With all of the horrible atrocities and so called rumors that we have heard- about abused factory farm dairy cows on their way to the slaughter house, it might come as a complete shock for some to hear that farmers are now going out of their way to make their dairy farm cows happy. In fact, farmers (according to the Yahoo and the Associated Press) are now giving their injured cows chiropractic care and spinal adjustments instead of injecting them with drugs for pain relief. More comforting pleasures including classical music and waterbeds are even being provided for the cow’s healthy maintenance (we can call it a “Holistic Heifer Wellness Plan).” So why are these farmers treating their animals so good? Here’s a couple of answers, you can believe whichever one you want….
Happy Dairy Farm Cows treated to Chiropractic Care, Classical Music, and More
Cow comfort has become a key concern for the nation’s farmers, who have known for generations that contented cows give more milk. Some farmers have installed waterbeds for their cows to rest on, while others play classical music. And some hire animal chiropractors to give older cows a tuneup and correct minor issues in calves, all part of the effort to ensure maximum milk output.
Do the methods really work? There’s no sound scientific data to back up the claims, but dairy farmers say they can see the difference with their own eyes — cows are giving more milk, the milk quality is improving and the herds seem to be enjoying the indulgences.
“It’s kind of like how an athlete with a sprained ankle isn’t as productive,” said Larry Meyer, 36, whose parents own the dairy farm in Chilton, Wis., where Lucky and another 115 dairy cows live. “If you can get a cow healthy and back to normal, it makes a difference in their productivity.”
Cows can suffer injuries if they slip on a slick spot of concrete or get stepped on by another 1,500-pound bovine, and some calves get their necks kinked during the birthing process. The injuries can cause pain when the animals stand, making them reluctant to jostle for food and leading to compensatory injuries. That, in turn, leads to less milk production.
That’s why farmers are willing to spend about $75 per session for a chiropractic adjustment.”The cows tolerate it incredibly well,” said Gilbertson, the veterinarian. “They may be apprehensive at first, until they figure out how good it feels.”
Richard Conrad installed $70,000 waterbeds on his farm in Grafton, Ohio, about a year ago. It took the 220 dairy cows a few months to adjust to the softer surface but now they seem to enjoy it, he said. The result has been milk with fewer impurities and in greater volume — cows that used to give about 80 pounds of milk per day now average about 90 pounds, Conrad said. However, he couldn’t credit the waterbeds with all the improvement; he also upgraded ventilation in his barns and installed misting technology to keep the herd cool. read more here
I have no doubt that the cows described in this article would indeed produce more milk and do believe that some dairy cow farmers actually care about the welfare of their animals. But please read this sentence again carefully… “Cow comfort has become a key concern for the nation’s farmers, who have known for generations that contented cows give more milk.” Really? Key concern for the nation’s farmers? It counldn’t be because Dairies are going under as milk prices sink? Is this article nothing more than an PR attempt by the dairy industries to influence the public opinion, or is this really how all cows like the article is implying, are being treated?
Here’s the flip side to the AP/Yahoo article that might make many of you quite sick… WARNING: It is not intended for children or those faint of heart. Let’s just call this video “No Bach, Beethoven, Westminster Chimes or Waterbeds for these Cows”
Dairy cows must give birth to produce milk, so they are constantly force-impregnated on dairy factory farms to have a calf every year (their gestation time is 9 months like humans).
Mastitis is the most common and most costly disease onn factory farms that affects 30-50% of all dairy cows. As result from the constant milking and much higher artificially induced milk production than the cow would naturally have, her udder is painfully swollen and distended from bacterial infection - sometimes so large that she can hardly walk. Mastitis wounds ooze with pus and blood, which regularly enters the milk production.
40% of dairy cows are lame at the time they reach the slaughterhouse. Every year, more than 100,000 cows are so sick that they are unable to walk into the slaughterhouse by themselves. Yet they are still produced into meat for human consumption. read more
Now this video indeed may be true but, it also is most likely not the norm. But FYI, first hand knowledge from my family of ranchers that raise organic style beef cattle have relayed similar stories. It certainly gives you something to think about the next time you buy that nice clean plastic gallon of milk at the food store.
One last issue- I noticed that the AP/Yahoo article had some 224 thousand likes. How many of these people are sharing with friends and believing that the majority of commercial dairy farmers are really buying waterbeds for their cows?