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Crippled Goat - photo-7

Friday May 17, 2013

I’m holding a 3 day old baby goat.  He’s absolutely precious!  His cry is adorable.  Of course, I’m stating the obvious.  All babies are cute.

This little guy should be running and jumping and acting hilarious, like normal kids do.  But, he’s not doing that because he has 4 deformed legs that won’t even hold the weight of his tiny body.  He’s going to need a LOT of help.  He still might not make it.

Sadly, babies are born deformed.  It happens all the time.  Life isn’t fair.  In his case, he had 3 other siblings.  He was just so cramped in the womb that he didn’t develop normally.

Here’s the problem, though…

This kid is the product of a goat breeder.  It just so happens that the breeder is a “first time” breeder, but that doesn’t really matter.  A breeder is a breeder.  I’m talking about the dairy industry.

As I already mentioned, the mother goat who delivered this kid had 3 other babies.  The breeder didn’t think this one would live.  She focused her energy on the other three.

A day or two later, the breeder realized that this kid was still alive.  He wasn’t going to just die.

Now what?

The breeder doesn’t have time for bottle feeding.  This kid needs bottle feeding every 2-3 hours for at least a week.

The breeder can’t be bothered with a crippled goat.  This kid is completely dependent in every way.

What to do?  Of course:  Call a goat rescue.

Yes, that’s a very good thing to do.  I give her that.  It’s very good that she sought help.  She did the right thing by calling someone who cares about animals, and who has the experience to help.

But here’s the thing…

This kind of passing the buck (no pun intended) is completely unfair to the goat sanctuary owner.  I think it really “stinks” that breeders can basically dump their little inconveniences onto the people who run sanctuaries.

I wonder if the breeder offered to pay for any of the costs that the sanctuary owner will obviously incur, to take care of this kid.

What I just described is just one of the many problems I have with small dairy farms.

But, in general, I can’t stomach the dairy industry on any level.

I can’t stomach dairy products because I can’t accept the mentality that it’s okay to bring life into this world just to turn around and take it away.

Dairy breeders for all species (i.e. goats, sheep, cows) depend on continuous pregnancies to keep all that milk flowing.

Dairy breeders on farms of all sizes are in the business of killing unwanted baby animals.  This is simply the only way a dairy can make any money.  Extra bodies that aren’t producing milk are a drain on the business.  There are too many mouths to feed!

  • Male babies are killed because they won’t ever produce milk.
  • Female babies are killed because their numbers still inevitably become too numerous on the dairy farm.  Farms only need a small number of “replacements” for their “old” and “unproductive” mothers.  (Retirement = Death).

It’s really quite rare for a baby animal to get the kind of chance that the kid I’m holding in the picture is getting.  But, that certainly doesn’t make it okay to continue breeding animals.

Dairy really does make me sick to my stomach.

————————————–

Updates here…

Things That Make Me Go “Huh?”

EXHIBIT B:  DAIRY LABELS

Do you ever really notice the pictures on the milk jugs?  I’m talking about those cute drawings of dairy cows on perfect green pastures, with– of course– the stereotypical red barn.

Take a quick glance at any dairy container and you’ll find idyllic pastoral pictures.  I opened the fridge at work and found 3 different brands, complete with delightful farm depictions:  Darigold, Hormel Health Labs, and Lucerne.

What the dairy industry would have you believe is that cow’s milk products actually come from cows living wonderful lives.  But does the average dairy cow eat grass?  No.

What do dairy cows eat?  Let’s consult the Dairy Production page of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find out what’s in their Total Mixed Ration (TMR):

  • Corn silage    
  • Alfalfa/grass silage
  • Alfalfa hay
  • Corn
  • Soybean meal
  • Fuzzy whole cottonseed
  • Commodity feeds (corn gluten, distillers grains, soybean hulls, citrus pulp, candy bars, etc.)

No, the cows aren’t eating grass.

Do you notice something else?  The Lucerne label says “Calcium Fortified.”  Why would that be?  Aren’t dairy products supposed to be naturally high in calcium?  Why must they fortify?

Think about it for a minute…    

Calcium is a chemical element (Ca) and an alkaline Earth metal.  The calcium ion (Ca2+) is essential for human physiology, notably for nerve conduction, neurotransmitter release, and muscle contraction.  Calcium is stored in the bones and teeth.

Minerals such as calcium come from the ground.  Dark, leafy plants are rich in calcium.

While there is abundant calcium in milk from cows eating grass, dairy cows don’t typically eat grass.  Are dairy products calcium-fortified because the cows themselves aren’t getting enough calcium?

Would the dairy industry– i.e. The National Dairy Council– make claims that “TMR-fed” cow’s milk is an “excellent” source of calcium if they didn’t fortify the milk?

Remember…

If you have more than a few cows, it’s not practical to “let” them all eat grass, over acres of pasture land.  Why?  Because milking occurs twice a day, without interruption.  It would be costly and labor intensive to let the cows out, bring them in for milking, let them out, bring them in…

Dairying is a business, and profitability in any business depends on it running efficiently, with minimal costs.  (The cows you see on pasture are likely steers being raised for beef, not dairy cows.)

Here are some realistic images of dairy farms:

I took pictures of this dairy in Idaho over 28 sec while traveling (as passenger) at 75 mph:

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:20 AM

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:25 AM

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:28 AM

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:32 AM

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:41 AM

Idaho Dairy #1 – 2/11/12 – 11:17:48 AM

Only 5 minutes later I saw another dairy:

Idaho Dairy #2 – 2/11/12 – 11:22:43 AM

Idaho Dairy #2 – 2/11/12 – 11:22:46 AM

Idaho Dairy #2 – 2/11/12 – 11:22:56 AM

Idaho Dairy #2 – 2/11/12 – 11:22:59 AM

Idaho Dairy #2 – 2/11/12 – 11:23:02

Finally, dairy cows in the American Southwest:

Dairy #3 – 3/12/12

Final Thoughts…

  1. Let the cows eat grass.
  2. Let the cows nurture their babies with their own milk.
  3. Humans have no dietary requirement for dairy products.
  4. Get your calcium from plant sources.
  5. GO VEGAN.
"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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