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Inside the Indian Dairy Industry: A Report on the Abuse of Cows and Buffaloes Exploited for Milk

FIAPPO report on the abuses faced by dairy cows in the Indian dairy industry.

Abstract

Detailed report on animal welfare issues involved in the Indian Dairy Industry. 

Cows – like all other mammals, including humans – produce milk only when they are nurturing their young. Therefore, cows raised for milk are typically made to give birth every year. Cows are both lactating and pregnant for at least seven months each year. Within three months of giving birth, cows are made pregnant again, often through artificial insemination.

Artifical Insemination (AI) guns are never sterilised; syringes and needles are used numerous times on different animals without being sterilised. Doctors often shove their bare, soapy hands into animals’ uteri, causing cows immense pain and exposing them to potential infections and diseases. Cows are held in a cruel manner and beaten up in order for the “doctors” to be able to perform AI.

Milk machines tend to take more milk out of the cows than the amount they would yield naturally and easily. Workers often do not pay attention while the machines are on; even after milk has been taken out, the machines often keep sucking the animals’ dry udders, causing them a lot of pain.

Most cows raised for the dairy industry are confined to tiny spaces, leaving them unable to fulfil their most basic desires, such as nursing the calves they love. They are treated like milk-producing machines and are given large doses of hormones that cause them to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk. Oxytocin, a Schedule H drug (a drug which cannot be bought or sold without a prescription) is widely used, even though its use is illegal. The drug makes cows suffer severe stomach cramps that feel like labour pain.

Mother cows and buffaloes love their calves, just as all mothers love their babies. Yet the dairy industry routinely keeps these animals pregnant, ensuring that they will give birth to many babies, who are taken away almost immediately after birth. The calves meet an even worse fate. Male calves are tied up with ropes so short that they cannot lift their heads; in a desperate attempt to reach their mothers, the calves often strangulate themselves to death. In Mumbai tabelas, male calves have their feet tied so they cannot try to go over to their mothers for milk and their mouths tied shut with ropes so they cannot cry out when they are hungry (this is done so the residents of buildings near the tabelas do not come to investigate why they hear the babies’ cries). These babies are then left to die a slow agonising death in a corner.