PETA is launching a new initiative calling for basic animal welfare standards for cows on dairy farms on the heels of disturbing new undercover footage of dairy factory farms. The video footage from Mercy for Animals shows baby calves as they are beaten with pickaxes and hammers and have their budding horns burned out of their skulls without being given any pain relief. A PETA undercover investigation into a Land O'Lakes supplier found similar abuse.
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PETA is asking pizza and ice cream chains, grocery stores, and other dairy vendors to commit to buying only from farms that adhere to these minimal standards of animal care:
- Keeping facilities clean and providing flooring, foot care, and bedding
- Immediately euthanizing "downed" cows who can no longer walk
- Ending de-horning and tail-docking, cruel procedures in which cows have a portion of their tails cut off and their horns cut out of their skulls
- Banning the use of bovine growth hormone, which contributes to lameness and a painful inflammation of the udder known as "mastitis" and which has been banned in Europe and Canada
- Providing group housing for female calves, without tethering
These standards would dramatically reduce the suffering of cows and their calves on dairy factory farms. You can help them, too, by always choosing one of the many available nondairy options.
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Written by Michelle Sherrow