The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

This week on the Stop Animal Cruelty series we examine the truth about milk. The milk production process is inherently cruel as it subjugates cows by hijacking and abusing their reproductive systems. Assault, kidnap and murder are just a few of the heinous crimes committed against these sentient beings in order to make this product which is not fit for human consumption.

Cows are very caring and social animals; they form close bonds with each other and are very protective and loving parents. Supreme Master Ching Hai often speaks about the intelligence and spiritual qualities of cows and other animal co-inhabitants, as in this excerpt from an interview with her by journalist Louise Kings that was published in the December 16, 2009 edition of the Irish Dog Journal.

Cows are compared to dogs in intelligence. Two signs of cows’ advanced mental abilities are their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships and their capacity to benefit from social learning. For example, if just one cow in a herd is shocked by an electrical fence, the entire herd will learn and know to avoid that fence automatically.

So, regarding their sentience, there are many touching and incredible stories, I’m sure you know many of them. We have heard of reports about cows who bravely escaped from slaughter and ran away. These incidents of individual cows make headlines in the news, and people are touched and cheer for them when they are brought to a sanctuary to live the rest of their lives.

The dairy industry is built on unthinkable cruelty. If humans were exploited like dairy cows, it would evoke widespread public shock and horror. Thus, please imagine yourself in the position of these innocent animals as we now describe the ghastly milk production process.

To produce milk, a cow must first be made pregnant. At the tender age of 15 months a female is dragged and mounted on a rack specially designed so that the adolescent can be forcibly impregnated. A metal rod is forced into her genitalia causing extreme pain and distress. The same rod is then used on other cows and is often not cleaned thus leading to the spread of infections.

Immediately after giving birth, the calf is stolen from the mother. This is tremendously upsetting to the pair and both mother cow and baby cry for days on end in the futile hope of being re-united.

The worst scream I have ever heard, by far, is a mother cow on a dairy farm screaming her lungs out day, after day, after day for her stolen baby to be given back to her.

All the cows that I’ve seen be abused there, is nothing in comparison to the cries heard by a cow when she has had her baby taken away. I couldn’t sleep at night because this one cow wouldn’t leave the fence of where she had last seen her young, whom would just wail and wail all night long. She wouldn’t even go in the line to be milked; she had to be forced to move – so she didn’t even want to eat. She was doing what any animal or human would do if they had their young taken away.

And why do they steal babies from their moms? Well, the dairy industry can't have little babies sucking up all that milk that was meant for them.

Every time you have a glass of cow milk, some calf is not.

What is the fate of these forcibly orphaned calves? If they are female, they are raised to be dairy cows or veal. If they are male, they may be immediately shot in the head, bludgeoned to death with a sledge hammer, sent to a feedlot to be fattened for slaughter or become a veal calf.

Mercy for Animals does a lot of undercover investigations inside of factory farms and slaughterhouses. One of our most recent investigations was in Texas at a calf factory farm, where we documented workers killing calves by bashing in their skulls with pick axes and hammers, neglecting animals to die without veterinary care, grabbing them and pulling them by their ears, all sorts of horrific cruelty. That investigation resulted in seven employees being arrested on grounds of animal cruelty, including the owner of the facility.

Confinement in a veal crate is like being in prison. The prisoners are unable to move to any real degree and purposely fed a milk substitute that is nutritionally inadequate to induce anemia so that their flesh is soft and white when butchered. The calves have atrophied muscles as a result and can barely stand on their own. After 12 to 23 weeks, the babies are sent for auction. Too weak to walk, they are goaded with electric prods and then sold to the highest bidder who drags them off to be murdered.

Meanwhile their mothers are being constantly milked by vacuum pump machines. These machines are extremely barbaric and cause untold pain and suffering. The devices exert enormous pressure. Just putting your finger in such a machine would cause it to become red and painful in less than a minute. Furthermore, while being milked, a cow will kick an average of four times per minute in distressed attempts to remove the vile apparatus that torments her.

Many times the devices are left on the cows’ teats even after all the milk has been sucked out, thus resulting in even more agony and anguish. These machines often cause horrible injuries such as the destruction of the teat canal or immensely painful conditions like mastitis, an udder infection experienced by approximately half of all dairy cows.

The pus from the infection invariably ends up in the milk. Measurements of more than 750 million pus cells per liter have been documented in milk and milk by-products. Cows that become too sick or hurt to continue giving milk are simply sent for slaughter and replaced.

I’ve seen blood go in the milk production. I can’t really describe mastitis, but it’s just horrible, and it looks so sore. The udders on cows, that have, with the dry weather, not been looked after, that have cracked and are bleeding and you see it in the pipes – blood going down – especially with the cow that was force-milked.

They have blisters on the insides of their legs and a lot of them suffer with arthritis because they’re carrying this excess amount of weight. I mean, any woman who’s been pregnant and has breastfed, she will know how heavy her breasts have felt; these cows have got it 10 times worse because they’re being overly milked, overfed, for human consumption, and these animals are in pain.

Modern dairy cows are artificially forced to produce 10-times the amount of milk they would give naturally. Repeatedly taking such abnormally high quantities of milk from a cow causes a calcium deficiency in her, sometimes leading to what is called milk fever. With this condition there is a severe weakening of the bones and thus even a small slip or bump results in bone fractures.

The cows spend 365 days a year being milked in narrow stalls with barely enough room to step forwards or backwards. They are made to defecate and urinate where they stand, leading to an utterly sordid environment. Foot infections and other dangerous conditions are rampant among the bovines as a result.

I’ve seen him dig poles into where their hip bones, where it dips into their stomach, jabbing it in. With a metal pole coming down and while cows are being milked, and we’ve had cows falling over the bars because there’s no room to move and when they fall over them, I’ve seen them beaten. He smacks their legs when they’re walking out and because when cows get scared they poo a lot. And the poo, and obviously with a lot of poo makes the floor really slippy and I’ve seen cows fall.

To make dairy cows produce even more milk, some are injected with various chemicals and hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which has been shown to cause severe bovine mastitis, the birth of deformed calves, and increased cancer risk in humans who drink rBGH-contaminated milk.

A hormone is made to make something grow. That’s what hormones do. rBGH is an injection that they give; it’s like a stimulant so the cow will create a 10 percent increase of milk. This has a number of effects. First of all, it raises the IGF-1 in the milk, which is a hormone that causes breast cancer. This is known.

A dairy cow is usually forcibly inseminated on a yearly basis and the whole painful cycle begins again until she is totally spent and exhausted and is no longer able to produce milk at the obscene rates demanded by the industry. Typically after five years of this torture and abuse the cow will be killed.

The idea that we need cow milk for calcium in our diets is an utter lie; there is no other animal on this planet that drinks the milk of species other than its own. All animals, including humans, can get plenty of calcium from plant- based sources.

This body of ours has absolutely no need for cow milk, like it has absolutely no need for giraffe milk, and zebra milk, rhinoceros milk, hippopotamus milk, camel milk, deer milk, antelope milk, goat milk, horse milk, pig milk, dog milk or cat milk. The only milk that we ever need is our own mother's breast milk when we’re born. That's it. And when we're done weaning, we never need a drop of milk ever again. No species on this planet needs milk after weaning.

Now if you want to include some kind of milk in your diet like I do, it's finally time for some good news. There are seven vegan milks on the market right now: Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and hazelnut milk.

Please help stop the vicious cruelty we’ve seen today by being vegan and abstaining from all animal products including dairy. The animals and your body will truly thank you for your noble decision to eat only plant foods.

Our thanks Shira Lane, Gary Yourofsky and Nathan Runkle for your devoted efforts to protect the defenseless bovines and raising awareness on the urgent need for everyone to transition to a plant-based lifestyle. Also our appreciation Mippy Valentine for sharing your experiences of working on a dairy farm with us.

For more information on cruelty in the dairy industry, please visit the following websites: Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT)
Got the facts on Milk?
Mercy For Animals

Thank you for your company today on Stop Animal Cruelty. Through God’s grace may all beings live in eternal harmony.