily replaced with more suffering birds. And the cycle goes on, round and round.

Now, think back to when you were young, your mum or dad possibly read you children’s books with cute little chicks on the cover or on the pages, think back to how you saw them then – did you get the warm fuzzies? I know I did. Well those cute little chicks are no different from the ones born in the egg industry, minced into nuggets or to live very short miserable lives. Whether they are born male or female does not make their lives or deaths any better, they are all treated like commodities. As a child would you have wanted that? No, so now as an adult you have the choice to say “no, I will not tolerate it, I will not!”.