Morrison's intends to end the killing of male calves when they are just 48 hours old, which is standard practice across the British dairy industry. But is their alternative any kinder?
Morrison’s has recently announced that it will ban its dairy suppliers from killing male calves on-farm from October. Following our TRASH campaign last October and our exposé of the 95,000 male calves killed in the dairy industry every year, this may sound like progress, but - as with all industries which profit from the exploitation of animals - scratch the surface and dairy remains the cruel industry that it always has been, and always will be.
It’s a sad world we live in when we start heralding supermarkets for encouraging farmers to consider the ‘market value’ of what would traditionally be considered ‘by-products’ of the dairy industry. It is not a praiseworthy move. This PR stunt doesn’t mean that any kindness will be shown to male calves in their brief, slightly extended lives. Morrison’s still has every intention of transporting the calves when they are just 15-40 days’ old to a beef company, where they will be slaughtered at just a fraction of their natural life expectancy.
So instead of being killed shortly after birth, male dairy calves will instead be killed at just five months old for veal, or between one and two years old for cheap beef. In other words, male calves are still being killed when they are just babies or young adolescents.
Cruelty remains inherent in the industry. All calves are separated from their mothers, usually within 48 hours, which causes distress to both the mother and calf. The mother will still be artificially impregnated over and over again and go through the heart-wrenching separation process four or five times in just as many years. Although cows can live up to 20 years of age, dairy farmers push them to exhaustion in the name of profit. Due to ‘milking off their backs’ dairy cows are often emaciated and lameness is widespread. They’re so overworked that by the age of five they are considered spent and sent to slaughter.
The cruelties outlined above apply to all dairy farms, whether they are intensive, grass-fed, ‘free-range’ or organic. Morrison’s has done little to address many of the other cruelties which exist in the dairy industry. There is no way we can forcibly impregnate cows, remove their babies so we can drink the milk meant for four-footed calves, or ‘humanely’ kill these animals when they are no longer seen as profitable by farmers, and pretend it is ethical when we already have so many vegan, kind alternatives free from suffering and death.
In other words, very little about the dairy industry has changed with Morrison’s move to end the killing of male calves at birth, other than showing how desperate the dairy industry is to deceive consumers in the face of healthier, more sustainable alternatives to dairy such as oat, hemp, soya and almond milk.
To find out more about going dairy-free visit: www.scarydairy.org.uk
Watch our TRASH YouTube ad below:
About the Author
Article by Will Sorflaten - one of Viva!'s campaigners. Will has been vegan for nearly ten years, and is committed to making the world a kinder, more sustainable place through veganism. Will has a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University, and works on Viva!'s campaigns, focusing in particular on expanding collaboration on university campuses.