In the dairy farming industry the word ‘downer’ has a specific meaning. It is used to describe a cow that cannot get up anymore. This cow has probably given birth 4 or 5 times (after being artificially inseminated from bulls who have been artificially ejaculated). The dairy cow is literally ‘spent’ (another term farmers use to describe her). In her short life she has done nothing but produce milk for humans, while her own babies have been immediately taken away from her, to be killed, if they are male, within a few days. Her daily routines are hard on her body, mind and spirit. She has had suction cups put to her sensitive teets twice a day, and quite likely suffered from mastitis and lameness as they are common in dairy herds. Although a mother, she has never been accorded her natural right to raise her offspring.
When there is a downer in a herd she is immediately carted off to slaughter. ‘I have seen footage of ‘down cows’ waiting to be killed in a European slaughterhouse, too weak to get to their feet, their fear and distress showing in their heaving chests. If you doubt that the life of a dairy cow is harsh, cruel, unnatural, exploitative, unjust, then please watch this video that explains the dairy industry in just five minutes. There are so many delicious plant-based milks, cheese and yoghurts available now at increasingly competitive prices, there is no need to contribute to the cruelty of dairying. When a certain percentage of people switch to a vegan diet a ‘tipping point’ will be reached, and this will lead to the closure of slaughterhouses.
WARNING: The video contains distressing images.