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.

Do You Drink Milk?

May 30, 2010

28 Things You Should Know …

Milk is Dangerous

February 19, 2010

New website for everyone to visit:

I won’t tell you all about it as I would rather you check it out for yourselves. All I can say is “Well done Bruce”.

Lambing season ’09

September 11, 2009
snow receding, summer looming

snow receding, summer looming

It is a lovely trip into work every morning, I see some beautiful sights – ever changing sights, Mother Nature showing off her beautiful colours in the changing of the seasons. The snow on the mountains is slowly, day by day, starting to recede.

I also see other things. Lambing season is in full swing and over the last month while driving to work and home I have noticed an unusually large amount of ewes with twins or triplets. I am not sure if this is consistent with the rest of the country or whether it is only a regional phenomenon this year. It has been a better winter in Canterbury, alot milder in temperature than the last couple of years and although there was a fair amount of rain there was no snow on the ground.

The problem (other than the ownership of course) with the farmers having ewes that  produce more lambs is that sometimes a ewe cannot feed three babies. The first reason is that a majority of sheep breeds only have two functional teats (some breeds have more) and another reason is that if the ewe is lactating early in the season she will lose body weight and condition. Ewes rearing twins and triplets cannot consume sufficient nutrients to prevent this weight loss early on in the season. With triplets their growth can be uneven and inconsistent with their siblings as they have to battle for the teats, competition for the available milk supply  – and the farmer wouldn’t want that, the uneven growth I mean – he wants big fat lambs. The ewes with triplets can also have an increased risk of teat damage.

Of course the farmer wants highly productive sheep, those that lamb frequently, produce multiple lambs that grow rapidly and are capable of re-breeding after having the existing lambs weaned from their mothers at an earlier time than is natural. But with triplets from ewes with only two functional teats the fight begins and the farmer wins, theft of one of the babies.

wee fella

wee fella

This little sweetie is only 10-hours old at the time of this photo and because he was one of three that his mum went through labour and gave birth to he was deemed (or doomed?) surplus to requirements, “would have died anyway”. This is not a definite, he may have died, but then again he might not have. But because he, like many are unfortunate enough to be born into slavery, farmers find someone to buy them – yes ‘buy’ like a commodity, and he could just as well have been bought by someone who wanted him fattened up a bit and had his carcass on a dinner plate. He is special in his own right. Do farmers care about what would happen to this little fella or others like him? No way, compassion is something that is not thought of in the sheep industry, only profits. Supplement feeding for the ewe could have avoided the separation of mother and baby entirely and minimized weight loss in the ewe. Well, actually, abolition of farming sheep would have avoided it entirely.

I am always deeply saddened and feel like a part of myself is dying inside with the exploitation of so many sentient beings, not a day goes by that I don’t think of the atrocities and suffering that human beings inflict on just about every other species including our own – and today my thoughts go out to those that lost their loved ones in 2001 .

When people have lamb for dinner they do not consciously make the connection between the carcass on the end of their fork and the lamb leaping around with the other lambs in the paddock, they do not think of them as living, vital, alive beings, they close their minds to the lambs being loaded into a truck heading for the slaughterhouse, they do not think of the terror that these babies feel, the loss that their mothers’ feel – these babies that have no choice – the innocents – they should not be farmed for fashion or dinner plate and do not go with knitting needles, mint and kumara.

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Question the process

August 31, 2009

UPDATE:UPDATE:UPDATE: Confirmation has been received that Bean Me Up soymilk and tofu are vegan, the filtering cloth is nylon. So it is now back in the shopping trolley. Thank you SAFE for the detective work.

Sometimes it is hard to know about the processes that many of our foods go through before reaching our cupboard or fridge, processes that you wouldn’t even think to question until something triggers you to look into it a bit further; well this happened to me.

No  milk today - 3x in a row Bean Me Up is out of stock, so all I have for you is the price label, note: when taking photos in supermarkets do not use a flash

No milk today - 3x in a row Bean Me Up is out of stock, so all I have for you is the price label, note: when taking photos in supermarkets do not use a flash

I was listening to a Radio NZ podcast on the processing of Bean Me Up Soymilk which is made locally here in Christchurch, and was finding it quite interesting until the moment the product came out of the heat tank – you see, it goes through a filter, and I thought she said ‘silk filter from Japan’ – the noise from the machine was quite loud so I may have heard incorrectly. Anyway, right then I knew I had to find out.

It took quite a few attempts at phoning before I actually managed to speak to someone for clarification. They advised me that it was silk and I replied “so it is not suitable for vegans then” and she said “oh hang on” and went and spoke to the person who operates the heat tank and he said “I’m not sure if it is silk or nylon, it could be nylon but I am not sure”. She also mentioned that “everyone does it that way” – but does she mean that the filtering is done by everyone or the use of silk is done by everyone? Do others use silk, nylon, cheesecloth or muslin?

Bean Me Up Soymilk. Got the photo!
Bean Me Up Soymilk. Got the photo!

So now I am left without a definative answer from Bean Me Up, do they use silk or nylon? Why would they say they used silk on the podcast if this may or may not be correct, wouldn’t that be false advertising? Shouldn’t they know? – anyway, until I am 100% sure that it is vegan it is off my shopping list, I can always make my own, or use something else, there are always other options (I must admit I have since got a real liking for Rice Milk).

I was buying the soymilk because of my stance on the dairy industry only to find out that I might be supporting the exploitation of silkworms – the silkworms that are exploited by being boiled alive to get the silk out, which I also find abhorrent. And what about their soy yoghurt which is advertised on the web as a vegan dairy replacement? Does it go through a filter? I am not sure – something for me to pursue at a later date perhaps.

UPDATE:UPDATE:UPDATE: Confirmation has been received that Bean Me Up soymilk and tofu are vegan, the filtering cloth is nylon.

But it just points out to ethical, compassionate vegans the importance of not assuming something is vegan just because the list of ingredients is ok, but to also question the process as well. This got me to thinking about other things, this would also apply to products in cans or glass jars that have labels – what is the glue made from? And speaking of glue, how about the glue used in non-leather shoes? And another of my peeves is the word ‘organic’ – the producers consider blood and bone to be ‘organic’, so unless you know who grows your vegetables be very wary of that word. I will not be a part of the exploitation of innocent lives and I feel that the only option is to question everything, and I will not stop questioning, and I will not find it a burden, non-human animals are too important for me, way, way too important to do anything but question – and in the answers I will have something to pass on to others, because knowing what is in our food and the process it goes through to get to our plate is important.

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Where do cows get their calcium?

July 27, 2009

Demand dictates and greed/profit supplies. The dairy industry inflicts unnecessary and inhumane suffering on cows and of course their babies. Not only are the cows painfully inseminated frequently with sperm from genetic companies, ensuring continuous pregnancy and lactation, but once their babies are born they are torn (both crying) from their mothers, sometimes a couple of days old, often only a couple of hours old. The calves either go to the slaughterhouse for their little bodies to support the veal meat industry and their tiny stomachs to make rennet for the cheese industry or if they are a healthy female they go into an often unsheltered paddock with other ‘torn’ babies and fed on an inferior product other than their mother’s natural milk (non-saleable milk or milk replacer). They are then put onto solid feeds at only six to eight weeks, only for the same fateful life as their mothers feared, to be continuously pregnant or lactating with no chance ever to bond with the (up to 10) babies they deliver.

Alone in a crowd on a cold frosty morning

Alone in a crowd on a cold frosty morning

The calves who go to the slaughterhouse suffer terribly on their journey in cattle trucks where they struggle to keep their footing. They are generally cold and hungry by the time they get to the slaughterhouse. A calf does not want to die, a cow does not want her baby to die. All a cow wants to do is bond with and feed her baby and all a calf wants to do is bond with and feed from his or her mother – and they would do this for anything up to 12 months.

Cows would naturally live up to 25-years of age but are sent to the slaughterhouse when their milk declines generally when they are 7-10 years of age. But before their untimely death they are often kept in paddocks without any shelter and suffer in summer from the heat and in winter from the cold winds and here in the South Island we have some serious frosts and even snow. And because they no longer have their babies to feed, they are walked to milking sheds and can suffer lameness, an agonizing thing to suffer from, from the walk which can be quite a distance or from standing on the concrete at the milking sheds. 

What a horrible thing to do to sentient beings!!! A cruel and unnecessary thing to do to such a docile animal, just so we as humans can have a glass of milk in the morning.

Some people will justify, or ignore the above treatment because it is believed or they are told that the milk is a great source of calcium but the truth is most of us are just not aware and are not informed of the horrors of the milk industry.

Well, I am here to ask you something, why do cows have calcium in their milk? They don’t get it from drinking milk. Did you do your chemistry at school and learn that calcium is a mineral? Minerals come from the ground in which plants grow, so in essence the cows get calcium because they eat plants. I know we are not going to all rush out and eat grass or clover, our bodies can’t digest it properly, but keeping in mind that grass and clover are only two plants in a huge list of plants then you know exactly what I am going to suggest, don’t you? Yes! Eat plants, get your calcium from the source and not the cow.

The other important factor is of course that a cow’s milk is produced for optimum growth of her calf i.e. it increases cell growth rapidly. So what do you think it does to the cells of a human when consumed? That’s right, increases cell growth, and if you have cells that are abnormal then they grow extra fast too. And surely, if the cow was put on this planet for her milk to be consumed by humans don’t you think it would have been the right composition for human consumption. For humans who consume excessive amounts of dairy products it actually interferes with calcium absorption. Cows’ milk is made for calves, just like cats’ milk is made for kittens, horses’ milk is made for foals and humans’ milk is made for human infants.

vitasoy ricemilkAlternative milks are rice milk, soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, or how about making your own nut or seed milk out of  cashews or macadamias perhaps (replacing the honey from recipes of course). For alternative dairy replacement ideas visit NZ Dairy Cruelty’s site. There is a huge range of things that will naturally give you enough calcium to lead a very calcium-filled life, some of which are as follows, and this is by no means the complete list:

  • Almonds
  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Brazil nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carob powder
  • Chick peas
  • Collard greens
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Hazelnuts
  • Kale leaves
  • Kelp
  • Lentils
  • Linseed
  • Molasses
  • Mung beans
  • Navy beans
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsley
  • Pinto beans
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb
  • Rice milk (calcium enriched)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Silverbeet
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tofu (set with calcium)
  • Turnip greens
  • Walnuts
  • White beans