Industrialized Meat: The Landscapes of Factory Farming
Feedlots are facilities used in factory farming—a modern form of industrialized, intensive livestock production—in which thousands of livestock are “finished” in densely-packed feeding pens. The U.S. contains over 15,000 feedlots today, and 99% percent of all farmed animals in the country are raised on one. Despite their ubiquity, agricultural companies have done their best to hide these operations. So-called “ag gag” laws, for example, have made the recording of animal cruelty in commercial farming practices illegal. According to Ted Genoways of Mother Jones, ag gag laws have been on the books in eight states and were enacted in 15 more as of 2013. Luckily, artist Mishka Henner, who has been collecting satellite imagery of feedlots for years, has been able to avoid legal repercussions. His work captures the vast scale and damaging ecological effects of industrial farming in America. As Matt Connelly notes in Mic, what appear as beautiful emerald green and ruby red pools are in fact “manure lagoons” for the highly toxic chemical animal waste produced in these concentrated enclosures. Henner has utilized open-source satellite imagery to reveal other hidden yet highly potent landscapes like oil fields and covert U.S. military bases.
THIS is what your glass of milk look like. Calves are taken from their mothers approx 24 hours after they are born, and they will never see each other again.
Female baby cows contiue their short life as nameless milk producing machines; lifespan of a dairy cow is 5-6 years. Don´t get it wrong, cows can easily live up to 22 years. So what´s the problem? You have to keep them in a constant cycle of pregnancy and giving birth in order to keep producing the milk. Year after year until they are so exhausted and “burned out”, that their lactation curve is no longer “high enough”. What happens next? Sunshine and rainbows and gratitude? Fucking slaughterhouse!
I´m a veterinary medicine student. I´m human. I´m vegan.
Today was my last day at this job. Monday I start elsewhere as the calf extraordinaire. It was a bitter sweet day but a long time in the making. Other than some of the people, what I will miss the most are the jersey calves!!! This new farm only has black and white holsteins! BORING! 🐄
Two years ago we received a call from a horse rescue in
Pennsylvania when a calf was found at a stockyard. A large herd of “spent”
dairy cows were being sold at this auction. These are usually four- to five-year-old
cows from larger dairies in the area who have bad legs or who have not
consistently produced a calf; since no calf means no milk.
We have no idea why Ari’s mother was being sold. It would be
hours before we’d find her baby, who, wet with afterbirth, was left there lifeless
in a pen. His mother never had the chance to clean him, to nurse him or to have
even a moment of peace with her newborn. She was pushed out of the pen and into
the sale ring and sold by a meat buyer.
And Ari would have been noticed; but Ari is a boy and male dairy
calves are worthless and no one was willing to put the time or money into
helping him. He was curled up on the
floor of the stall; left to die. Without colostrum, without nourishment,
without help… that is exactly what would have happened. But thankfully, a horse
rescue was there monitoring conditions of horses sent to be sold for meat. A member of her party passed the empty pen and
saw what she thought was a jacket. She went to pick it up. But that was no
jacket; that was Ari.
I found this on Facebook! A wonderfully worded response to a STUPID video!
Ok, here we go… I said I would post a response to this video, once I gathered my thoughts. It took me a little longer than I wanted it to, but I finally have a few minutes to myself, so here I go…
Before I start, I just want to day that I am not an expert, or professional, etc. I am someone that works in the dairy industry, loves animals, and has some dairy education and experience from a few different places.
I usually don’t speak up when it comes to things like this, but enough is enough. I just can’t let this one go.
Everything that I am about to type, is based on my own personal experiences - whether on a farm or in the classroom.
I am going to respond in order of things mentioned in the video, so it will be easier to follow along - for those that want to.
Warning: this is going to be long.
1) Yes, dairy farmers use artificial insemination. It is nearly painless to the animal, and gets rid of the dangers (to animal AND human) of having a bull around.
2) We do not do it “over and over”, if she is referring to the A.I. process. Straws of semen cost money. We want them to conceive on the first try. If she’s referring to getting them pregnant “over and over”, well most farms have a minimum of a 60 day “voluntary waiting period”, which is the length of time given to a cow, after she gives birth, until the time she is inseminated. A cow’s gestation period is 9 months.
Some heifers are 12 months old when they are bred - some aren’t. Generally, it doesn’t go by age, but rather, by body size. Each heifer is different. It is a judgement call for someone with experience.
If a heifer gets too big (old) and fat (which she will) it becomes less likely that she will “settle” (get pregnant), and if she does, she is likely to experience difficulties while calving. A fat dairy cow or heifer is NOT a good thing)
3) I love how she says that farmers “jack off a bunch of bulls”… Sheesh! Grow up, will ya?
High quality (tested) bulls are kept at very nice facilities (usually owned by companies that sell semen).
Sometimes, the bulls are taught to mount dummy (fake) animals (a large, padded structure) while a person holds a container to collect the semen, that is designed to feel like a cow’s vagina.
Yes, sometimes an electroejaculator probe is used instead. It isn’t at bad as it sounds. And no, it isn’t “basically a big cow dildo” - what is with this girl?!
It is inserted into the bill’s rectum and it gives off a series of small electrical pulses (not shocks) which stimulates the bull to ejaculate.
These bulls are worth a lot of money, and are treated very well. They’re fed a high quality diet - designed by nutritionists - and are kept in clean, well-ventilated facilities.
They literally eat, drink, poop, sleep, play and “donate” semen… Rough life, huh???
4)The industry does NOT call it a “rape rack”… If we do, it is to mock idiots, like the woman in the video. The animal is restrained in a headlock or a chute, to ensure the safety of the animal and the person doing the insemination.
By the way, the picture shown in the video, when she says “rape rack” is actually a “rotary parlor” - where cows get milked while slowly going around, like they’re on a carousel. Breeding does not take place there. Again, she is an idiot.
The “long tube” is actually called an Artificial Insemination gun. It is basically a long, skinny syringe. The semen straw is loaded in the end of it, then guided through the cervix and into the uterine body and/or uterine horns, where the semen is deposited.
5) Yes, while doing A.I., a person must insert their arm into the rectum. This is NOT to “loosen the area” (or whatever ridiculous thing she said)… It is simply to guide the tip of the A.I. gun in the right direction to pass through the cervix. There are many folds inside of a cow’s vaginal tract, and a series of cartilaginous rings in their cervix. It takes a lot of practice feeling around, and knowledge of the anatomy of a bovine reproductive tract to be successful at A.I. breeding.
6) “Got Beastiality?” … Really?! C'mon. Cows and heifers need to get pregnant in order to lactate and be valuable assets to the business. Doing A.I. is just another job on the farm. It is not “Beastiality”. Ugh.
7) Yes, calves are taken away shortly after birth. Usually, after the mother licks it off, because it stimulates the calf and dries it off. That is, IF the mother is willing. Some cows want absolutely nothing to do with the calf. Some cows do get upset when you take the calf away, but they are completely over it within minutes. In fact, some cows show more frustration over taking a calf away that didn’t even belong to them! It’s new, it smells funny, it moves and makes noise, and cows are naturally curious. I do want to point out, though, that I am ONLY talking about dairy cows - not beef. Beef cows have STRONG maternal instincts because they’ve been bred that way. Mothering abilities/maternal instincts are not focused on in the dairy industry, becuase it is simply not needed.
Calves are taken away for a number of reasons. Overall, it just isn’t practical to keep all of the calves with the cows. Unless they are outside, in a large area, the calves will get stepped on/laid on and killed by the cows… It is easier to care for/monitor calves, and treat sick calves, if they are seperated. That way, we know exactly how much milk (colostrum) each calf gets, and we are able to make sure it is high quality colostrum, because each cow’s first milk (“colostrum”) is tested.
Calves are born with no immune system, and they need a certain amount of high quality colostrum to receive an ideal amount of immunoglobulins through passive immunity (passed on to the calf, by its mother, through her colostrum, and absorbed in the calf’s gut) within a short period of time.
Remember, calves are the future of every dairy farm. We want them to grow up to be happy, healthy, high-producing cows. Why would we harm them in any way?
8) The way the calves are being handled in this video is NOT acceptable, and is not a fair representation of the dairy industry. Like anything else, there are always “bad guys”. Unfortunately, the bad ones are the ones that get the most publicity. Over time, the public starts to perceive the awful things they’ve seen as “normal”. It is not.
9) Ok, now we’re at the part where the cow is mooing. The woman in the video says she is searching for her baby. I suppose it is a possibility - However, I’d be willing to bet all of the money I have, on the fact that this cow is simply mooing. Cows do this. It is the noise they make. If you are 10 minutes late feeding them, and they hear a tractor start up, you’ll hear an entire cow choir start doing this.
If a cow is in heat (estrus), she will do this until she annoys the heck out of you.
If another cow is moved to a different pen, she will do this. If you move a cow’s friend (yes, they have friends) to another pen, they will both do this. There are MANY reasons for a cow to “moo”.
From my experience, the sound that a cow makes when she doesn’t want you to take her calf, is a completely different sound… Lower tone, more of a humming/grunting noise.
Again, totally different situation with beef cattle.
10) “If it’s a male, its throat is slit and sold for veal”. Wrong! Yes, some bull calves are raised and then sold for veal. If so, they are raised at veal raising facilities. The way they are raised is not the responsibility of the dairy farm. They way they are killed is not the responsibility of the person(s) raising the calves.
Many veal calves are killed humanely.
Many calves aren’t raised for veal, but instead, are sold at sale barns and end up at feedlots - where they are fed until they are fully grown, then slaughtered for beef.
11) Yes, dairy cattle only produce milk after calving. Yes, a good dairy cow will give birth to many calves in her lifetime. It is what they’ve been bred to do.
However, each cow is given a break, called a “dry period”. Approximately 2 months before she is due to have her calf, a cow is no long milked. She will be given a special diet that is adjusted by dairy nutritionists, to give the cow and unborn calf all of the nutrition they need to be healthy, without the cow getting too fat. She is no longer using energy to produce milk, so she can gain weight very quickly. “Dry cows” are often let outside to graze, and spend all day being lazy.
12) This woman claims that keeping a dairy cow lactating causes mastitis (inflammation/infection of the udder)… It does not “cause” mastitis. Infection from bacteria, viruses, injuries, etc. cause mastitis. However, usually only lactating cows (or cows that have lactated) get it, so…
I guess it’s kind of like saying you got into a car wreck becuase you were in a vehicle. Well, that may be true - you can’t be in a car wreck if you never get into one - but that also doesn’t mean that you WILL get into a wreck if you get into a vehicle, or that the act of BEING in a vehicle is the reason you got into a wreck.
13) “Sometimes filtered”… NO. It is a requirement to filter the milk at the farm. It is filtered before it even reaches the bulk tank. Did you know that farms that sell milk have to be inspected?
The quick picture that is shown of a disgusting filter is another unfair representation. “Somatic cells” are cells that the body (of every living animal) sheds - more so, when there is an infection present. All milk has somatic cells. It is natural. If cows didn’t have somatic cells, they’d have no way to fight off infection. Elevated levels of somatic cells usually indicate an infection, such as mastitis. It is not the same thing as pus in a pimple. She is simply trying to gross people out. If a cow has a high somatic cell count, or visable evidence of infection, or if she is treated with antibiotics to help get rid of an infection, her milk is not put into the bulk tank. It is either dumped or fed to calves. There are penalties for each bulk tank that has a somatic cell count over a certain amount, and premiums for each tank that is below a certain amount. Many people (including myself) drink raw (unpasteurized, unhomoginized) milk, straight from the bulk tank.
Do you think we would choose to drink pus??!
14)“Downer cows” - cows can go down for MANY reasons… Sickness, injury, slipping and falling, knocked down by another cow, etc. AGAIN, the video clips shown are not a fair representation of what goes on at most dairy farms.
The clip showing the cow’s back end being lifted by a skidsteer - Yes, sometimes we have to do that. A down cow is a dead cow. She needs to get to her feet. Sometimes, the only way to get her there is by using “hip lifts” - a tool that is tightened around the animal’s hip bones, so she can be lifted to her feet.
The clip does not show proper usage - she should be gently lifted until she can get her legs squarely underneath her body - NOT hung in the air.
All of the other hidden video clips that are shown just before and after that one are disgusting and shameful. Shame on those people for treating animals that way.
Whew… Ok, rant over. It felt good to get that out. If you made it this far, reading my rant, thank you.
Remember - things are not always as they seem, certain things are done for a reason, and if you want to know more, ask a farmer!
A good farmer will be happy to explain things to you, and show you around. Good farmers are proud of what they do.
A bad farmer will make excuses, because they have something to hide.
COK Investigation Reveals Shocking Abuse to Calves (by tryveg)
I want to meet one of the fucks who abused these animals as shown on the video. When I meet any one of those fuckers, I swear I would make every effort to treat him the same way.
I’ve seen videos and photos of way too many assholes in the industrial livestock slaughter and meat industry.
I am so fucking pissed off right now.
These people need to be arrested and charged.
Oh, and I have to remember that right-wing legislators, taking their cue from ALEC and similar right-wing or business-oriented organizations, want to criminalize, or prohibit, the taking of videos such as this one under ag-gag laws. Let the real criminals/abusers get away with their crimes/abuse, but arrest the person who trying to shine on light on the abuse.
Like I say in the next post, what is wrong with our culture?
When a horse rescuer named Kelly first caught sight of Valentino, he was struggling down a stockyard aisle on his knees as workers goaded him with shaker paddles and wooden canes. He was only about a day old, one of many newborn calves brought to a livestock auction in Pennsylvania that day. These calves are “byproducts” of the dairy industry — an industry that must keep cows pregnant to keep them lactating. The male calves clearly cannot produce milk, and most cows are impregnated through artificial insemination; bulls are rarely kept on a farm. The majority are sold to be slaughtered for veal or raised for beef. If you have ever driven by a feedlot, you can see that more and more Holsteins are being fattened up there than ever before.
Small and hobbled by leg deformities, Valentino was considered an unmarketable “defective” and would likely have been left to a slow death. The livestock auctions are full of meat buyers who are looking for the animals that will require the least amount work and reach the highest body weights.
Valentino’s disability became his salvation. Since he was in such bad shape, he was unwanted — and so now Kelly had a calf. She brought him back to her farm to receive care and veterinary attention. Though splints and physical therapy were recommended for Valentino’s front legs, the vets had never before seen the type of deformities present in his front and hind legs. They didn’t know how to address the condition, and so the option to euthanize was now on the table. Despite his health problems, however, Valentino was a happy calf. Seeking further help for him, Kelly reached out to Farm Sanctuary.