Facts: The Plight of the Dairy Cow

Dairy Cows

  • There are 9.34 million dairy cows in the United States and roughly 270 million in the world. The majority of these cows spend their entire lives indoors in unnatural and unhygienic conditions.(1)
  • Due to yearly forced inseminations, dairy cows endure numerous health issues such as mastitis, infertility, and lameness. (2)
  • Upon having their offspring ripped away from them immediately, or within 24-48 hours of giving birth, the agonizing cries from their mothers are known to persist for days.

Their Babies

  • If they’re not shot and killed immediately, surviving male calves will be sent to feedlots to be fattened up before being slaughtered.
  • One in five male calves will be confined in veal crates and slaughtered at 16 to 18 weeks old. (3)
  • Female calves replace older dairy cows, thrust into the same suffering cycle as their mothers.

End-of-Life Plan for Dairy Cows

  • While the natural lifespan of a cow can be 15 or even 20 years, once dairy cows no longer prove profitable – i.e., able to produce enough milk – they are sent to slaughter between four and seven years old, at which point they’re packaged into low-grade ground beef and pet food.(2)
  • After undergoing the distressing journey to the slaughterhouse, they’re forced into a chute where they’re shot in the head by a bolt gun before being hung up by their hind legs and having their throats unceremoniously cut. Some cows reportedly live for several minutes after enduring this unspeakable horror.

Dairy cows live a life of suffering to produce a substance that is not only inessential for human nutrition, but, as science is revealing, harmful to both the human body and the environment. The dairy industry has proven to be an unmitigated disaster for the welfare of the human race and planetary well-being.


  1. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Milk Production. 2020 February 20, ,
  2. De Vries A, Marcondes MI. Review: Overview of factors affecting productive lifespan of dairy cows. [Internet]. Elsevier BV; 2020. s155 p DOI: 10.1017/s1751731119003264
  3. Veal from Farm to Table | Food Safety and Inspection Service [Internet]. cited Sep 20, 2022]. Available from: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-andpreparation/meat/veal-farm-table

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