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The new dairy experiment that will leave you dumbfounded

The new dairy experiment that will leave you dumbfounded

Posted 10 September 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: dairy, cows, bobby calves, milk

As if it wasn't enough that the dairy industry impregnates a cow and sends her calf to slaughter to profit from her milk, now they're doing this too ...

It's been given the nickname 'cow mootel,' though it's certainly not a place I'd want to check in to. Rather than being allowed to graze in a paddock, cows are put into individual 'chambers' approximately four metres by five metres in size and three metres high. Each cow is isolated, with only the view of another cow suffering in the same way through a glass window. She's harnessed and made to wear what has been described as a nappy and then the temperature is turned up.


Cows produce less milk in hot weather. (Let's be honest, we all get a little bit sluggish in the heat.) But this is bad news for the dairy industry as it means that their most important asset is suffering. Their $$, that is.

Media were asked not to take pictures of cows at the centre. Photo: Laura Poole/ABC.

The 6 'mootel' rooms are part of a science experiment at the National Dairy Centre in Victoria to study the impacts of heat stress on cows. The Victorian Government spent $2.5 million to help build these hot isolation chambers. Cows will be milked and have their 'nappies' changed regularly -- their faeces and urine collected for research. Scientists will study a cow's productivity and emissions with the temperature at 32 degrees for days at a time, which is like being exposed to a heatwave for the cows inside.

Dairy research scientist, Dr Jacobs, said they had the ability to 'dial these up higher' at any time but that it would have animal welfare concerns to take temperatures up to 40 degrees and then put cows back outside to 14 degrees. (Sadly, the Australian live export industry doesn't have the same concerns about subjecting animals to a jump to 40+ degree temperatures. Find out about heat stress on live export animals.)

Dr Jacobs says that the glass windows between these oven-like chambers are also a deliberate animal welfare consideration. "The ability for a cow that's in one of these calorimeters for three or four days to be able to see her neighbour is very much part of keeping her happy," Dr Jacobs said.

Cows are very social animals who not only have best friends, but can get stressed when separated. In these chambers they are powerless to do anything more than suffer in solitude and watch their herd mate be subjected to the same thing on the other side of the glass.

Cows seek out and nurture relaionships with other members of the herd. Find out more about the secret lives of cows.

Not surprisingly, the media was asked not to take photos of the cows in their nappies and sweltering hot chambers on the opening day of this facility. Dr Jacobs said that it might be confronting for some people to see the animals in this situation and that the centre did not want to attract "unnecessary" attention from animal welfare bodies.

The fact that the dairy industry is a) doing something that they suspect will upset people and b) wants to keep it hidden should be great cause for concern for the public. But this is far from the first time that the dairy industry has been involved in practices that would concern the public.

In fact, central to the dairy industry's business model is something they'd rather milk drinkers didn’t know, or rather -- someone. This someone is the young calf who is born to keep his mother producing milk. Each year, roughly one million unwanted calves are separated from their mothers and sent to slaughter as 'waste products' in their first week of life -- all so that their mothers' milk can be bottled for human consumption.

Share this graphic to speak out for cows and their calves.

When exposed to the truth of what happens to these calves, people are understandably shocked and more and more caring people are looking to make kinder choices for calves.

Fortunately, there are many ways to get milk without any animal suffering whatsoever. Coconut, almond and soy are just some of the plant-based milk varieties that are widely available on supermarket shelves. What's more, plants don't need nappies, many are resilient to temperature changes and they don't need to be continuously impregnated to produce milk. (Someone ought to tell the dairy industry.) To find out more about the range of options available check out our deliciously dairy-free shopping list.


« 5 easy ways to be kind to animals this week     Here's to dads! »

Post a Comment   |   

robert99 robert99 19 September 2015
"once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again. And the same applies to every mammalian species on this planet."
"It%u2019s important to bear in mind that mother%u2019s milk is excellent nourishment for human babies, but its composition is very different from cow%u2019s milk. "
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Dee Bee Dee Bee 7 October 2015
Most soy milk is GM from heaven knows where. Millions of acres are planted in soy crops, ruining the local farmers along with the natural vegetation or forests - check out the pollution of chemicals in our waterways. I believe that cattle and other animals need a lot of time outside in big paddocks. Raw milk is the best. What a waset of money, heat is heat -too much causes stress to both animals and humans.  cow
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maddie4 maddie4 29 October 2015
Any form of animal cruelty is not ok by us..

We are focused on Cosmetic Testing, but any animal experimentation is such an unnecessary form of torture. Animals aren't 'ours' to experiment on.

We hope that this is an issue which society takes a long hard look at in the future.

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Paula T Paula T 9 November 2015
There is NO LINE factory farming giants won't cross to milk more & more out off the poor dairy cow, heartbreaking!!!!
And this will mean *more waste* as the MONSTER GIANTS,,call these  **BEAUTIFUL BABIES** WTF is wrong with people??? or shouldi say $$$$ HUNGRY DEVILS!!!!
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Vanessa Wolfe Vanessa Wolfe 13 November 2015
Vile and disgusting, Frankenstein mentality.
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FreeTheAnimals101 FreeTheAnimals101 15 November 2015
This is crazy. It is hard to be dairy free when you have a big family but I never drink milk by itself we just use it in cooking. If I do crave milk what better solution to drink nut etc milk.
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Proudwomon Proudwomon 17 March 2016
reading this was one of those wtf??!! moments... enough is enough - stop the horror, stop the brutality, stop the enslavement, stop the animal holocaust...
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