Index Home About Blog
From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: ab.general,can.general,,can.schoolnet.biomed,,sci.agriculture,,
Subject: Re: Genocide by Milk; (An open letter to dr. J. Kennelly, Univ. of 
	Alberta, Dept. of Agriculture, Food, Nutritional Science )
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 08:05:17 +0000

In article <>, John Scudamore
<> writes
>Oz wrote:
>> >with your abuse of the dairy cow with factory
>> >farming.
>> Eh? What planet are you on? What factory farming for cows?
>> They are pampered well-fed beasts beasts that wander freely.

You omitted to answer this reply to your allegations.

>> >How long do they live now?  Six years is the average I believe, about
>> >1/3 of the normal life span,
>> Sigh. Get real. You really don't have a clue, do you? In the wild every
>> cow produces a calf every year (give or take losses and twins etc).
>In the wild?  When was the good old cow a wild animal?

Yes, I did mean 'in the wild'. How else do you determine 'normal
lifespan'. If you don't mean 'in the wild' then you mean 'as farmed' in
which case your statement is an oxymoron.

>We have domesticated them as they were meant to be but
>we need to treat them with respect, not as some milk machine which is
>all they are to modern farming---even though farmers like their animals

Farmers do treat their cows with respect. Indeed they pamper them. One
good way to fail with a dairy herd IS to treat them as 'milking
machines'. Regular attempts by non-farmers to set up 'factory' units in
the UK have all failed, usually very expensively indeed. The fact that
any dairy farmer knows is that if you look after your cows, pamper them
and anticipate their every need then milk flows automatically related
only to feeding. The only way you can pamper your cows and anticipate
their every need is to empathise with them (NOT anthropomorphise) and
you can only do that if you LIKE cows.

>Cows should live to around 20 years, and single suckle beef cows live
>much longer which gives you some idea.

Eh? Most single suckled beef live about 18 months before they meet a
dinner table. So your point is? In fact most single suckled beef cows
don't live to 20 years, most live rather less long than dairy cow. Sale
of cull cows is (or was until BSE) a MAJOR part of the income of this
system they are rarely allowed to get old, scraggy and unsaleable whilst
in a dairy herd this is common. In fact it's often quite hard to get a
herdsman to part with a much loved beast until it's a bit too tottery to
send to an abattoir and it has to be humanely slaughtered on farm.

>Less stress--more life, and they
>look more contented too.

Not antropomorphising are we?

>I wouldn't want to be eating that super
>fertilized hybrid grass either.

Well, you'd do better on it, it's a lot more digestible.

>> Funnily enough the highest yielders tend to have rather small udders.
>> Like your grandma (everyone's grandma) udders tend to get less supported
>> and droop with age. I expect you already knew that.
>I have noticed they tend to drag the ground.  No thanks to selective

When this happens you are correct that it is a failure of selective
breeding. When we took this farm over in 1975 we got most of the cows
very cheaply. Their udders had collapsed by the end of the second or
third lactation. This was all due to the use of one, highly praised,
bull. It took two generations to breed it all out. The correlation with
milk yield was zero, the correlation with culling rate was significant.

>> >God knows what the cow God makes of it all,
>> >but I can guess.
>> Copious suppiers of food:               good.
>Good food?  What about all the animal protein, with links to disease
>like BSE?

Not in the UK (unlike the rest of the world) since the mid 80's. The
difference is that UK farmers did NOT know it was going into cattle feed
until then, whilst the rest of the world has known it could be in their
food since at leat the same time. So you are a decade out of date.

>> Cover and good food in winter:          good
>Unless you are in one of those open air units that were fashionable some
>time ago--may still be.

Actually I suspect cows do OK in those situations (I bet the herdsman
doesn't though). Cows don't like a draught (which was IIRC preventd),
otherwise with a rumen producing 1 KW of heating internally they really
aren't too bothered about cold and wet indeed they don't thrive in warm
enclosed conditions during winter.

Calves are particularly susceptible to enclosure and really like very
well ventilated barns that are far too cold for herdsmen. Indeed more
calves have died from respiratory diseases because inexperienced people
gave them warm comfortable (to a human) conditions than vice-versa. To
look after cattle you have to think cattle and NOT anthromorphise.
Single suckled calves survive quite well in upland areas even when it's
snowing a gale, it's what their body is designed for, and it's wise to
remember that.

>> Free medical health insurance:          good
>Wooopeee.  Your chance, cows, to get a dose a antibiotics whenever you
>want.  Just moo.

No, agriculture is more restricted by regulations than that. What you
described, however, is EXACTLY the position humans are in which is why
resistant bacteria are found at very high level in hospitals. A case of
casting the beam from your own eye, I think.

>That warble dressing---may just be the main cause of BSE.  Nothing like
>a bit of systemic pesticide coursing through your system.

Nope. Eradication of warbles was 1980 (UK: IIRC) since which time
essentially no dairy cows have been treated with systemic insecticide
because it would be pointless. It's use is pretty much confined to the
few upland single suckled/rearers in tick endemic areas for tick
control. Nearly two decades out of date here I note.

>Hormones anyone?  Have they gone ahead in the uS?

I think usage is falling in the US. It's been illegal to use added
hormones in EU cattle for such a long time I can't even remember whne
the regulations came in.

>> Wander about in a herd all day:         good
>Born to wander.

Ah, you are happy about that: good.

>> Freedom from stress and predators:      good
>Except milk production stress.

Exactly what are you talking about here?

>> I could probably make quite a long list if I tried.
>I am not too sure about stress free slaughter either, but I won't go
>into that.

Beats being torn apart live by wolves, I can tell you. Actually there
has been some TV footage of animals being slaughtered. I am impressed.
OK, the animals were a bit bewildered by the strange environment, but
they were literally alive one half second and dead the next. They
behaved no differently to an animal going into a crush to have their
feet trimmed.

You seem to be running out of points to criticise. Perhaps YOU shouldn't
put your head above the parapet when you know so little about dairy


From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: ab.general,can.general,,can.schoolnet.biomed,,sci.agriculture,,,
Subject: Re: Genocide by Milk; (An open letter to dr. J. Kennelly, Univ. of 
	Alberta, Dept. of Agriculture, Food, Nutritional Scien
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 19:33:00 +0000

In article <>, Tracy Aquilla
<> writes

>In Article <>, Rex Harrill <>
>>Tracy Aquilla wrote: [snip]

>>Gotta' call you, Tracy.  I was in a new Holstein diary facility 2 years ago
>>that is held out as a model operation in Pennsylvania.  During the tour I
>>noticed that all the cows had their tails cut off.
>So what's your point? You have yet to refute the assertion. The fact that
>some farmers may prefer to use such sanitary practices is irrelevant - the
>animals are nevertheless treated like pets in any case, and given the utmost
>attention and care.

Had their tails cut off where? Do you mean at the end of the spine, so
they had no tail at all, or do you mean the hairs at the end?

It is usual at certain times of the year (particularly on starting
spring grass) to cut off most of the hair on the end of the tail.

Due to the laxative nature of spring grass the dung tends to come out
rather loose and, propelled by a plentiful supply of gasses under
enormous pressure, emanates as a horizontal noxious jet for some
considerable distance. Now the cow tends not to elevate her tail quite
adequately to clear this explosive discharge and this results in dung on
the tail. Where it dries. Each discharge adds a layer. It builds
In fact it builds up a lot. The net result is that the cow ends up with
a ball of hardened dung, varying from lots of balls about 2" across to
one big ball 6" across.

Now this makes it impossible for the cow to swat flies and is probably
enough to cause dislocation of the tail vertebrae due to recoil effects
resulting in it's being a problem under the 'health and welfare of
cattle' regulations. It's also a lethal weapon under the human Health
and Safety regulations because if a cow attempts to swat a fly in the
milking parlour this reults in a 6" ball of hardened dung with the
consistency of teak whistling about the head of the milker. This is more
than capable of knocking him to the ground and causing hime grevious
bodily harm. You can imagine that a milking parlour with twenty or so
animals in it would make a veteran of an SAS training course quake with
abject terror.

So there might have been a good reason for cutting the tailhairs off of
the cows.


From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: ab.general,can.general,,sci.agriculture,,
Subject: Re: Genocide by Milk
Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 19:41:17 +0000

In article <>, Jon Naude
<> writes
>Oz <> wrote:
>> Had their tails cut off where? Do you mean at the end of the spine, so
>> they had no tail at all, or do you mean the hairs at the end?
>> It is usual at certain times of the year (particularly on starting
>> spring grass) to cut off most of the hair on the end of the tail.


>> So there might have been a good reason for cutting the tailhairs off of
>> the cows.
>But considering cows manage in most parts of the world not to cultivate
>these dung balls, there must be something wrong with their diet...?

OK, I admit it, I exaggerated slightly.   :-)

It is, however very painful indeed to be smacked over the head by a
dungball. No, I don't think it's because there is something wrong with
their diet (they are given straw to eat as well), but it's certainly a
reflection of highly digestible spring grass. Not much you can do about
that. The 'problem' only lasts for a few weeks but I'm sure the cows are
happier with their tailhairs trimmed, they tend to moult them about then


Index Home About Blog