While no one’s life is adversely affected by what’s depicted or not depicted on Starbucks’ cups, countless lives are destroyed so that the indifferent masses can add milk to coffee.
Starbucks is just one company whose bottom lines can be measured in stolen lives.
The dairy industry, needless to say, works very hard to portray the victims as willing — even enthusiastic — participants in their own brutal exploitation.
A recently produced video series unimaginatively and insultingly called “The Udder Truth” is a prime example of the propaganda the industry disseminates to make consumers feel good about supporting cruelty.
In the video embedded above, Annie Link, the owner of Dairy Discovery, which offers tours of the Alto, Michigan-based Swiss Lane Dairy Farms, makes the following statements.
“We do everything we can to make sure these cows are comfortable, well cared for. The better care we take of them, the better they’re going to perform for us.”
“The more relaxed that a cow is, the more comfortable they are, the more milk they’re going to give. We have a great partnership with these cows.”
“The cows actually like to get milked. I mean, they can’t wait for their turn to go in and get milked.”
The “Udder Truth” video series was produced by Dairy Management Inc., an organization that exists “to help increase sales and demand for dairy products.” Dairy Management Inc. is funded by farmers through a federally mandated assessment (a so-called “checkoff” program), administered by the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board — whose members are appointed by the U.S. secretary of agriculture — and overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the video series, the “Udder Truth” propaganda campaign, which is presented by the Dairy Management Inc.-maintained website DairyGood.org, involves a partnership with The Onion and the satirical news site’s spin-off, Clickhole.com, each of which has created industry-sponsored content.
The truth, obviously, is nowhere to be found in any part of this shameful marketing campaign. The unavoidable truth is that cruelty is the very foundation of the dairy industry. Calves are taken from their mothers as soon as they’re born so that their mothers’ milk can be sold for human consumption. Most male calves are destined for dinner plates, while female calves are raised to be repeatedly impregnated and used as milk machines until they are “spent” and can no longer produce, at which point they, too, are turned into food for indifferent humans.
Just ask Annie Link.
In an email response to a handful of questions I asked her during a brief telephone conversation, Link explained that 2044 calves will have been born at Swiss Lane Farms in 2015, that “all heifers are raised here and will be our future herd,” and that “we raise the bull calves that we have enough barn space for (on average 40/month) and sell them to local beef farmers as feeder calves (about 350-500 lbs.). We have a few that we raise and use as bulls for breeding. Other bull calves are sold to a beef farmer or sold at the local livestock auction.”
Cows who leave Swiss Lane Dairy Farms are sold to other dairy farms or to beef producers.
How often a cow is impregnated at Swiss Lane Dairy Farms is determined on an individual basis, Link said, explaining that “they are bred when they are in heat. Their cycle is 21 days but we do not breed them until 70 days after they have a calf and will not breed them again if they are not pregnant after five breedings. On average the cows are having a calf every 13.5 months.”
Not a single cow who is born into the living hell that is the dairy industry has any choice at all. Each is bred into a stolen life that will end with a knife across the throat.
We, on the other hand, can choose to protest on their behalf.