The plight of Irish dairy cows

Ireland is constantly bombarded with dairy industry propoganda. The primetime weather forecasts are preceded by an advertisement from a dairy sponsor and commercials frequently appear on television and in newspapers.

Cows featured in the ads are always shown to be happily grazing in a picturesque field and unsuspecting viewers are given absolutely no hint of the suffering these animals are forced to endure.

In a TG4 documentary entitled Blian in Inis Oírr, however, a rare glimpse was this week given of just some of the cruelty inherent in the dairy industry.

One of the worst cruelties is the separation of mother cow from her calf. The breaking of this natural, strong maternal bond is traumatic to both cow and calf and should be reason enough for all compassionate people to reject dairy products.

On the TG4 programme, a farmer living on an island spoke about the reaction of the cows. “The cow knows what’s going on – it will have happened to her before so she knows that the calf will be taken from her,” he says. “Some of them resist it more than others. Some of them are lonelier than others. Some of them would jump the wall if it wasn’t high enough. The wall must be high.”

Sad scenes follow in which men are shown scaring the cows and hitting them with sticks to get them away from their calves. One cow jumps over a stone wall, another tries to break free. The men show no mercy, continuing to hit out at their bodies.

The separated animals will certainly be lonely at this unexpected and abrupt parting from each other. In fields across Ireland you can hear their bellows of despair echoing across the fields.

The dairy industry is based on cruelty to cows. No amount of propaganda or advertising will ever change that. If you care about animals and want to help end suffering, please think about eliminating dairy produce from your diet and replacing it with cruelty-free alternatives. The next time you go food shopping, you can easily make a difference.

Instead of cows milk, try soya milk or rice milk (e.g. Provamel, Alpro). Instead of dairy cheese, try soya based cheese (e.g. Tofutti or Redwoods). Instead of dairy ice-cream, try soya ice-cream (e.g. Swedish Glace or Tofutti). Instead of dairy yoghurts, try soya based desserts (e.g. Provamel and Alpro). Instead of dairy butter, try sunflower spread or soya spreads (e.g. Pure spread and Vitalite). Instead of milk chocolate, try dairy-free chocolate (e.g. Plamil, Celtic Chocolates).

Thank you for caring enough about the welfare of cows to make these simple changes.

Watch TG4’s Blian in Inis Oírr
[3 March 2011]
[The cow segment starts at 8 minutes 30 seconds]

Sad Scenes from TG4’s Blian in Inis Oírr

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