In order to produce milk, cows – like all mammals – must give birth. On commercial dairy farms, calves are always removed from their mother shortly after birth, either to be raised to replace their mothers on the milking line, or to be slaughtered at a few weeks or months old for veal. Calves are usually housed in isolation in small hutches or crates. It has been well documented that both mother and calf show visible signs of distress for days or even weeks after being separated. Dairy cows are artificially inseminated once a year and are generally sent to slaughter between 4 and 6 years of age, once they are considered “spent” – once the intense physical demands of high milk production has rendered them weaker and less productive. A cow’s natural lifespan is approximately 20 years.
Dairy and Veal