What's the link between beef and milk?
More than half a million cows, bulls and calves die each year in the beef industries for Israeli consumers. Most are slaughtered; more than half are slaughtered overseas (mainly in Argentina) and imported to Israel as "frozen meat." Around 100,000 cows are exploited in the dairy industry, which is closely related to the beef and veal industries: Dairy cows are forced to calve at the maximum rate, as this is necessary for efficient milk production and the farmers cannot control the sex of the embryos. The male calves are the "by-products" of the dairy industry and they are fattened for the beef and veal industries. The female calves are forced to "produce" milk beginning during the 14th month of life and after only four years they are sent to slaughter. Then their bodies are used as "low quality" meat.
"Veal Calves" - Disease according to Consumer's Demand
Calf Confinement in CrateOne of the cruelest industries is the veal industry, which specializes in producing anemic and degenerated meat in line with consumer demand. To make the calf's muscles develop the desired texture, he is fed food rich in protein and poor in iron, so his blood hemoglobin stays very low. The calf is confined to a very small crate or stall, which prevents him from turning around, stretching, lying down, resting, grooming himself or making contact with his immediate neighbors. The tortured calf cannot use his muscles and his meat remains soft.
Continues DyingIn spite of the medications being used, calves suffer from chronic diarrhea, ringworm, ulcers, blood poisoning, anemia and breathing disorders. Many calves die before slaughter. In his final days, the calf's crate is so small that he cannot even stand comfortably. It is very hot in the crate, resulting in constant sweat and thirst. Nevertheless, the calf does not get water, but a fattening liquid mix only. When the calf is four months old, weak and ill, he is transported to the slaughterhouse.
Is it Legal?As a result of public protests regarding the "special-fed veal" industry in Europe, the European Community council instructed all of its member countries to enact internal laws banning this rearing method by the year 2004. In Israel, thousands of veal calves are reared this way every year.
Calves in Mass Fattening
From the Pasture to the Fattening FacilityThe common methods of fattening calves for the beef industry are to raise the calves in confinement in special fattening facilities, usually after a period of pasturing. When male calves are born to "dairy cows", they are taken from their mothers shortly after birth and are forced to drink liquid food from buckets, instead of their mother's milk. These calves later join the male and female calves used in the beef industry. In Israel, after pasturing, calves are transferred to special fattening facilities when they have reached 6-10 months of age and they are force-fed for six months.
Fattening is sickeningThe special diet given to calves in the fattening facilities is concentrated, rich in protein and low in fiber. The fiber is needed for the health of the calf, but the farmers do not consider it important since the calves will be slaughtered soon. The calves, in a desperate attempt to absorb fiber, lick each other's fur. The accumulated hair in their digestive systems often causes wounds and infections. The inadequate food causes a buildup of gas, severe pain and even death.
Knives, Fire and Acids
TrappingAlmost all cattle farmers castrate their male animals; they are dehorned and branded with numbers on their bodies. (The cutting and branding is done to females as well.) These methods are used in the beef industry as well as the dairy industry. In order to catch the cattle, nose rings are put in their noses, sometimes after piercing the cartilage between the nostrils, without anesthetics; afterward they are dragged to the branding place with ropes tied to their nose rings. The animals refuse to move with all their might, sometimes until their noses are bleeding and even torn. Later, they are tied to restraining devices or pushed to the floor and prevented from moving.
CastrationCastration is done to prevent the bulls from impregnating cows, as well as to make them more submissive and speed up weight gain. The castration is done without anesthetics: A farmer opens the animal's scrotum with a knife and pulls each testicle separately, until he tears the semen tube connected to it. Other methods of castration (used in countries exporting meat to Israel) are constant binding of the scrotum or threading metal wire into the bull's sex organ. Castration involves shock and severe pain, as well as continuous mental aftereffects.
CuttingHorns are removed to deprive cows and bulls of their natural means of self-defense and to save space when their heads are in the feeders. In Israel, farmers usually prevent the growth of horns in time: The calf is tied to a restraining device, which prevents him or her from moving. The area of horn growth is burnt with chemicals or with a soldering iron. In many instances the scared calves move their heads and the substances harm their eyes, causing severe pain. If the horns have already been allowed to grow, they are cut with a big cutter. In doing so, arteries and close tissues are cut and the blood flows out; in order to stop the blood flow the area is burned. These procedures were performed for years in Israel with no painkillers. As a result of the Anonymous for Animal Rights exposure in January 2002, the Agriculture Ministry now forbids cutting the horns of cattle without anesthetics and veterinary supervision. Except for medical reasons, the ministry also forbids tail docking, a custom common up to now, designed to get rid of disturbances of tail during milking. Although encouraging, even if these rules are enforced, they will not protect the calves subjected to these procedures from the terror of getting caught and bridled, or the ensuing pain and danger of contamination. In the dairy industry it is customary to cut off the "useless" nipples of young cows, as they are considered a "milking nuisance" and can increase the likelihood of udder infections. The procedure is done with scissors and without anesthetics.
BrandingFor identification purposes, farmers brand numbers on the bodies of cattle. It is customary to add a mark on the ears, which involves piercing. Branding is done using three methods. In countries exporting frozen meat to Israel, the method is "hot branding": For five seconds, molds of numbers made from blazing metal are attached to the animal's shaven skin. Another method involves the use of chemical substances. In Israel the most common method is "cold branding": freezing the molds of numbers to very low temperatures (usuallywith liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196C) and attaching them to the skin for 40 seconds. This procedure causes a burn, and thehair in the burned area grows in white instead of its natural black. This method is just as painful as the use of very hot metal, and with none of these methods do the animals get painkillers.
Diseases in the Cattle Barn
LimpingSelective breeding for beef "production" brought animals into existence who tend to accumulate a lot of weight very fast. This places an extreme burden on the animal's body, especially the skeleton. In many herds, more than 10 percent of animals limp due to their excessive weight and hoof inflammations, a common result of poor nutrition. Cattle get special food to fatten them faster at the expense of their health.
The Spread of DiseaseThe overcrowding in barns and in the special feeding facilities cause diseases to spread fast. Many of the dairy cows in Israel (3 to 18 percent) are infected with "subsidiary tuberculosis," a disease that causes the cow to "have constant diarrhea until death." Other common diseases include tick fever, foot and mouth disease, salmonella B and a number of infections. The overuse of hormones and growth catalysts increases the frequency of birth defects of the skeleton, which makes calves so weak thatthey are often too sick to stand or walk. It can also cause nerve disorders, water on the brain, complete absence of the small brain, or even the absence of the cerebral cortex.
"Madness"The most famous bovine disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy ("mad cow disease"), broke out as a result of feeding cattle a mix of meat and bone meal. Feeding cows (who are vegetarians!) meat is done because factory farmers need to find some use for the many carcasses left behind after the more profitable parts are removed. The disease, which affects the nervous system of the cow, is characterized by anxiety, hesitancy, oversensitivity to voices and touch, exaggerated movements when walking, shaking and falling.
Instead of curingDiseased cows and bulls face not only the suffering of the disease, but also close confinement in quarantine for a period that can last many months. Some are slaughtered immediately by the fastest and most convenient methods, which are not always the least cruel.
Transportation: the routes are getting longer
Confined around the globeTransportation is one of the most horrific experiences that cattle go through, even when it only takes a few hours from the farm to the slaughterhouse. In recent years the situation has worsened-as a result of free trade and consumer demand for fresh meat, Israel is now importing live calves. The number of imported calves has increased manifold every year and in the year 2001 reached 100,000. Young calves are transported to Israel from Poland. They are transported by truck to the Netherlands and Belgium, and from there by aircraft to Israel. Older calves are transferred from Australia to Israel: They endure a long journey in Australia in a truck to the port, where they are confined in the heart of a ship for three weeks. When they reach the Aquabah port in Jordan they are loaded on trucks for further transport in Jordan and Israel.
Inside the VehiclesMany animals die on the way, while many others suffer from injuries and stress. Loading and unloading involves frightening the animals, hitting them and using electric prods. Fallen animals are trampled. The overcrowding and suffocation inside the ships and trucks makes it difficult to breathe. The heat can be lethal, and the swaying motions of the vehicles are dangerous and oppressive. Inside the aircraft, the calves suffer from changes in air pressure. En route from Australia the calves have difficulty getting used to the industrial food supplied in the ship after being accustomed to pasture. Calves reaching Israel in the summer months do not have shelter from the sun and they do not even get water.
A life of endless milkings
Families torn apartThe motherly image put forth by the dairy industry exists only in the human imagination. In reality, the cows are artificially inseminated; the male and female offspring are taken from their mothers immediately after birth. This is traumatic for both mother and calf; sometimes the cow expresses her distress by crying for days after her calf is taken.
Industrial feedingAll the cows used for the dairy industry in Israel are confined in narrow industrial spaces during their lifetimes. Some farmers tether them for hours, and in some barns automatic head bolts are used to keep the cows' heads in place head above the feeders while they eat. Once a cow is finished eating, she has nothing to do but to look at her food trough or struggle to free herself to no avail. The food is made of leftovers, by-products, poultry dung and industrial waste.
Sick mothersThe low standard of hygiene found in the barn contributes to the growth of bacteria that cause enteritis, diarrhea, arthritis and other diseases. The forced pregnancies, undertaken to carry on the flow of milk production, bring many complications and diseases: retention of the placenta, abruptio placenta, metritis, edema subcutaneous, infertility, miscarriages, difficult calving and retention of dead calves in the womb. One common and severe disease is hypocalcemia, which occurs immediately after giving birth as a result of an extreme decrease in the level of calcium in the blood. The disease is accompanied by a decrease in body temperature and can cause paralysis.
Milk production "machines"
The udder that grew out of controlThirty to 50 liters of milk pass the udders of "dairy cows" in Israel every day. Only two decades ago, the local cow produced no more than 8 liters of milk in 24 hours. The main change is the result of genetic selection for high productivity, which the cow's body could not adjust to. As a result, many cows limp, and their udders collapse gradually. When direct contact occurs between the udders and the dirt in the shed, diseases and chronic inflammation develop. The inflammation is characterized with fever, swelling, redness and pain, and edema can develop. An infected udder develops scar tissue, which causes additional growth of the udder. The damaged part of the udder never heals and the cow will suffer pain in that area for the rest of her life.
Milking to the EndThe process of milking cows in Israel is completely mechanized. A strong-vacuumed pump is attached to the cows' teats, which causes pain and hurts the sensitive tissue. Four hundred to 500 liters of blood are needed to flow into the teat in order to produce one liter of milk. The huge pressure on the blood vessels of the teat during milking sometimes causes the blood vessels to tear. The biggest amount of milk is produced during the third month after delivery, when the cow loses more calories than she can take in. As a result, she gets weaker, her body's condition deteriorates, and then she is artificially inseminated again.
Milking painIn an effort to increase milk production, dairy farmers try to maximize the number of milkings per day. In Israel it is customary today to milk three times in 24 hours, but the aim is to increase the frequency. For the cows, frequent milkings are a source of pain. The suffering starts when they walk to the milking facility; most of the cows, whose teats are "bursting" with too much milk, push each other by the entrance of the milking facility, hurrying to be milked first and to ease the burden and their pain. Sometimes force is needed in order to goad cows who are in pain and have difficulty walking to move into a narrow yard at the entrance to the milking facility. The urging is done in many cases by means of hitting and electrical prods.
Cause of Death: Milk
CollapseIn spite of the fact that their natural life expectancy is more than 20 years, many cows die of exhaustion after several years of life. The routine of intensive insemination, the frequency of milking, the inflammations, limping and even the difficulty of carrying their body weight all take a toll on the animals' health. The constant stress they experience adds to the physical burden. Some of the cows' legs are very weak and they collapse under the weight of their teats. The weakness is the result of calcium deficiency, caused by the enormous loss of calcium in their milk and also from artificial hormones that cause "osteoporosis." These cows are unable to get up and walk. Usually they are taken away in the easiest, cheapest and cruelest ways. Some farmers pull them on the floor after chaining them to a vehicles, or push them with tractor spoons or forklifts. These practices cause injuries-severe bruising,torn skin and broken bones are common.
Last human touch…Some farmers kill downed cows quickly. But since their meat is hard and its economic value is low, others just leave the sick cows to die slowly without food, water or veterinary treatment. Cows who stay healthy are sent to slaughter when their milk production decreases, and their meat is used mainly for ground meat, soups and animal feed.
They see death all around
Death walkThe suffering involved in the slaughter of cattle, both from the beef and dairy industries, starts with a walk through the maze of metal fences from the trucks to the slaughterhouse. The animals smell the blood of their friends and hear their cries. When trying to resist, the carrier urges them with kicks, metal rods and electric prods.
Slaughtered while still consciousIn most developed countries it is customary to stun animals with an electric current. If this is done correctly, they are unconscious during slaughter. In Israel, due to Jewish and Islamic religious laws, the animals are slaughtered while fully conscious. Animals slaughtered according to the Jewish law (in a process known as Kosher slaughter) are strung upside down for long minutes until their throats are slit. Some are hung by one or more legs while they are still alive. The animals sometimes break their legs and thrash around in pain and fear until their necks are restrained or pincers are placed in their nostrils in order to slit their throats.
Stripping the skinAccording to Anonymous for Animal Rights activists who visited a slaughterhouse, sometimes animals' skins are removed when they are still fully conscious, immediately after their throats are slit while they are still in spasm. The cattle leather industry is inseparable from the beef and dairy industry. Most of the skins used for shoe and coat production come from cattle-and it supplies 10 percent of the total income of the beef industry. In fact, without the leather industry, the beef industry would be unprofitable. As long as there are consumers cattle meat and skin, the animals will continue to endure terrible conditions, suffer violent injuries and diseases, and end their lives as victims of brutal slaughter.
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