Looking for something?

Reader Interactions


  1. TOM BRYSON says

    I understand how you feel. I am a retired dairy farmer, I just have a few goats now. The most distressing part of the job was dealing with “down” cows either from disorders like milk fever or trauma such as slipping on ice and damaging the pelvis. Metabolic disorders and accidents were less common under the older less intensive systems of management but without intensive dairying milk would be much more expensive for the consumer.

    Tom Bryson http://www.craigardcroft.blogspot.com


    • Tracie says

      Since milk isn’t required for life, I’m not sure why “without intensive dairying milk would be much more expensive for the consumer” matters at all. I’m not a PETA fan but is mass farming really in the best interest of the animals OR the people? Being so disconnected from your food source and what it takes to sustain yourself seems, to me, to encourage the excess and waste that is problematic of society today.

      • Jeffrey says

        And I’m sure you’re producing all of your own food and milking your own cows and churning your own butter to get everything that you and your family eats. Intensive dairies look bad on the outside, but they are actually quite organized and cow comfort and handling is one of the top priorities of every large dairy I’ve heard about and visited. This is what society has become, and large dairies are what have been produced because of it. I’d much rather have several small dairy farms covering the country side like 30 years ago, but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

      • Beth says

        Tracie I loved your post. And its a good question. Dairy items are not a need for humans. And locally I know organic raw milk sells for around $10 a gallon which is a fair price in my view. The milk comes from a small organic family farm.

        • Jeremy R Howdyshell says

          Organic has nothing to do with family farms. Family farms are more likely to be organic, but they’re not the same thing. Organic is also just one of those buzz words that liberals like to throw around because it makes them more money. Organic or non-organic really doesn’t amount to a whole hill of beans and as long as withdraw times are adhered to organic doesn’t mean anything.

        • Holly CoVille Watson says

          Sorry to sound rude but I’m glad you can afford $10 a gallon for milk. What, since it isn’t a “necessity” and I can’t afford it I just don’t get any? Great solution. I don’t care who raises it or what their claims are, I’m not spending $10 a gallon on milk. I have you know…food and gas to buy also.

      • bovidiva says

        Tracie- Almost nothing is “required for life” other than water – we could make that argument about any specific food – does that really mean that we shouldn’t drink milk? Or eat apples? Or tofu? I agree that as a society we are disconnected from our food source, but that’s why I think it’s so important that dairy farmers like Carrie are prepared to tell their story and explain why they do what they do on farms. I don’t see it as a promotion of mass farming (not sure how you define that?) but, as Carrie pointed out, down cows exist in any cow herd – small or large, conventional or organic, dairy or beef – even holy cattle in India. It’s not a consequence of modern agriculture, it’s a consequence of weighing 1,500-2,000 lbs and being a bovine!

        • K Sims (@DarthPagan) says

          I believe that Tracie was responding to Tom’s post, where he (as a retired dairy farmer himself) remarked that a lot of the “Metabolic disorders and accidents were less common under the older less intensive systems of management but without intensive dairying milk would be much more expensive for the consumer. ” Her comment was perfectly reasonable in that context. Where is the tipping point? I too think that less intensive farming methods are the way to go. Do I have all the answers? No. Does any ONE? No. But if it were less challenging for more smallholders to exist, I think more people would be connected with their food, and some of the other issues would sort themselves out. IE excessive antibiotics use, some feedlot issues, etc. Not a magic solution, and with its own problems, but our culture of excess is doing very few of us very many favors.

      • Emily Worrell says

        A fair point that our society is very wasteful and disconnected from our food source. Those are very true statements. However, saying that the price of milk doesn’t matter, even though it is something that millions consume and depend upon, is like taking any other food product and saying we shouldn’t produce much of it it because we can substitute it for something else. Should we stop producing as much corn, because many people have stopped consuming processed grains, and those are not essential for life? The role is not on the food producers to say what society should or shouldn’t have readily available to consume, it is on the consumers to decide what is essential. Once the demand drops, the production will drop. And the bottom line is, any ethical person that makes their livelihood off the products of animals is going to care for them the best they possibly can, or face loss.

    • Carole Beverly says

      “Metabolic disorders and accidents were less common under the older less intensive systems of management but without intensive dairying milk would be much more expensive for the consumer.”

      And there you have the truth. Thanks, Tom!

    • cascadian12 says

      Thank you for admitting that it’s all about the money. In my book, the welfare of the animals is the Number One goal. Our “intensive” farming system is rotten and needs to go. Pigs seem to have it the worst. Under these systems, the cost of food is subsidized by animal cruelty and worker injury. I will gladly pay more (and do) for dairy and eggs and meat (though I’m mostly vegetarian) that are produced according to the highest standards. Farmers should also be paid a living wage and benefits, and be able to afford their land and all the costs of farming. We need more farmers! All of these costs should be covered in the cost of food to consumers.

      People who can’t afford the real cost of food should be subsidized with Food Stamps. Instead, we have a “cheap food” policy that encourages a race to the bottom. I want to see this changed. Who’s with me?

        • The Mean Mama says

          oh my goodness! This made me smile. We have a small hobby farm with a couple dozen animals. Our kids make money off their 4H market animals, my kids learn life lessons from the animals, I laugh at the cows chasing the goat around the pasture, the ducks and chickens keep the mosquitoes under control… financially the only benefit is that its a income loss on taxes every year.

      • John says

        Handling down cows is never about the money, as soon as the cow goes down, and cows in small herds always outside, go down too, the money is already lost. If the cow can’t get up and walk normally she is going to be dead soon, and as soon as she goes down, she can’t be put in the food system anymore unless she gets better.

        One of the worst jobs a cattle farmer has is dealing with down animals. They often go down in places where it is hard to get at them, and they weigh up to 2000 pounds, and don’t come with lifting lugs to move them. Farmers will spend hours trying to get a cow to stand up again, lifting her as shown, carrying feed to her, giving her pain medication, anything to get her up and going. The worst job I ever have as a farmer is when I can’t get a down cow up and I have to end her suffering.

        • Paula says

          I wish that animal barns were always built with the lift accessibility always in the planning . My friends old retired racehorse went down in her stall , and after hours of four adults struggling to get her and keep her up , it failed , the gave up and called the vet to put her down , she was very old , but if it happened outside or in the arena , the lift could have supported her for however long she needed to support her own weight . They were heartbroken , she was the last of her line .

      • Bill Lea says

        I agree the race to the bottom began with the cheap food policies implemented by the USA Check out the committee for economic development established in about 1950. I belong to the National Farmers Organization and remember when the farmers piled up Sears, and M Ward catalogs up in Grant County Wi in protest of those on the committee. It made quite a fire and the national headlines. As you can see they accomplished the goal of removing human resources from agriculture.

  2. Barbara says

    Great info- thank you for taking the time to clarify what is really often going on with farm life. As is so often in life, there is more to the story as you have shown. I’m enjoying your blog!

  3. M.M. says

    Good article Carrie on clarifying a lot of misconceptions! One thing to note – the use of electric cattle prods, particularly on the beef side has become an “only when needed” practice lately. The BQA has really discouraged their use. I’m sure you also only use it when absolutely needed as well but just thought I would point out, similar to some of the other extremes, cattle prods are not used regularly. Its also worth noting, that while the cattle prod does hurt for a second the voltage is often less than an electric fence, which on occasion cattle break through… on their own.

      • Beth says

        So DairyCarrie the electric shock is more akin to when paramedics shock someone whose heart is stopped etc? In that case it makes sense.

        • dairycarrie says

          Kind of but not exactly. If I had to draw a line between cows and humans on this I think I would say it’s more like forcing a person who had knee surgery to walk. As someone who has had knee surgery I know how much it hurts, but if I didn’t get up and walk my knee wouldn’t have healed right.

        • Nancy Campbell says

          The difference is that the PT is able to reason with a human and have a dialog discussing why we have to get up and work that knee. They can explain, in great detail, all the the complications that can arise from not exercising the knee. We understand, can whine out loud and tell them to jump off a pier, but we understand. We cry, we beg, we bribe with cookies, but in the end we *know* that we have to do it. But with an animal, you cannot reason with them, you can talk until dawn about how if they don’t get up they will die. They know one thing, if they get up it will hurt, if they get up they may fall down yet again. We can’t explain all the ways that we can support them, pointing and showing them the help we can provide means nothing to them.

          Yea, it sucks. But consider that we do not speak animal and they do not speak human. They cannot be taught our language so that they can tell us where it hurts and we can’t seem to learn theirs so that we can explain the scary stuff we might have to do in order to help them. We have to take on the role of a predator sometimes. We don’t have teeth to nip at their bodies to encourage them to get up. We don’t have claws to rip their skin in the hope that they will get up to try to escape us. A cattle prod is a lot more kind than being left for coyotes, wild dogs or other predators and it’s a lot more kind than letting them suffer.

      • Elinor says

        I believe Carrie addressed that in the post. She specifically said, she wouldn’t want it used on her for no reason, but if it was a choice between a prod or dying, she would willingly be “prodded”. Not sure why you skipped that part.

      • Mike Haley says

        Growing up I have been hit with an electric prod several times (its called sibling love) while it hurt a bit it is very comparable to touching an electric fence, which we also did often as part of a truth or dare. That said the last time I think I used an electric prod was over a dozen years ago, crossing my fingers I don’t need a reason to utilize one anytime soon.

      • Katherine Brown Hysinger says

        I Have been shocked by a cattle prod. It was purely by accident. It wasn’t pleasant but I have been in much worst pain. Pain inflicted on me by doctors who were helping me. Unfortunately for humans and animals, pain and discomfort can be a necessary evil. Would you leave an injured man at the bottom of a bluff to die because it would cause him pain to be hauled out. Would an er doctor not do a procedure because it caused someone pain. I think not. We are the caretakers of our animals responsible for their well being. As much as it hurts us there are times we have no choice but to take hard steps to help our animals. It is so sad that people who have limited knowledge in the care of animals have such a large voice. I hope that you will take the time to talk to some of your local farmers about your questions. Most of us would be glad to give you an insight into our world with animals.

      • Jamie says

        Have you never went to a doctor and had a painfull procedure? How she explained it’s use it is much the same thing, she uses it to prevent death.

      • The Mean Mama says

        My husband has been tased twice as a part of his police training. He said it was pretty awful, but he survived with no ill effects. Just like animals that are prodded, the goal is for them to survive, if they have ill effects it would be from the original injury not the prod.
        My grandfather ran a small dairy, about 60 head for 30 years. His cows were his livelihood. He was careful with them because the turn over just isn’t that quick. If a cow has to made into hamburger before her time its a 10 month gestation before another heifer is ready to take her place.

  4. rhett says

    There is nothing worse than a down cow on a dairy–except a dead cow. i remember many days and long nights working with down cows to get them cared for and get them up, and usually not in the best of conditions and weather. I am glad you explained this in a factual truthful manner without trying to sugarcoat the realities of the situation. Great work, I hope others outside of the industry will now take a moment to think before they judge.

  5. Cyana Handy Briles says

    Great article, I too have been mean to my cows, and like you, it was because I love them and I want them to live. I recently had to pull a calf ( a few months ago) and I thought if anyone saw a video of it I might be put away. We had to get the loader out to help us pull, we actually dragged the cow a few feet and I had to cut the cow to finally get the calf out, the calf came out with a pop. But the calf was alive the cow let me stitch her back up while she was licking her calf, laying down still. I put the calf in front of her to help her remember what all this pain was about. Then we used the loader to help the cow get up. Once up all went well, the cow was wobbly but happy to be a new mother. Without intervention the cow and calf would have died. I often cry and I often pray when trying to help an animal we do these very difficult things because we love our animals. The animal rights groups taking things out of context are horrible and I wish they would realize that sometimes they are doing more harm than good.

    • Cathy Rubel says

      So how is what you did for the cow different from an episiotomy made by the obstetrician to help deliver the human baby? And no one thinks anything is bad about that.

        • Cyana Handy Briles says

          Makes me cross my legs too. The cow in question was a first time mother and it just seemed like everything was way too tight, the cow would push in labor and it seemed like the opening was not big enough. I had never performed an episiotomy on a cow before but it just seemed like it needed done. I took a deep breath said a prayer and the instant the cut was made the calf literally popped out. Glad I loved my cow enough to be brave enough to do something I had only seen a vet do before. Sometimes in the middle of the night a vet would never make it in time. Sewing the cow up almost took more nerve, but she didn’t really seem to mind, she was happy her calf was out and her labor was over.

  6. oct22Cjg says

    Bravo! Thank you for taking the time to post this. I especially like the scary barn and music effect. 🙂 I hope people really take the time to watch this and learn from it. God Bless Farmers!!

  7. Nicki Gray says

    its all about real knowledge and perspective , I too am a farmer and I hate it when people forget to be REAL and ask others to join them out in make believe world at the expense of others. Thank you for your story and perspective

    • K Sims (@DarthPagan) says

      I’d be okay with them asking people to go along with them. It’s the forcing everyone to their agenda that’s the one I have the problem with. There are very few people in the world that WANT animal cruelty, and the people who want no domestic animals use that to their advantage.

  8. Roberta Mulholland says

    Excellent piece Carrie. Your comment about whether you would want to be prodded or die was perfect, especially the “fresh batteries” comment, which shows how very little prods are used.

  9. Don Schindler says

    Great job, Carrie. Putting things into perspective but also addressing topics that are sensitive to both farmers and dairy customers. Everyone wants the animals to be well taken care of and you guys are doing it in the most humane way possible. I mean, if my dog gets hurt – am I going to let them lie and not get him help or take him the vet? Of course, I’m going to go what’s best the animal so I can get them better.

  10. Wildrosebeef says

    Not everyone realizes that when you have livestock you’ll get deadstock. But most importantly, not everyone understands the kind of “tough love” that has to be given to the animals in our care when their life is in danger. Finally, not everyone understands that a cow is not like most dogs where you can easily pick it up in your arms and carry it away when need be.

    Excellent post, Carrie, definitely sharing this one around.

  11. Mary says

    Thanks for a well done article. I wonder if a PETA person was “down” due to a heart attack, would they want to have Electric paddles used to help jump start it again? Sometimes we are “mean” to humans to save lives as well.

  12. Lana says

    GREAT JOB explaining in a truthful way what you do, what we do, and what all livestock farmers do. If any parent has had to get a reluctant child out of bed, they have experienced just a bit of what you talked about.

  13. TT says

    Great article. We raise beef cows and do lose at least a cow or more a year from going down. This year we had a 2yo heifer go down after a tough birth. We hip hung her for a couple days off an on and she was not getting better. My brother went out to put her out of her misery and she shook her head at him. After a week she very weakly got up and made it through the summer slowly healing. After the Atlas blizzard that hit SD, she was one of the few that was found alive and it was so amazing to see her. She is a fighter!! Thanks for a wonderful article and exposing the truth!

  14. Crystal Leyba says

    Thanks for putting a true spin on this subject! Farmers and ranchers have to take care of their animals if they are going to be successful and it isn’t always a rosey picture.

  15. Laura Medved says

    I grew up on a dairy farm and am now married to a dairy farmer. and I agree 100% with the info you have provided. farmers run a business. our business is to produce milk, happy cows make milk. that’s as simple as I can put it. Good feed, good housing, good sanitation and good handling all makes good milk. it would only stand to logic that abusing your animals is bad for business. (not to mention, you spend all day with these animals, you love them!)
    Thank you for posting and trying to educate the public!

  16. Jeanette says

    Well said!! It’s just as true on my hog farm as it is on your dairy farm, although it’s a bit easier to move a pig than a dairy cow!! But if an animal is down, we will move Heaven & Earth to make it better!

  17. Vanessa LeMasters says

    Thank you for, planning why it’s necessary to do what we do sometimes! When it comes to living or dying, you have to do what you can to make sure they live.

  18. Cheryl says

    Excellent post! I have sheep instead of cows so they are easier to handle in many ways but I’ve had to drag a sheep all the way across the pasture because she was sick and wouldnt get up. If I had left her coyotes would have gotten her before I got back w help. We do what we have to do *because* we love them and because we are responsible for them.. Which most of us take very seriously!

  19. Teri Davis says

    I tired to tell people seeing a post about supposed abuse that the man hosing the cow was trying to get her to stand to save her life. I was told I was wrong to get my head out of my ass and that no rescuer would ever do that to an animal . I said well in my 40 years of rescue and my childhood on a farm tells me you have no idea what you have to put some animals through to save their lives. Not one of these animal rights people has a clue or would be willing to fight for a life in person. I am animal welfare all the way. Animal rights people are about making money via propaganda. Attacking farmers is kind of funny who do they think grows their vegen diet?

  20. Gale Kenworthy says

    Very informative. .. and TRUE… I lived on a daily farm. .. and if you don’t get them up QUICKLY, they will die. .. they are a big heavy animals.. very informative. …..it takes big stuff to move a big animal. ..

  21. Jenny says

    What a wonderful and informative article! It is sad that people are ready to believe what uniformed and extremist organizations post about agriculture without actually gaining any first hand knowledge or education. I have noticed this trend on websites that demean and debase rodeos as well. One particular video shows a horse tripping during a saddle bronc ride (horse injuries are very rare during these events) and then getting up. The guys at the gate then herd the horse back into the holding pens. The video depicts this as “Injured horse forced to run.” Well, anyone who works around livestock knows that if a horse gets up, you dang well let it get up, as a downed horse is also very dangerous, as their body mass will crush their organs. Not only that, but there is no way you are going to “hold” the horse still or down on the ground when it wants to run. The absolute best course of action is to herd the horse to a safe, enclosed space, so that it can be evaluated by a vet, which is exactly what they did.

  22. Julie Anne Bair says

    In March of this year my neighbor bought five cattle from the sale, as he does every year. His intention to pasture them for the summer then butcher them in the fall. This spring he bought a miniature jersey cow (he thought it was a heifer). She had split her hoof getting off the trailer and went down. The other animals stepped on her and broke her femor. When I got involved she had been down for two days and was in very bad shape. The choices were: let her lie there and suffer, shoot her, or, try to get her up and help her. My neighbor brought her to my loft with his front end loader. We rolled her onto the hay floor and I devised a lift out of carpet, rope and chains. It took tremendous effort even though she weighed only 600 pounds but we got her up and suspended her from the rafters. This way she could bear weight on her legs as she was able but have support when she needed it. She ate hay and drank normally and stayed in the sling for about a week. Eventually she built a “false joint” out of cartilage and is now able to be turned out to graze. She doesn’t have a normal joint but it carries her weight and lets her walk, jump, play and run as she chooses. “Mona” has a happy life now but had PETA witnessed some of our actions they probably would have us arrested (if they could). I wonder, if they were Mona, would they prefer to be shot? Or, left to suffer until they died? Just sayin’. Thanks for shedding light on this important topic.

  23. swajgermon says

    Thanks Carrie. We’ve had a bad run of down cows mostly due to metabolic issues. The biggest problem with a pasture based system is the vagaries of nature and drought has hit us pretty hard this year.
    But thanks for explaining this in a factual way. I’m sharing this so that my towny friends can get an understanding of why I’ve been so despondent lately.
    Even my tough as nails hubby has been reduced to tears often lately.
    It’s a tough business not made easier by the pseudo animal welfare groups spreading lies about what we do.
    Keep fighting the good fight. XXOO.

  24. Mara says

    Pretty sure I am like 451 when it comes to getting out of bed. I don’t want to leave because I’m so comfy.

    Nice work!

  25. Andrea Howe says

    Thanks for explaining your reasoning behind some of these methods of caring for your animals, that can be easily misconstrued. I appreciated the lesson 🙂

  26. Gail Lawrence says

    Great Article. I raise miniature goats and they are hard to work with sometimes. I dont have to use heavy equipment, but Pulling kids to save lives is not easy and doesn’t look like fun for the animal, but you do what you have to do for them. I love my little goats.

  27. Kristen says

    Way to go on the article having down cows or any animal is a difficult situation within itself because we can’t get verbal responses back from the cows like doctors can when dealing with sick people! The countless hours, energy, and after tears that go into down and then dead is something people need to know about also. A farmer won’t say it’s quiting time and go to bed they will be there til the end. This might be a bad thing to say but I’ve cried harder and longer over a cow dying than some people that have passed! People just don’t understand how a cow can touch a farmers heart daily, everyday it’s one of those situations you will only understand if you have been there. To the farmer she’s not just a cow!

  28. Chris Mitchell says

    Cows just don’t always want to get up! It happens. And a bloated cow will die if she’s not soon up and relieved of her pressure. The video is great. I have to admit . (My Vegan friends would HATE me!) when I heard “In the arms of the Angels” I cracked up! I know, totally inappropriate but it made me snort milk out my nose!

  29. Janice Person aka JPlovesCOTTON says

    My first visit to a dairy farm included watching a farmer deal with a downed cow when I was getting there. I stood back and watched and wondered… and shot photos & videos. Not because I wanted to cause problems but because I wanted him to explain it all to me. I hadn’t found a way to talk through it on the blog yet, but I have talked a few people through it. Maybe some day.

  30. Jordan says

    Such a nicely written, informative blog! I don’t have any hands-on experience with dairy cattle, so this is a great blog to help me give informed responses to others. Thank you!

  31. holsteinmama1206 says

    From a fellow cow lover and sometimes meanie, thank you for sharing this article! Explaining why we do what we do can be a frustrating task but I think you’ve said it perfectly. In today’s society, we need more and more advocates like you!! Cheers to you and your love of cows and farming!

  32. Kathy says

    I too Love my Cows! I dealt with my first unresponsive downer on Thanksgiving Morning. She had a calf about 1 week old. We did loose her and were very lucky to have a sister cow adopt and nurse her Baby. I have used the hip hoist and tractor 3 times a day with leg messages for 2 months and she is up and walking with the rest of the herd. Knowing first hand that it can be successful made this failure all the more painful.

  33. Reva Campbell says

    We out our dog in a sling once for several hours a day for about two weeks looked un humane but he was paralyzed in his back legs It worked. He is still walking today 14 years old but no vet bill! If the wrong person had seen him hanging under our shed they would have reported us!

  34. Sarah says

    Fantastic!! Thank you for giving people the opportunity to see how “real” farming is done. We undeniably have idiots in Australia that should be of concern to animal activists but majority of farmers do what they do for the sake of the animals. My husband had a piggery and I find I am constantly defending the industry as people only see what the activists want them to see. Rant over !!! Again amazing site. Thank you from Australia!!

    • dairycarrie says

      If you look on the right hand side of the page towards the top you will see a spot where you can enter your email address and get an email when I publish a new post.

      • Naila Costa says

        they can’t get up because they are too heavy, because they were genetically bred to produce more than twice the milk they would do normally. so in a way, they are sick and abused just by the way they were bred to be abnormal. Don’t you think so? and what happens to their children?

        • Elizabeth Haynes says

          Wolfie Vara let me ask you a question…where do you think veal comes from? Most dairy farms raise their calves to be replacement heifers for their own herds or to sell to other farmers. Most farmers pray for heifers just for that reason. Sad fact of life is that bull calves do more times then not, get sold for veal.
          I’m amazed at how many people there are on this thread that have no clue as to where their food comes from, That includes ALL edible foods in the grocery store. It ALL comes from farms of some type.
          For those who find what dairycarrie has to say about being “mean” to her cows, I have to ask…how would you propose to lift an animal that is 1,000+ up off the ground in an effort to save it’s life?

        • bovidiva says

          Naila- Not so – we could equally see a downer cow in a developing country where there is little or no genetic selection and cows only give 7 lbs of milk per day. What do you consider “normal” when it comes to cows? Are you suggesting that our many breeds of dog should look like wolves still?

          As a side-note, humans have children, cows have calves!

        • Teri Davis says

          Stop putting human emotions on animals while animals have feelings they are not human to say that they are is to belittle their value in my eyes. I have seen much kinder and so called ‘humane’ behavior from wildlife than I see in human beings and for that matter mostly arrogant posters who scream bloody murder about topics in which they are not educated in,but brain washed by propaganda by groups that not only admit they do not care about animals, but who just want the money in their pockets.

        • Beth says

          While I strive to be vegetarian I would like to note that nasty comments directed at the owner of this nice blog, by people who profess to be caring human animals is really wrong.

          If I do not desire for whatever reason to eat animal flesh that is fine, but I have NO right to act in an un thoughtful manner be it words or actions. Yes, I think Americans eat way to much of everything, and eat way to much animal flesh. But I refuse to be nasty to someone because of that fact.

          But I have no desire to do anything more than have a thoughtful and thought provoking discussion with those I have differing views with.

          (BIG SMILE) How about we discuss how do we get the local mountain lions to stop eating the local deer, or stop the African lion from chasing and killing and then eating the gazelle. Oh and that eagle that keeps grabbing salmon from the river near our Sierra home and then only eating part of the salmon leaving the rest to rot and go to waste.

        • Ann Flagg Campbell says

          Seriously? Because they are obligate carnivores, humans are not. Google obligate. I will wait. And there is no “trying” or “wanting” to become vegetarian, you just do it. Actually, skip that step because dairy is so cruel, go vegan. For life.

        • Heidi Stevenson says

          Humans are closest to frugivores in our physiology (acid PH, enzymes, etc), like gorillas. Our main diet should be fruit, but we also need smaller amounts of grains, vegetables and meat, YES MEAT, to be healthy. You might notice gorillas eat meat, too. I will never go vegan because I know the long term health consequences. I would rather just buy all of my meat, eggs and dairy from farmers like this. I live in an agriculture economy, (also where ALL cattle are free range – large open fields full of grass, barns for protection), so it’s not hard to find them. I’ve had plenty of neighbors that named all of their cows, played with them, talked to them and took great care of them. As long as the animal lives a healthy, happy, a natural-as-possible lives and they die quickly, why should I have less rights than a cougar or a bear?

        • Ginger Wallace Byers says

          All fruits and vegetables are living things until we pluck them off a tree or pull them off the plant or cut the top of them off. There is a food chain for a reason. We have teeth for eating meat. I don’t judge people for being a vegetarian or vegan but I also ask for those who are to not judge me as well. The next time you eat lettuce just think of how the head was chopped off and the remainder left to die. It’s a very personal choice and people should not be judged for their choice. Just like not judging someone for the color of their skin or their sexual preference. If it doesn’t affect you then let it go.

        • Michelle Nobile says

          Animals are sentient beings – they are cognitive, they can clearly feel pain, discern survival conditions, have specific preferences, express some degree of emotion, etc. For these reasons, sentient beings operate from a more evolved level of consciousness than plant life. Of course people have to eat something to survive. I really wonder how many people would still eat meat if they had to raise and kill their own cows, pigs, and chickens. I cannot imagine ever being able to do that. I do grow my own veggies though and I pick them when they are ripe, ready to fall off the plant anyway. Some fruits and veggies do not even require the plant to die, like peppers, tomatoes, oranges. etc.

        • Mira Bella VonderHeide says

          cows have calves not children. If her farm is like most the females will be used to produce milk males will be sold to other dairies etc. Milk cows are generally not used for meat as they have a different body structure and do not have as much meat on them as a beef cow.

        • Cyana Handy Briles says

          Nice try, lets be totally honest. I raise cattle. I have a personal milk cow because I love drinking raw milk which is another crazy can of worms. I have worked on a dairy for years, now retired. The calves born to milk cows are usually left with their mothers for 24 to 48 hours to get the colostrum they need. The milk from a cow that just calved usually is not kept for human consumption until about the fourth to seventh day after she calves, prior to that it is very yellow and rich with the antibodies, fat and nutrients a newborn calf needs. Most dairies will save this milk and feed it to any bottle calves they are currently raising so it is usually not wasted. Now for some math; half the calves born on a dairy are girls (heifers) and they become future producers of milk, the other half are males (bulls) and they not sold to other dairies, that makes no sense at all, because other dairies are birthing 50 percent bull calves also! You only need one bull for every 25 cows and a good bull can service twice that many cows and more if he is young. Many dairy artificially inseminate most of their cows and don’t keep many bulls at all. So what happens to those bull calves? Well they DO get sold to people who raise them for meat. They don’t butcher out the same as a beef breed of cattle do when they are slaughtered but they still produce meat. A dairy breed of cattle might dress out at 50% where a beef breed might dress out at 65%. What this translates to is that a dairy breed of cow is bred to produce milk and a beef breed is bred to make muscle. But still a cows highest and best use in this country is to produce milk and beef and dairy cows produce both very well. Ultimately it comes down to taking care of our animals the best that we can keeping them as healthy and happy and productive as possible. I believe in animal rights and animal welfare groups serve a purpose, they keep those of us who raise animals on our toes, they infuriate us with their often biased skewed points of view put they do police us in their way. I think diplomacy and honest communication are vital to both sides finding a middle ground. Carrie has done a wonderful and commendable job at honestly portraying what she does for a living, she does it with kindness and compassion. There will always be people who think exploiting an animal for it’s milk or flesh is horrendous and they are entitled to their opinion. I just wish they would be as honest as Carrie has been. The videos made to shock us are not truthful, just shocking. I would admire those videos and think they would make just as much impact if they kept to the facts of what is true abuse. There is enough in their videos showing true abuses and people who abuse animals should be dealt with in a serious manner. I have two 400′ poultry houses, cage free, organic grocery store eggs is what I raise. My farm houses approximately 20,000 hens. I recently had my employees contacted by an animal rights group and they were offered an ungodly amount of money to film abuses on my farm. They were told they would only be paid for video of abuse. They were told the types of things they could do to make things look abusive, like playing with an almost dead chicken, etc. Thank goodness my employees like me and respect me. The money they were offered was equal to about half a years salary. Anyone wonder if bribing someone to video abuses would ever cause abuse????

        • Carole Beverly says

          I don’t believe people are bribed to make video of abusive animals situations. Animal investigators who want convictions need to be squeaky clean about how they obtain evidence, or the perpetrators will not be convicted, which is difficult to do in any case because there are not enough laws protecting animals from abuse.

        • dairycarrie says

          The groups who release these types of videos don’t care much about the abusers being convicted in court. They want the industry as a whole convicted in the court of public opinion.

        • Carole Beverly says

          While I know there are a few groups that want to appeal strictly to emotion, there are groups (e.g., the Humane Society) that are very concerned with getting convictions. As someone concerned about animal welfare, the last thing I want to see is unethical behavior from animal investigators (yes, investigators have to come from the activist community, because the official regulators aren’t doing squat), as that tarnishes what they are doing.

          As far as “the industry as a whole,” I’ve never known investigators to go after small well-managed organic farms with pastured animals. The abuses happen overwhelmingly in the large factory farms with workers each responsible for thousands of animals.

        • dairycarrie says

          Is it not unethical for HSUS to use commercials that allow people to think that their donations will help shelter animals when HSUS doesn’t spend that money to help shelter animals?

          I think it’s unethical.

          Again, my neighbors milk 40 cows and their milk went to the same company as Wiese’s milk. You don’t think that MFA’s actions have hurt them as well?

        • Cyana Handy Briles says

          In the case of my employees I will gladly say they were bribed! Offering someone almost half a years salary and then tell them they will only get paid if they show abuse and also then tell them HOW they could make it look abusive is criminal. There are plenty enough laws protecting animals from abuse, just like there are plenty enough laws protecting children and women from abuse. The laws themselves won’t stop the abuse.

        • Carole Beverly says

          Cyana, You have just completely discredited yourself. Don’t you know that livestock is largely exempt from anti-cruelty laws??? There are very FEW laws protecting animals in general, much less livestock.

        • Carole Beverly says

          Scroll down to exemptions. Since exemptions apply to “commonly accepted husbandry practices,” and that covers a LOT of ground, you basically have no protection for normal farming operations, and very few for the “bad apples.” What usually happens in the latter cases is the employees get fired and the buyers of these animals (they have contracts with the growers) put on a show about how shocked and saddened they were by the whole thing and nothing changes.




          Anything else?

        • dairycarrie says

          You have cited 3 animal rights websites here. Can you provide non biased information here?

          Yes there are practices on farms that don’t apply to pets. So there are some differences in how laws are applied but that doesn’t mean that farm animals are not protected.
          The abusers in the video at the calf ranch in Colorado have all been charged. I am sure the abusers in this new video will also be charged.
          I am all for strengthening anti animal cruelty penalties. I think that farmers should be the ones spearheading the efforts.

        • Cyana Handy Briles says

          Okay you win Carole! I own “LIVESTOCK” for profit. I also like to eat “LIVESTOCK”. I also love the animals I raise, I also care about how they are treated. AND I don’t know about the laws concerning anti-cruelty or how many there are. I know what I think is cruel and what is not. When you lobby and win and there are new laws for me to abide by I just wonder who gets to decide what is cruel?

        • Carole Beverly says

          Do you have proof? Carrie asked me for evidence of my claims, which I gladly provided. Surely you can do the same.

          BTW…I came to this blog with an open mind, but I’m starting to feel hostility that can only come from people who have something to hide.

        • Carole Beverly says

          What comments would those be?

          Regarding the sites you call biased because they come from sources concerned about animal welfare, they are not. It’s a typical defense to call the sources “biased” when you don’t like the conclusions. But these sites all cite verifiable facts, like how many states exempt farm operations from animal welfare laws (most of them), which is exactly what I told you. If you don’t believe the facts, I can’t help you.

        • liveonabeeffarm says

          I too farm, and some people are bad. We have pigs, well a man was coming to buy a pig for his family. This pig was fully raised and ready to butcher. He was purchasing it alive and taking it home. He came to our farm and I did not like the way he talked or treated this pig. Needless to say he is not welcome back and we no longer do any business with him. Its a judgement call when it comes to farm animals. Not all farmers are bad because they eat meat and drink milk. Its like a business owning a liquor license, they dont make everyone an alchoholic and create bad crowds and fights.

        • Jamie Whittaker says

          They are definitely paid and bribed to stage abuses. There was a law passed recently which prevents people from fraudulently obtaining a job to investigate abuse in animals. In many cases the people filming the abuse were part of the scene. Did you ever wonder why the person doesn’t put down the camera and stop what is going on? HSUS lost their recent law suit against Ringling Brothers in large part because their key witness was an ex-employee of Ringling Brothers that was on the HSUS payroll for the entire time the suit was in litigation (about 3 years I believe). PETA believes that the ends justify the means, they are willing to break laws and do whatever it takes to prove abuse. When confronted once about staging abuses for film the reply was that they only staged it because they knew it was true and couldn’t find another way to get it on film. So it’s ok for them to abuse animals to prove a point?

        • Carole Beverly says

          You’re referring to “Ag-gag” laws, which you should oppose if you are truly concerned about farm animal abuse. I am completely opposed to them. There is nothing wrong with taking a job in a farm under false pretenses with a goal of videotaping any abuse that goes on there. That is NOT unethical; it’s investigation. Would you oppose this in a childcare center if it could uncover abuse? When we have closed-circuit TV in all the factory farms monitored 24/7, people won’t need to take farm jobs under false pretenses.

          Do you really think people do this for the hell of it or to make money??? It’s much easier to deny the truth. The truth needs to be shown. It is extremely difficult for investigators to not do anything when the abuse is happening, but the point is to get evidence and convictions. If they stop the abuse, they will get fired and the abuse will continue. Get it??? All this is VERY different from being bribed to stage abuses!!! Do you have any evidence that such bribes ever took place?

          Your statement about Ringling Bros doesn’t make sense. The witness was an ex-employee working for HSUS. Is there a point here?

        • Jamie Whittaker says

          The Ringling case is true, the judge certainly felt that the witness had a conflict of interest. He wasn’t hired until the lawsuit came up. Then they found him and put him on the payroll so he would be available to testify.

          As for the Ag-gag laws, when an investigator takes a job in order to frame the employer that should be a crime. It’s fraud if nothing else. I don’t think that people stage these things to make money, I think they truly believe they are doing a good thing. I also think they are very misguided.

          I know many people that work in all areas of the “animal industry” from farm animals to pets and there is one thing that they all have in common. They love the animals they work with. Working with animals in any capacity isn’t lucrative, and some of it is hard work, some times it’s heart-breaking, and if they didn’t love the animals they wouldn’t, they couldn’t do it.

          Many people seem to feel a need to interpret everything they see in a negative light. I don’t understand it. I have seen videos that were obviously staged. I sat in courtroom one day and watched the video of someone placing a dead bird in a water dish because it looked worse that way. They didn’t realize that part was caught on film, it was their film. I believe that many of the ultra animal rights people are pawns being inflamed and used by others.

          The ultimate goal is to end the use of all animals and that includes having no pets in your home. Most people don’t believe that, imagine how surprised they will be when they are losing their pets and they realize that they were part of the army that made it happen.

        • Ginger Wallace Byers says

          I buy and raise the bull calves for beef. 20% of beef purchased at the grocery store comes from a Holstein or other breed of dairy steer. Many times the meat is premium meat and a better quality than from a beef steer. I treat my calves like my babies. I play with them and talk to them the entire time I am doing my chores. I check on them at least twice a day (sometimes 3 or 4) and they are fed premium milk replacer and starter feed and they are on full feed for their entire life. When I lose a calf, I cry. It sucks. I raise animals for food and I give them the best possible life I can while they are here. I do give antibiotics. How would you like to suffer through illness until death without someone giving you any medicine at all? I think that is animal cruelty. I urge everyone to spend a week on a farm and if you don’t get attached to the animals in that short amount of time and wouldn’t treat them to the best of your ability then I would seriously question you, not the people who do it for a living.

        • EJ Douglas says

          When I had my sons I produced enough milk to feed FOUR babies. So I bagged it and donated it to a place for premies that needed it. Am I genetically altered? I think not. You have NO idea what you are talking about. DairyCarrie had done an EXCELLENT job explaining how and why things are done. I’ve worked on both a beef cattle farm AND a dairy farm, so I can speak from experience. Go watch Dr. Pol on Animal Planet. He’s a VET and he will tell you she is not doing anything wrong. As for Vegan or vegetarian. Uh, we have CANINES for a REASON. We need meat in our diet to be healthy. PS- PEOPLE have children. Cows have calves.

        • Carole Beverly says

          I’m just curious: Have you tried nursing while you were pregnant, because I’ve heard it’s very painful. Of course, this is standard operating procedure with dairy cattle, who have abnormally large udders and often suffer from mastitis as a result.

        • dairycarrie says

          Carole, many women nurse while they are pregnant with another child.

          Tell me how mastitis is a result of “abnormally large udders”? Tell me what size an udder is supposed to be on a cow?
          You seem know a great deal about dairy cow lactation.

        • Carole Beverly says

          OK, I’ll take the word of people who have direct experience of nursing while pregnant with another child. I only have the word of my sister whose experience was that it was very painful.

          Regarding the size of udders, of course all dairy cows have abnormally large udders, because they have been selectively bred that way. I don’t know much about cow lactation, but I know how to do research on a wide range of subjects. While I haven’t finished researching the link between mastitis and cow physiology, I came across a link that at least references how bacteria gets into the teats. This may be more a factor of constant milking than of physiology per se. Most references simply talk about treatment, and not causes, as if it’s a given that cows get mastitis.


        • bovidiva says

          Carole- If you’re serious about researching this, I’d suggest you look at the peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of Dairy Science, all of which are open-access after they’ve been published for a year. That will give you a solid basis from which to learn.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “of course all dairy cows have abnormally large udders” – what is your reference point? Just as we have bred labrador dogs to look like labradors and not like greyhounds, a dairy cow does not look like a beef cow. It’s not bad, wrong or harmful, just a function of breeding. A non-lactating dairy cow will naturally have a smaller udder than a lactating dairy cow – that does not mean that the lactating cow is abnormal. Again, it’s just like nursing mothers – women can increase by up to three cup sizes when nursing!

          Bear in mind that cows are not constantly milked – most cows are milked twice per day, some three times, for about 10 minutes or so each time. Bacteria gets into the teats most easily right after milking because the teat canal is open for a short period of time post-milking, allowing bacteria to travel up it into the udder, however, this is not a function of breeding. It’s exactly the same mechanism by which nursing mothers get mastitis, or indeed lactating beef cows or sheep. I’ve had to treat ewes for mastitis that had never been milked nor been selected for udder size.

        • Carole Beverly says

          My reference point would be that cows produce much more milk now than they used to in the recent past, so udder size must accompany that:


          (please correct any facts that are wrong in the above blog). My THEORY is that the size of the udders (to carry 58 lbs of milk?) has to stress the udders to the point where they become susceptible to bacterial infection, but I have not yet found a study confirming this (I’m still looking). But I will look at the Journal of Dairy Science and ask my brother, who is a veterinarian (who once worked on a dairy farm), about this.

          Thanks for a very lucid and non-defensive answer to my post. I appreciate your sharing this information.

        • Jillaroo says

          Um, breaking in here a little bit..
          We breed beef cattle in Australia, and I would just like to add, that some of our beef cows, purebred bos indicus cattle, have exremely large udders..
          Some don’t. our milking cow, a jersy is one that has a small udder.
          I think sometimes its just like women, some have big boobs, some don’t..
          genetically big udders on cows produce more milk, so are more common in dairy farms.. that doesn’t mean other cattle also don’t have ‘big boobs’ and it doesn’t mean milking cows cant have little ones..
          We sell our beef cows with big udders, because it is not practical here for them to have such large ones, on a free range cattle station, we cannot be checking them every day for injury to that area, and yes, they produce far too much milk for their calves, so get ill from it as well.
          So if you were to visit our farm, you could make an argument about how ‘see beef cows don’t get bit boobs like dairy cows, which must mean dairy cows are genetically altered some how’ but infact it is because we sell all the cows that are too big in that area..
          Just like a dairy farm probably sells the smaller sized dairy cows on..

          only my 2 cents.. have fun 🙂

        • EJ Douglas says

          Carole, I am 5 feet tall and have 34 DDDD boobs because NATURE decided that’s what I needed. Again, NOT genetically or otherwise altered. I have had mastitis myself. It HAPPENS. It’s not a “given” as you so naively stated. If you would use some other sites that weren’t so biased and one sided you might actually learn something. I personally believe you are continuing to come on here just to be ugly and see yourself talk.

          Below is the REAL definition of mastitis which is the SAME in ANY lactating Mammal, human, cow, dog, etc…

          Mastitis is inflammation of tissue in one or both mammary glands inside the breast. Mastitis usually affects lactating women – women who are breastfeeding, producing milk. Hence, it is often referred to as lactation mastitis. The patient feels a hard, sore spot inside the breast. Mastitis can occur as a result of an infection or a blocked milk duct.

          According to studies, mastitis seems to affect approximately 10% of all breastfeeding mothers. However, study results have varied significantly, some indicating only 3% while others say 33% of women are affected. Mastitis, when it does occur, tends to emerge during the first three months after giving birth – but it can occur up to two years later. In rare cases mastitis can affect women who are not lactating.

          Some mothers mistakenly wean their babies when they develop mastitis. In most cases breastfeeding can continue during mastitis.

          The English word “mastitis” comes from the Greek word mastos meaning “breasts”, and the suffix “-itis” which comes from Modern Latin itis meaning “inflammation” (“itis” originally comes from Greek).

          According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, mastitis means “Inflammation of the breast.


        • EJ Douglas says

          Mastitis is a medical condition NOT caused my abnormally large udders that EXCLUDES the cow affected from being milked. At the dairy I worked at, they were pulled out and treated by a Vet until the condition cleared. As for nursing while you are pregnant. Yea, I did. And NO it wasn’t any different.

        • Cyana Handy Briles says

          Carole: My mother had six kids in about seven years, she nursed while pregnant for quite some time. She said she even nursed an older child and a newborn a few times because she had so much more milk once she gave birth again. Funny she never commented about how “very painful” it was. She did say she felt like a milk cow for several years…Hmmm might need to go call my mother and ask about this.

          Most dairy cows are dried off and allowed at least two months without being milked some much longer. I don’t know that my mother allowed herself much time off from lactating, I actually think she rather enjoyed it, as least from her stories.

          Your comments here Carole are very inflammatory and I’m just curious: Have you yourself tried nursing while pregnant? Do you have any children? Who get’s to say that dairy cattle have “abnormally large udders”? Yes most have large udders, but what is abnormally large? And can you show me where large udders correlates to increased mastitis? Because it aint’ so.

          If Carrie had anything to hide I don’t think she would blog her dairy life for all to see.

        • Carole Beverly says

          Why are my comments inflammatory? I haven’t tried nursing while pregnant. If I had, I would know the answer and wouldn’t have asked the question. Unlike you, I’m not defensive about the truth, no matter which way the chips fall.

          I’m continuing to research a possible link between large udders and mastitis. I may be wrong, but I will find out. I’ll let you know.

        • Teri Davis says

          You say animal welfare but you describe animal rights and lobbyists. You are very wrong about no laws covering livestock and animal cruelty. The laws are not only set by federal USDA but states as well as all the way down to a township level.. In fact when the Society for Prevention to Cruelty to ANimals was founded (and she would roll over in her grave if she knew what it had become) It was started for LIVESTOCK aka horses. So tout all you want fling words like welfare but if you walk like a duck and talk like a duck and QUACK like a duck I am calling you a self serving animal rights activist who disgusts me to the core. I am CEO of an animal welfare that assists existing shelters. I go out every day and fight for animal lives. What have you done today besides spout from your lobbying soapbox. Thanks Carrie for loving your animals.

        • Jillaroo says

          Its upsetting that you are doing such a biased study.
          trying to find evidence between large udders and mastitis, you will most certainly come up with something..
          but at the end of the day, your study will not have respect, because it will have been done in such a biased and closed viewpoint.
          Pollyanna always said, if you look for the bad in someone you will always find it.
          same goes for looking for the bad in the ag industry. you can find it. This doesn’t make us all bad… only means you have found bad things in a generally good thing.

          If you want to do a study that will have both meaning and respect, look for the general causes of mastitis and who is suseptible. You will find that all cattle can get it, along with sheep, goats dogs and even people.
          and most importantly, it is not generally caused by big boobs. It is caused by a lot of other factors, which sometimes are made worse by big boobs. But never directly caused by it..

        • Matt Plowman says

          Why is she(Carol) not corrected with the fact that a large udder has nothing to do with the amount of milk the animal produces. The AI world has made leaps and bounds toward nice high udders and yet the milk curve has gone up for decades in efficiency which translates to a smaller carbon footprint.

        • Kristy Hill Campbell says

          Wow. You really know nothing about cows. Cows across the WORLD, in countries where they do not breed for milk production, still weigh 800-1300 pounds depending on breed. Cows are not ‘miniature’ animals. How much can you bench press? Their ‘CHILDREN’? You mean their calves. Their calves are typically fed and raised until they enter into the production chain. Unfortunately I feel like my response is only going to fuel more ignorant rants.

        • Jody Stafford says

          Naila, I am 60 yrs old and was raised on a farm. Downers doesn’t just reply to cows, but horses too. Our cows and horsed were not over bred, genetically bred to do any thing, But a large animal that is down and can’t get up is in trouble. If you have ever watched National Geographic, Elephants and Rhinos have the same problem.

        • Dawn Panda says

          Naila, I raised Angus cattle. They are a light-boned, well-muscled animal. Ours were pastured, a very small (hobby) herd of 20 cows on 40 acres. Even with these well-exercised animals (bred for MUSCLE), on a few occasions, we had a cow down. Milk fever (calcium imbalance), calving, injury–it happens. It has nothing to do with being bred to produce milk.
          Any large animal, whether equine, bovine or elephant, runs the risk of circulation loss if it is down for an excessive amount of time. It has nothing to do with what they’ve been bred for; it’s simply the physiology of large prey animals.
          Unlike Carrie, I have, btw, been hit with a cattle prod (I have five older siblings). It’s very unpleasant, but not nearly as bad as smacking my funny bone on a doorjamb or stubbing my toe on a cold morning.

  35. Charmayne says

    I’m so happy to see this article. And not only that, but to see all the positive comments that aren’t normally associated with an article of this type. I hope people continue to view this as a worthwhile article to learn about the truth behind why we do what we do. I may not be a dairy farmer, but I work with beef cattle and my dad is in the beef industry and used to haul cattle for a large company (beef as well as dairy), and occasionally cows would go down on him. But because of all of the negativity surrounding the tough love we give these animals my dad and his coworkers were prohibited from using the tools necessary in some cases to save the lives of these animals because video cameras were present. Hopefully, though, with articles like this we can turn the tide and allow for positive change to come about. Again, thank you for the wonderful article, and please keep continuing to help in the battle for Agvocacy!

  36. Rachel says

    Hi Carrie, I loved your post about being “mean” to your cows. I am a new rancher and blogger and I have a hard time explaining how we treat our cows to the general public. We love our cows too but some of the things we have to do to them–for their own good–are seen as cruel. Thanks for writing exactly what I have been thinking!

    • Matt Plowman says

      As a farmer also I explain it like going to the dentist, nobody looks forward to going and there may be pain but is necessary. Maybe just maybe a city slicker could grasp that analogy. And there are plenty of examples: pulling a calf, hooftrimming, vet checking(I dont want an arm up my arse) but its necessary for there health and well being.

      • Beth says

        Yes, there are some (not all) vegans who can be mean spirited and judgmental rather than constructive in conversations per not eating animal products. Yet, I have also encountered a good number of animal product consumers who can be mean spirited and judgmental about vegans and vegetarians. Both type people tend to be for me, the type who are defensive rather than thought provoking.

        Would also like to note that personally I have encountered far more new rural folks who have no idea where their food comes from than all my friends and acquaintances that number in the thousands who live in places like San Francisco, Berkeley, NYC, Paris etc. It would seem there are far more suburbanites who have no idea where their milk, egg, meat comes from.

        It pains me (literally) when I see or read comments that are hurtful to either vegan/vegetarians or animal food eaters. Why? Because its akin to building a bigger wall, rather than a bridge.

        • Ria Greiff says

          I understand everything that you and Rosie are saying, but these people were calling “Abby” a cunt, a whore and a bitch. They were not trying to help this cow on any level but were taking great pleasure in harming her. Don’t compare yourselves with these monsters.

  37. S Harter says

    I am so glad that you posted this and I wish there was a way that you could force people to read it. I, too, love my cows…but have also been mean to them. The one that sticks most in my mind is a cow that had a pinched nerve after having a 136 lb bull calf…I think that’s equivalent to a 12 lb baby in people terms…pretty big boy. She went down in our box stall…would not get up for anything so it took 5 of us and a winch to drag her out onto the walk of our barn to get her into the float tank…which I have to say is a pretty cool invention…water therapy for cows. She stayed in the float tank for 36 hours, went on a muscle strengthener and I am happy to say that she just calved with a 125 lb bull calf…go figure…and still has a very bright future on our farm. I hated to see the trauma she had to go through to get her into that float tank, but in the long run, it was well worth it. Animal rights activists, if they want to be true to their cause, should really investigate and report on the whole story. Yes, there are people out there who abuse animals. They should make sure THOSE are the cases they are fighting against…not the good people who truly care for their profession and way of life to ensure that their animals are healthy and have the best life possible.

    • Janet Gerl says

      So you don’t think keeping 4,500 cows in metal buildings is cruel? I think you’ve j ust become accustomed to it, that you don’t see that it is so far from unnatural. It’s not a healthy, natural way to live. Mother Nature never intended for there to be milk cows for starters, and then to breed them for these humungous udders that are so distortedly large, when they calf they are separated from their young and put back into the milk factory while their calves are locked up in little calf starter huts (cruelty). Your just so deep into this you can’t even see the bizarreness of it from afar. No one and I mean no one should have an operation where they care of 4,500 cows. And the picture of you kissing 1 of the 4,500 cows like it’s your pet. Really…….who are you trying to scam?? The only reason you have 4,500 cows is because you want to make money……as much money as you can…..so you keep adding more and more cattle. By the way, how long does the average cow live in one of these farm factories…..tell the truth….because there are statistics that I can check. You know for a fact that their life is shortened because of their unnatural living conditions.

      • bovidiva says

        Unless I’ve missed something huge, Dairy Carrie has 100 or so cows. Heck, why not go the whole hog and suggest she has a million cattle?!

        • Dean Wiegert says

          Never the less, Janet Gerl has a point. These animals are so overbred that they cannot even lay down for any length of time as attested to by Dairy Carrie. That is unnatural. The cow does not want to get up, the cow probably has given up. Life as a dairy cow, pumped with hormones and antibiotics, force bred, denied of natural maternal behaviors in feeding and caring for its young, often confined for most of its life on cement, and usually living an unnaturally short life IS NO FUN. We should not be making excuses for abuse as documented on video.

        • Janet Gerl says

          Dairiecarrie, if you have 100 cows on your farm, I apologize. My statements weren’t directed at you. I clicked on a link someone posted to facebook, regarding the Weise farm problems…..it was posted to look as though you were part of the Weise farm management. Why would someone post your information to show people that the disasters on the 4,500 cattle dairy farm is not a big deal. Doesn’t this prove that most people don’t have a clue?

        • bovidiva says

          Dean – That’s not the point at all. Downer cows are those that cannot get up because they have trapped a nerve, damaged themselves or have had a hard time calving, not just those who can’t be bothered to. Modern dairy cows lie down for a substantial portion of their day because it actually aids with digestion, just as their ancestors would have done – there is no effect of “overbreeding” whatsoever. Dairy Carrie does not make excuses for abuse and states that it should not happen, as have all the dairy producers who have commented on this post. Suggest that you read it again and comment appropriately rather than spouting hyperbole.

        • Kelly Carter says

          I work with horses, and am relived to read this post. There is a fine line between abuse and necessary firmness. These animals are big and we do need them to respect us so that everyone stays safe. I also find that horses I have worked with who respect me struggle less if they are in a situation that requires me to administer some sort of medical aid. A struggling animal will often hurt itself more.

          But more to the point, dairy cattle are not the only animal who can not lay down for long periods of time. Horses, buffalo, beef cattle and any other large critter can not breathe properly if they lay down to long, and because of their weight they will severely damage their muscles and are at risk of all sort of septic infections such as ganggreen that takes place after you get them up. They also often go into shock and die before anything can be done. The way that dairy cattle have been bred does not make this worse or in any way more difficult for them. It is a fact when you own and work with large animals. And yes sometimes you have to be downright cruel to get an animal up especially if it has started to go into shock.

          Secondly, as much as a dairy farm is not “natural”, these animals are not pumped up with steroids or antibiotics as you claim (at least not in Canada). Any animal who needs any treatment with any drug must come off the line and her milk gets tossed down the drain. A farm could loose its quota if they get caught dong anything other than that. Same goes with beef. They are not allowed injections of any kind within several months of slaughter if they are going for human consumption, and some drugs they are not allowed to receive ever.

          I am a firm believer that all of the “animal rights” groups need to understand the industries they criticize before they should be allowed to scream cruelty. Most of them think that any animal in an “unnatural” setting is cruelty. Catch is most of our domesticated animals are unable to servive in a “natural” wild environment, and those groups never remember that fact. Also, down in the US where horses can no longer be sent to slaughter, many have been left to starve to death or turned loose to be hit by cars and starved on their own. So which is really more cruel? I can tell you if you can’t afford to feed an animal you sure can’t afford the $500+ that it costs to humanly euthanize an animal, and the market has been so bad that selling is often not an option.

        • Meredith Skurkey says

          Why don’t you go observe a herd of Cape Buffalo in Africa and tell me how much time they spend laying down for extended periods of time? Large prey animals are not evolved to to spend long periods of time in “leisure positions” because they will get eaten. To state that these animals have acquired these problems because of selective breeding for production characteristics is simply ignorant.

        • liveonabeeffarm says

          Most farmers do not use hormones anymore. I know in our area your milk tank gets dipped before the buyer will take a load. If you come back with a positive test the load is rejected. Which would lead to a termination of contract, which would then lead to a bankrupt farm.

      • Dorotha Davis says

        Unless you have ever lived , breathed slept and eaten farming, you really need to shut up. Your statics are a lot of crap because the people gathering them LIE to make FARMERS look bad, where do you think your food comes from the grocery store ?? nature had NOTHING to do with making huge milk udders on a cow , GOD made cows as part of the food chain milk and meat both, personally I would LOVE to sit back and watch all you people that trash talk hard working farmers raise your own food , that would be a show .HA You take everything you have for granted give NO thought to where it comes from nor what people that produce it go thru so you can eat , drink or what ever , grow up get off your high horses , be very thankful for the FARMERS that do what they do so YOU can eat and live comfortably. OH BTW I HAVE LIVED THE LIFE SO I KNOW !!!!!!!!

        • Beth says

          Dorotha Davis your comments on December 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm where you said ‘Unless you have ever lived , breathed slept and eaten farming, you really need to shut up’, does not make much sense in many ways.

          Does this mean if I have not owned a factory in Bangladesh that I have no right to comment on my view that the plants need to have humane and safe working conditions, because of recent news stories of hundreds and hundreds of workers dying either in fires or collapsed unsafe building?

          Under cover law enforcement often ‘stand by’ as someone is being hurt in order to make a strong case for arresting and getting a conviction. In fact a recent story on the arrest of dozens of men for child pornography where the abuse of the children in question was not stopped a year ago when first discovered continued because law enforcement needed a lot of proof to make an air tight conviction.

          So how is that different from someone who has been told there is animal abuse occurring, filming under cover, yet not stopping the actions?

          One thing I will say for local small ranchers is the ones I know allow you come by to visit, but you do have to agree to put on booties over your shoes, and a hair net if you want to be around their animals because they do not want nasties being brought in that could harm their animals. ALL the organic food growers like the ones who sell at the certified organic farmers market and CSA’s allow visitors but also have safety rules.

          And ALL my vegan/vegetarian and carnivore friends who have yards grow some of their own food and ALL know and care where ALL their food comes from. Unlike the average Americans (IMO).

          Do YOU know where ALL of the food that you BUY, comes from?

        • Ang (@AngelaIrene27) says

          Do you really think we started drinking cows milk because God created cows for us? We started drinking cows milk because cows are herd animals and humans discovered cows are easy to contain and control. It’s not like we struck nutritional gold when we started drinking cows milk. It’s not even a healthy or necessary thing to drink. It’s a commercial product that has billions of dollars behind it in advertising. Do yourself(and the cows) a favor and wean yourself.

        • liveonabeeffarm says

          You do realize milk products are in most products. To “ween yourself” you would be giving up chocolate, ice cream, coffee cream, frosting on cake, almost all flavored pastas, pumpkin pie, soup, cream cheese, every cheese, yogurt…think about that the next time you eat a dorito, snickers bar, pasta roni, or stop for ice cream on a hot day. Maybe God did put cows here to share the wealth of their milk. Maybe he did give us grapes for a good wine. Maybe he whispered to someone to place a bucket under Bessi and feed his family her milk and churn some butter. He had Noah build an arch. Maybe he told the farmer to drink the milk and feed his neighbors.

        • Ang (@AngelaIrene27) says

          Um, do you realize all the products you listed above are available dairy free? And pretty much all the food you mentioned above is also processed and not healthy to eat anyways. I am 100% dairy free. I grew up on it, but I luckily discovered later on there is no reason for it. I don’t eat cheese(that was the only thing that was mildly difficult to give up). The rest was easy peezy. Real chocolate is just cocoa, cocoa butter(which is NOT dairy), lecithin, sugar, vanilla, etc. Only when it’s milk chocolate is there dairy in it. There are a ton of non-dairy ice creams if you need a lil ice cream in your life(Coconut Bliss is delicious), there are plenty of non-dairy coffee creamers out there, and there is also almond, coconut, soy yogurts. You don’t need dairy in soups, pastas, pies, etc…. So yes, I am 100% weaned. I hope people can take an honest look at the dairy industry and see them for what they are, a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off the backs of innocent cows. They spend billions of dollars in advertising, making people think their products are “health foods”, when that is far from the truth. Does anyone wonder why our country is one of the top consumers of dairy(which the dairy industry promotes as “good for the bones”), yet we have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis and bone fractures?

        • Jacqueline Curley says

          Do some natural health research and you will find that modern society has a huge problem with thyroid disease, and raw milk and dairy products are one of the most effective foods to help stabilise those conditions, along with grassfed meat broth and gelatine and fruit – soy is one of the worst things for it I believe.

        • Mark says

          Just wondering if someone named Ang (short for Angus) wears artificial leather shoes?

        • Beth says

          KA Sullivan not all items like ”chocolate, ice cream, coffee cream, frosting on cake, flavored pastas, pumpkin pie, soup, cream cheese, every cheese, yogurt’…as examples need be made from dairy, which I am surprised you did not note when you wrote ‘Yes, All Pure Processed CRAP. So glad you listed so many of the things folks should be weaned from. 🙂 ‘

          I make a lot of these in a vegan manner. And even my angus beef rancher friends liked the vegan alternatives. Same with Garth Brooks favorite black bean vegan lasagna that his wife makes which is now a favorite of ours.

        • goatsandgreens says

          The cheese alternatives I’ve heard about are either cashew (I’m allergic) based, or soy protein isolate aka TVP based, which is SO NOT a food. If you know of something else that makes a cheese, other than, say, cheese, let me know.

        • Brandi Larson says

          That is uneducated we are the only species that drinks that continues to have dairy past child hood, your body will stop producing lactase after long periods of time not having dairy, Lactase is what breaks down the sugar in milk everyone to a certain extent is lactose intolerant because our ability to produce lactase changes with use of dairy. naturally our bodies, and the bodies of all animals ween themselves off of dairy products when they are able to begin digesting there main food sources. If you’ve studied the human body at all you would know that we are supposed to consume large quantities of veggies, fruits, nuts, tubers, and what not meat is not something we are supposed to have constantly. The consequences of consuming dairy products outweigh the benefits. to author your right neither side is wrong there have been many documented cases of abuse caught on tape as well as many misunderstandings. I have seen the damage that can be done when a cow or horse refuses to get back up and the lengths people will go to get them on there feet. i would like to point out a comment above stated that many of these domesticated animals would not survive without us. all domesticated animals have certain tendencies that have been breed out of them live stock do not have defenses against predators, they are easier prey and birthing is difficult, and they would eat themselves out of resources if given the chance these are species that we have taken many years to cultivate. They have the potential to be a harmful invasive species much like ourselves. this is true of every domesticated animal. while it is ideal to reduce the number of animal products we consume in America, the consumer market does not allow for it, it would go along way in helping people with obesity, general health, greenhouse gases, deforestation and what not. however increasing crop growth has its difficulties and creating a global movement for an increase in organic vegetable,fruit, nut etc, and a decrease in meat and dairy consumption on even a minimal level doesn’t show a sign of happening any time soon. on the bright side consumer markets won’t mean much when the sun dies and were forced into a ice age which is inevitable, or when increased salinization slowly destroys our ability to produce food for our inflated population, or we are hit with another plague, or we go to far with nuclear war fair. we reap what we so my friend pick your poison.

        • dairycarrie says

          I hope you don’t tell our barn cats that they can’t have milk any more… we are not the only species to drink milk after childhood. However, we do have opposable thumbs and brains that have allowed us to figure out that we can milk cows and that their milk is tasty and nutritious. v

      • Jason Newton says

        Janet Gerl…do you live in a hunter gather society? Your life is so far from natural…and has been greatly improved by agriculture. You make generalizations from incorrect assumptions and or false premise..then go off on a rant.

      • Hunter William West says

        when a kid does something stupid that could have gotten them seriously hurt or killed, parents first reaction is to make sure their OK and if they are, smack them for doing something stupid, (DO NOT take smack for face value could be whatever it is that a parent does to get a child’s attention) its called tough love, and if you don’t do it, you don’t care enough. same goes here, I disagree with you, I don’t think your being mean, just doing what you need to do to take care of that animal. keep up the good work and I’m glad to see you don’t give up

  38. Travis Hawkins, DVM says

    Thank you so much for this article and video! This is what people really need to see and understand!

  39. Tom says

    Growing up on a dairy farm I understand your article and hope non-farm kids understand. The only issue I have with your article is that the cows are the wrong color 🙂 (just kidding, but being an Ayrshire guy I just HAD to throw that in)

  40. Jamie Whittaker says

    Thank you! I am not a dairy farmer but I am an aviculturist and we fight the same battle with animal rights groups trying to portray us as evil and eliminate bird ownership. I think it’s time that we all stand up and tell the rest of the story that the videos don’t show.

  41. Jennifer says

    I just had a down cow a few weeks ago. We tried everything to get her up and back on her feet but we did lose her a week later. I know it looks cruel to pick them up like that but you have do what you have to do to try to keep them alive.

  42. Ginny Messina says

    Sorry–I’m not buying it. I think the only reason you want to save the cow’s life is because she is a source of income for you. Once she stops producing, you’ll stop worrying about saving her life and will send her off to slaughter, right? I’m not sure how that lines up with “loving” your cows.

    Milk is not a dietary necessity, and therefore there is never any reason to have a business that forces you to “be mean” to animals.

    • dairycarrie says

      You don’t have to buy what I say and you don’t have to buy my product. But you should understand that what I am talking about here could happen to cows in “the wild” or pet cows or beef cows. It is not exclusive to dairy or beef.
      It is my job to provide a good life for my cows and that is what I do.

      • ginnymessina says

        That’s not my point, Carrie. The fact is that you are interested in saving the lives of your cows only when they are of monetary value to you. Once they no longer contribute to your income, you stop worrying about saving their lives. Your blog post makes it sound like you are doing something to help the cow. But you only want to help the cow as long as she is useful to you. Isn’t that true? Once she stops producing, you dump her.

        • Jeremy R Howdyshell says

          When a dairy cow quits producing it means that it has finished its life cycle. Cattle die very quickly after they get older. When a cow starts going downhill it is a very quick decline, but it’s also a horribly painful and excruciating almost every time you allow a cow to get old and die on its own. Honestly if I was getting old and I was heading downhill. If I had arthritis to the point that I couldn’t walk or stand up when I lay down, if I was constantly getting sick and was no longer able to contribute in any way I would rather be allowed to just die. Cattle get like that. They are a 3/4 ton animal so when they get arthritis it is worse than any human could ever imagine, their immune systems get weak and they are constantly sick. When they quit producing it is a sign that they are going to start suffering to the point that it is more humane to kill them than to force them to live that way. It’s not like you’re dumping them because they’re not useful. you’re “dumping” them because it is what is best. I’ve seen plenty of people put down dogs because they were in horrible health and it’s the same concept except if you do it when you know the suffering is about to begin instead of waiting for it to happen the animal will still be useful. I would not ever eat meat from a cow that died of natural causes because it would be disgusting.

        • Elinor Opitz says

          I think the difference here is that some deaths are better than others. If a cow is sent to slaughter, she feels no pain (unconscious) and all of the parts of her body are used — whether for meat or for other byproducts. The farmer is also compensated for her monetarily. If a cow dies of disease or injury, she experiences suffering, her body goes to waste and the farmer usually has to pay someone to dispose of her.

          As long as the majority of people in the world are happy to eat meat and dairy products, there will be dairy cows and those dairy cows will die. We as dairy farmers simply do our best to give them the best death possible. If you do not agree with eating meat and dairy and choose not purchase those products, that is fine and that is 100% your right. However, the majority of people do not currently feel this way and so dairy farms will continue to exist and as long as they do I hope you can see that we are trying to make sure our dairy cattle get the best death possible, with the least waste and suffering.

    • Jennifer says

      That’s ridiculous! I love my animals and I take very good care of them BUT they are food and they produce food. That is their purpose in their life here. When my chickens don’t lay eggs well, we eat them, when a goat isn’t a good milker or breeder we eat her. That’s how it goes. Doesn’t mean we don’t love them. They have names and when we are slaughtering them we talk to them using their names. We cannot keep and feed every animal we love our we wouldn’t have money I keep the ones that are productive.

      • Noname says

        That is THEIR purpose in their life here? says 1 arrogant Human being in a race of over populated Human beings….LOL…oh that’s rich. Oh yah…you LOVE these victims of Human idiocy/greed/selfishness so much you name them….and then KILL them because they no longer serve a purpose to a Human being. Pray tell what is going to happen to YOU when you are no longer a productive member of society…hrm…..?

      • Jamie S says

        I love and adore my cats. I pay for their needs- medical, food, litter, toys. I give them a home. And they give nothing to me but love. They give me no milk, meat, or eggs. And yet, I do not kill them. And when you can explain why your love of your animals entitles you to bring an animal into this world only to use and abuse them, then to slaughter them, I will consider your thoughts. But at this point, saying that you name them and talk to them while they are being unnecessarily slaughtered honestly explains nothing.

        By the way, you mentioned that you keep the ones that are productive. Think about what kind of society we lived in if we only kept those that are productive. If we brought people into this world knowing that as soon as they were unproductive, they would be killed. If we didn’t keep those who were unable to work or provide for themselves. It would be pretty sad society.

        • Jamie S says

          And there are other cultures that kill and abuse people that are different. It doesn’t mean it is okay or just. Just because someone is different than us, does not mean they are less. It does not mean that they do not deserve to have control of their own life and their reproductive system. If more people saw that animals are not lesser then maybe they would see that other humans that are different are not lesser.

        • catgrill says

          Animals may not be people but people are animals. We are all part of the animal kingdom. Animals don’t own us and we don’t own animals. People should not be breeding animals for the purpose of using them. It takes more resources and causes more pollution to raise an animal for food than it does to grow fruits and vegetables.

        • Beth says

          Catgrill my family and I often discuss what would happen if all the livestock from cattle to chickens were no longer used for food. Would they simply be let loose? Would they starve, be eaten by other non human animals etc?

        • Jeremy R Howdyshell says

          Livestock aren’t pets and that is the difference. You keep your cats because they benefit you. They give you companionship and love. The difference is that because livestock are not pets they provide us with things other than companionship. By keeping cats you are equally selfish because you only keep them because they benefit you. The fact is they provide a very necessary thing to you, and being that you’re so ignorant you certainly can’t get much companionship from humans so you really need that cat, so I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t have it when you keep it only because it benefits you.

        • Jamie S says

          I’m sorry, I don’t really understand you. You’re saying I’m selfish by adopting these cats and giving them a loving home for the rest of their lives. What would the unselfish thing for me to do be? Let them sit in a cage in the shelter until they were euthanized?

          I’m not sure how you think rescuing an animal from death is in any way similar to raising an animal knowing that you are making money off of his or her body and will slaughter them when they cannot make you anymore money. Maybe I’m just crazy, but I just don’t really see the similarities.

        • catgrill says

          I rescued many cats and believe me it didn’t benefit me to have a cat spraying in my house. I love animals and I do what I can to take care of them even when they are of no benefit to me.

        • Beth says

          Jeremy R Howdyshell on Dec 10 at 12:43 you said in a post to Jamie ‘By keeping cats you are equally selfish because you only keep them because they benefit you. The fact is they provide a very necessary thing to you, and being that you’re so ignorant you certainly can’t get much companionship from humans so you really need that cat, so I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t have it when you keep it only because it benefits you’.

          Are you suggesting Jamie has no humans who like or love her so she needs cats to fill that need? She may be saving a cat from a needless early death, expecting nothing in return. Although cats can certainly be pleasant to have in ones life, which would be an unexpected bonus.

          She may be a very altruistic person who expects nothing in return from any one or any animal when she does an act of kindness. There are some people who do good simply because its the right thing to do.

          Oh and I know artists as an example who love doing paintings of animals that they consider ‘pets’ not food. As I recall the singer Johnny Mathis had some angus cattle not to eat because they saw them as beautiful animals.

        • bovidiva says

          “There are some people who do good simply because its the right thing to do.” I agree. However I find it very sad that some of the more negative commentators on this blog post assume and state that Dairy Carrie only tries to help cows get up for financial reasons. Would the same be said of nurses in an ICU or kindergarten teachers putting a bandaid on a child’s cut knee?

    • Karen K. says

      I’m sorry, but even if I never drank another glass of milk in my life, I’d still be eating other dairy products. A life without cheese, yogurt, and ice cream is a sad life to me! Yes, I know that there are non-dairy alternatives to all of those products, but the milk ones taste the best, in my opinion.

      Another thought. Someone else commented and said that dealing with a down cow is like dealing with a child who doesn’t want to get out of bed. There’s a major difference, though. Humans are capable of higher levels of reasoning. Animals don’t have the advanced reasoning to understand that if they don’t get up, they will die. That’s why we were made stewards over all the creatures of the earth. Even if everyone in the world set their cows free to roam the earth, there’d still be down cows. Would we claim “survival of the fittest” if we found a down cow in the wild, and just leave it to die? Would we try to help them like we do when we find beached whales and dolphins, or are cows undeserving of our efforts? What’s the difference? Please don’t say that it’s because sea life is more endangered, even if it is. We live in this world with animals. Even when we try not to, we still affect them. Interaction with nature is unavoidable. In the end, I feel much better knowing that there’s at least one decent dairy farmer out there like Carrie who truly loves her animals.

      • Noname says

        Loves her animals until she slaughters them because they no longer put money in her wallet you mean?

      • Karen K. says

        Dear Noname, do you have the world’s largest ranch with billions of dollars at your disposal to adopt EVERY single animal in the world that is unwanted? Didn’t think so. Until then, you don’t get to make those decisions for farmers.

      • Teri Davis says

        SO your solution is to let all animals die without care. For your information Dairy Cows are part of the family they have names and personalities and no it isn;t about income because I know that the majority of dairy farmers I know spend money on vets care and more and are lucky to break even. YOU cannot go on in your delusional world of black and white. Yes, industrial farmers may cull and kill but Americas farmers are still the ones with small farms and families. They live their entire lives in debt.and work harder than you can even imagine every day from pre-dawn to past dusk. To sit and buy the propaganda without really checking out the true facts is unfortunately arm chair farming. If a dairy cow is not milked on time she goes through discomfort to the point of pain. If not milked she can die. Drinking milk hurts no cow. Therefore you reason to not be a lacto-ovo vegetarian is not right in the head. Chickens lay eggs without a rooster present so those eggs are not ever going to be a little life. They are unfertilized. If we let our free range chickens lay daily and didn’t gather the eggs it would attract a lot of predators who would eat not only the eggs but our chickens. So wise up and stop picking on the farmers. Who do you think grows your organic vegetables? Biting the hand that feeds you not very smart.

    • Farmers wife says

      I am the wife of a farmer, and you are correct.. these animals are our livelihood, they provide us with income. However, it is very small minded of you to think that we don’t properly take care of our animals throughout their entire lives to the best of our ability. We have veterinarians out to our farm weekly, we have a nutritionist come out and constantly test our feed rations to make sure that our animals are getting everything that they could need, we have a hoof trimmer come out and trim our animals feet to make sure that they don’t get sore feet, see we do all of these things does your boss make sure that everyone is healthy, happy well fed? . In addition to trying new and easier medications, making sure that our animals have adequate ventilation and bedding, throughout their entire lives. Just so you know a dead cow doesn’t make us money a healthy one does, most farmers keep their cows as healthy as possible, and yes they do have to go to slaughter, because depending on where you live the LAW has certain laws on disposing of animals.

    • bovidiva says

      I believe it’s in every farmer’s best interest to provide their cows with the healthiest life they can have. Nobody is suggesting that cows are pets and don’t provide us with food, but it’s only right to make sure that they are healthy – and if that means getting them up off the barn floor when they’d rather lie down and die, that’s a tough choice, but it’s the morally right one. Would it be better if Carrie left cows to die instead?

      Going by your analogy, would you expect an surgeon to let a patient die after heart surgery? After all, they’ll get paid by the insurance company either way, and a patient is just a source of income…! (note that I do NOT believe this of any surgeon).

    • Sara Leahey says

      You “think” that you know what the author of the article is doing, and you give your opinion why. That is completely fair since I believe that everyone’s opinion is equal. But, you are also judging her situation without ever even meeting her, or being in her position. Have you ever been in a position such as hers? Maybe, maybe not.

      There are many ways to go about assessing this particular situation with dairy cows. We could go about the “Darwinian Evolutionary way of thinking”, AKA “survival of the fittest.” Darwinian Evolution believes that the traits we humans pass on are more likely to be traits that allow us to have a higher chance of survival. Of course, there are people that don’t like Darwinian Evolution and prefer following their faith, which of course is alright because like I said, everyone has a right to their own opinion/faith/belief. Apparently the bible gives notion(being that the bible can be translated in many ways) to animals not having souls. There are of course debates on that subject as well, which I do not want to get into.

      My point is that when a person has a protein deficiency or a calcium deficiency, the easiest way to combat that is through your diet. My good friend is a former vegan(now vegetarian that eats fish and dairy products) because the diet was very difficult and unnatural to maintain. I agree with those that suggest taking calcium pills to supplement a calcium deficiency, but what about the other benefits of milk? What about the other benefits of meat? Yes, you will try to combat what I have just said with the cons of milk and meat, but still the pros will outweigh the cons.

      Every situation will be different because the situation is unique to the person that is going through it. The judgmental comments can just be harsh and mean, I understand some people want to debate, but there are much more formal ways of doing so. You can express your opinion without insulting the other person.

        • Beth says

          And some people are allergeic to different nuts and most soy sadly if GMO. Being a vegetarian I know these facts. Am curious how old are you? I assume being a vegan you have easier access to vegan, organic foods. I am also fortunate in that way, but not everyone is.

        • catgrill says

          I am 52 years old. I drink almond milk as well as non-GMO soy milk (Silk brand). There is also coconut milk, but that’s my least favorite.
          There are many people who are lactose intolerant. Don’t you find it odd that we are the only species that drinks milk after we are weaned and we are the only species that drinks milk from another species?

        • Beth says

          Yes, I find it interesting that the weaned human animal drinks milk from other animals.

          But I also find it interesting that non human animals eat other non human animals. Like when sharks and even some species of whales will kill and eat seals, penguins. Or big fish eating smaller fish who eat smaller fish etc.

          Or even certain species of non human animals will even eat their own young. Alas some things I will never understand.

        • catgrill says

          Seriously? You’re claiming that just because a cat will drink cow’s milk put out by humans that their digestive system is made for it? You’re not supposed to give cow’s milk to cats, it gives them diarrhea! I helped run a nonprofit rescue organization for cats and dogs, so I know what I’m talking about.

        • Sara Leahey says

          With that, then I should be able to argue that Chicken, turkey, red meat, eggs all those have the essential amino acids that our bodies lack and that plants cannot give us. Which is one reason why supplemental nutrients are necessary for vegans.

          I can continue to list the pro’s on having an omnivore diet versus a vegan diet, however that would be a waste of time because I don’t want to push a lifestyle onto someone else who has their own lifestyle and opinions, that I respect.

          Like I said, I had a good friend who was a vegan, and I never judged her, just as she never judged me for my preferred diet.

          I am also not discounting what you say about almond milk or soy milk, I agree those are very healthy. The purpose of my previous post was that we shouldn’t force/push our own dietary preferences onto others, we don’t know the exact nutrients that their body needs. And I also I said that we can all discuss our own opinions without insulting someone else’s opinion. That was really the main point of my previous post.

  43. Bently LUneau says

    I grew up in Vermont on a dairy farm and fully understand, but its amazing to talk to people in San Francisco where I now live, they have no clue where their food comes from. Great article..

    • MotherLodeBeth says

      Who are these folks in San Francisco whom you say have no idea where their food comes from?

      Alice Walker over in Berkeley is so well known world wide, along with dozens and dozens of famous chefs and all have been BIG on organic, whole foods for a good twenty years. And Straus dairy from up in Marin County sells their organic milk at the local SF farmers market and the slow food movement is BIG through out the San Francisco bay area. And local news be it KGO, KRON, KPIX, KQED have stories all the time concerning the popularity of whole organic foods.

        • Beth says

          No it does not mean ALL people in San Francisco know or care about agriculture but recent studies via Stanford University have shown it is one of the top cities in the states who know where their food comes. NYC, Seattle were amongst the top cities as well.

  44. Jd Creager says

    Livestock is just that way, PETA people and other bunny hugger dont have a clue, horse are the sameway. All animals are even human, but human can talk. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, I have had to put animals down, I hate that as bad s anything. Its much easier to be in the military fighting for your country, than put down one of you friends, even though the friend cant talk. I had to pout down a great and awesome paint colt 7 years ago. Still feel guilty, had an old horse pass on last year in Feb, hell he was 3536 years old, but the last 10 years he had a good life. I much more would have had him here, but thats life. Worked and worked one summer to say a horse who was bitten by a rattlesnake. three months or more of gettign him up to his feet several times a day and some dumb shit turned me in for abuse. Said I was starving him, I was even told to move him around the back of some building so noone would see his condition. I said to hell with that, he picked his place to either live of die. It is not my choice its his. He did live!!! Lost 650 lbs, he recovered, but it took way more than effort than any $500. horse is or was worth. Where were these animal rights people when I was walking the horse in 110F temps to get the swelling out of his legs??? To hell with them!!

  45. katharinetrauger says

    Same a spanking a child that insists on messing with electrical outlets. I get it. I get the flack, too. No undercover films, though! 😉
    A freind posted this to me on fb, and I was delighted to find another great wp blogger!

  46. Renee B. says

    Thank you for this article…I have looked a those animal cruelty videos & thought how horrifying they are. This is a perfect example of “everything is not as it seems”. Your cows are lucky to have someone like you who cares deeply for them. LOVE the last picture!

  47. Nancy cruse says

    I don’t have dairy cows but have sheep, I had a ewe go down a couple weeks before lambing this spring, of course on a very cold day she had triplets, we took her to warmth with the lambs and amazingly she did raise one lamb, I bottle fed the other two. I hand fed her and her lamb for the next 3 months and she did get up by herself. I did sell her but kept the ewe lamb she raised as she was a great old ewe. Thanks for posting your honest reflections!

  48. Jen says

    I have been hit by a cattle prod…more than once (mean cousins!!). It does hurt, but I’d say it’s comparable to a bee sting.

  49. Crystal Kinnaird-Aitken says

    I also work in the livestock industry. I totally understand the importance of making an animal get up. I usually try to compare it to rehab in people after major accidents or surgeries. You have to get up and move the injured part, no matter how painful to get better. How many ppl in rehab think it’s a walk in the park? It takes time, pain and dedication to get better as well as lots of encouragement or forcing depending on the person. Many people could give up and die, but their caregivers won’t let them out of love. They force them to get up and try again!

  50. Angela King, DVM says

    Thanks for posting this. I am a dairy cattle veterinarian in Northeast Wisconsin and completely understand what you mean when you have to be mean. When you are dealing with 1,500 pound cows, that is a reality. I don’t like it, either.

  51. kal2012 says

    Thank you for posting this article. I am a vegetarian and strongly advocate for animal rights but I also advocate for truth. I don’t think anyone can move forward without working together and I hope this article is a step in that direction. I knew cows could be stubborn, but I had NO idea that their behavior could jeopardize their own health. Thank you for the eye-opener. Continue to love your cattle and please continue to advocate for treating them just as well as the nutrition they can provide treats others!

  52. Sara S. says

    I use “obstinant” to describe some of our cows, too!! We have had those cows too that just don’t want to get up, maybe they got a fresh bed of straw and they are done eating so they think its nap time, well, no, its milking time, then you can go back to nap time.

    I really appreciate you doing this. Its hard to admit that you are “mean” to your cows cuz that automatically implies abuse. I hate it too when we have to do “Mean” things but when that animal gets better, then its worth it. Caring for large animals is so challenging. Its hard for someone who hasn’t been around cattle to truely appreciate it. So thank you for putting yourself out there and trying to educate people!! Its difficult when some people don’t want to try to understand, just attack you and say you can’t love your cows. I don’t know why we would do this if we didn’t love the animals. We definately don’t do it for the money or the hours. Its just in our blood and hard to explain.

    • maria says

      So the cattle prod is also used when a cow is relaxing? I hope this is not what the author of this article was getting at. I came upon this article through a vegan facebook page I follow, I just can’t understand how someone could claim to love something so deeply, then send them off to the slaughter house. Is there anyone out there that can explain this?

      • Savannah says

        They are sent to the slaughterhouse because on an operational farm you simply cannot keep every single retired dairy/breeder cow. They are very, very expensive to feed, house, and care for. It’s not that any farmer wants their animals to be slaughtered, it’s simply the best option they have. While there are millions of dog, cat, and small animal rescues, there aren’t many cow rescues where they can live out the rest of their lives. It is the sad yet necessary truth about farming. Farmers make their living on their animals. If a cow isn’t producing, then she is just taking up resources that are needed for the next generation, or the farmer’s family. Dairy cows produce for quite a long time, so they have lived good lives. And, as someone who has lived around cattle and personally been to many slaughterhouses in several states, they are not these horrible places that torture animals.

      • Joan Tunnell Driver says

        Ranching is a life of contradictions. You want every animal to be healthy and productive, but you know that that is not the reality any more than expecting every human to be a beautiful athlete. You name them, you love them, but in the end you have to realize that they are a financial commodity. A healthy beef calf, unless it becomes breeding stock, is still destined to be a steak. It’s what we do for a living. It’s painful sometimes, but we are raising food and we have to make a profit to stay in business. We handle our animals in the most humane manner possible, but they’re not primarily pets and we cannot afford to run a retirement home for them.

        • haleyford2013 says

          Very true, and on top of most times when they stop being productive, not only are they using very expensive space and resources, they go downhill fast. I would rather send one to slaughter for someone to get nutrition from than watch one waste away. It can be a slow painful death. Nobody wants that, most especially responsible farmers.

      • Cyana Handy Briles says

        Being Vegan is the best way you can support no one owning cattle! Way to go! Seriously proud of you for your convictions, because I don’t think I could do it.

        One question, okay two questions…. Why do so many vegans refer to meat eaters as “flesh eaters”? is that supposed to make them sound like vulgar zombies?

        I’ll eat meat and cheese and drink milk and be perfectly happy with it.

        Second question: What if one day I tried to humanize broccoli? It is a living thing right? How dare I decide where it will grow and how dare I cut off it’s head before it gets a chance to flower and reproduce seeds? I know I’m being ridiculous here but is it that far fetched?

        • Kitty Jones says

          No you are not being ridiculous, considering it’s the same basic rhetoric we hear from vegans who think that because they are vegans they are better than everyone else in the world. Why they feel the need to call us flesh eaters is up for debate, but considering how crude and bizarre it sounds, the reason is probably all in the sound of the words with the idea that if they make us sound enough like unholy monsters people will eventually believe it. You have entertained me anyway ^^

        • Kitty Jones says

          Just to clarify on my comment about the vegans, I am only referring to the select few who make life miserable for their fellow vegans as well as for those of us not of that persuasion XD

  53. Lyn says

    Thank you I had no idea. I think some of these activist groups need to really stop and make sure they are really seeing the truth.I am grateful for people that go after bad people, but they really need all the facts first. I have a horse so I can relate to the size of the animal. Again thank you for teaching me something I did not know.

  54. Joan Driver says

    My husband has raised cows and horses for most of his life. He has an amazing knowledge of livestock. Sometimes I have joked that animals recovered under his treatment simply because he wouldn’t allow them to die. He will use whatever means he can to restore an animal to health. Does it sometimes cause discomfort? Of course. But I often think he is harder on himself in service to his livestock than he is on them.

  55. Carol McElheney says

    If this were about getting a horse up, it would be called a “rescue”. Some people just play too much Farmville.

  56. Mary says

    Carrie, great article….I raise horses. Like the cows, their body frames simply cannot withstand their body weight for very long, especially being 1200-1500 lbs. Being down for very long is detrimental to the well being of the animal, and we do what we can to get them up and moving, to regain their strength and remain healthy.

  57. Jean Pattison "African Queen" says

    Wonderful, wonderful article. I spent my childhood summers on a farm. Watched my granddaddy work with a downed cow. He taught me to love and respect animals. I now breed parrots, and constantly fight the “bad press” and the perceived abuse we get hit with. I am encouraged to sit right down, and write a similar article about our industry. Thank you so much for the enlightening words.

  58. Rebecca says

    I agree. I live on a cattle ranch here in California. Sometimes our cows go down and we use every means possible to get them up including taking the tractor and strapping them up so they can try to bare weight on their a legs. Like she said a down cow is a dead cow. If they are down for too long they may lose all circulation in their legs and have to be put down. Yes it’s sad especially when you bottle fed that particular cow but you know what it’s better than them suffering. It’s also the same with horses. I have a 36 year old are that just recently started to go down hill and we have had her for so long she has become a part oft family but there will come a day and I’m sure say it will be soon that I will have to put her down but you know what we made her life better than most horses have so before people start judging and turning people in for seeing for example a skinny horse or a cow being forced to stand up realize that they need to see the full picture before they judge. Animals are here to produce food even sometimes the one you name. I raised steers I. High school named ever one of them and sold them at the county fair. Cried every time but that’s life. And those that say it’s in humane for her to do those things in the video need to get a life.

  59. Kevan says

    Extremely well thought out, well written & most of all TRUE account of what goes on & why!
    I have worked with livestock for over 40 years & agree that sometimes we must take action that we may not like; no different than the decision to euthanize a cow or a horse. That animal can be part of a family, the animal rights activists don’t want the world to see that part; how we kneel over the bodies at times, or lay awake that night second guessing ourselves, some of us shed tears …
    I am the only trainer in BC for the now federally sponsored Canadian Livestock Transporters program. I am proud of this position, and take it very seriously. It means I get to help make a difference … like you have Carrie.
    Hat’s off to ya!

  60. Jen Christie (@SavvyFarmgirl) says

    Great post, Carrie. I suspect PETA or Mercy for Animals will never be on-side or seek to understand though. They wish for no one to eat or raise animals domestically, ever. But rant aside, I will never forget when one of my first 4-H calves went down as a cow. We have a contraption (not the most consumer-friendly word I realize) that functions somewhat like a swing, with a winch that we can lift the cow up. We lifted her for days and she just would not put her legs down and stand. It was heartbreaking. Even today, more than 10 years later, my chest tightens thinking about it.

  61. jeanmalone says

    Amen, sister! I love animals, I love my animals, and I am really starting to dislike the so called animal rights groups, that don’t have the faintest idea what they are talking about. Animal abusers should be done away with, but people need to understand context, and the fact that most animals include in their language very physical actions, and we have to utilize that language in order to deal with them.

    • Sara Leahey says

      Dairy cows are actually used for milking purposes. Their body type isn’t useful for butchering/meat purposes. Typically those that are butchered are steers, or heifers that won’t produce suitable calves. Therefore, this dairy cow will most likely not be sent off to be butchered. However, I do accept your point of view, since everyone has a right to their own point of view. The word “stabbed” is just so crude.

      • bovidiva says

        I agree. I’m intrigued why you’d use the word “stabbed”. Similarly, would a description of surgery be “ripping through the skin with a blade to tear out bloody organs”?

      • Elinor Opitz says

        Actually, dairy cows are most definitely slaughtered for beef at the end of their productive life. It is not their main purpose, and because of that they often do not produce as much beef or as high quality of beef, but it is still better than the suffering and waste of a cow that cannot go to slaughter.

    • Jeremy R Howdyshell says

      Dairy cattle aren’t really ever butchered, so your comment is irrelevant and they’re aren’t stabbed anyway. Butchers kill as quickly as possible, but you have to let all of the blood run out or the blood that remains will very quickly cause the meat to go bad, so throats are slit normally. I also butcher my own poultry, and turkeys don’t care at all. You can cut off one turkeys head right in front of the rest of the flock and the next one will walk up to you without a second thought even though it just saw you kill its brother. Death is really not a thing that animals seem to care about, and if people like you ever actually dealt with animals you would know that.

      • Elinor Opitz says

        I’m not sure where you get that impression, Jeremy. Dairy cows are most certainly butchered for beef most of the time. The only time they wouldn’t be is if they are down they must go to dog food or other non-human food because of regulations (mostly surrounding BSE/mad cow disease concerns).

  62. John Barker says

    Well said, Dairycarrie – a heartfelt, rational and pragmatic insight into just a few of the realities and difficult decisions a livestock farmer faces almost daily. If the idealistic, naive children who run PETA and all the other bleeding heart organisations had any experience of real life they might be able to find more useful employment than harassing farmers who are struggling to make a living under difficult enough circumstances. And, as for the official animal welfare agencies, they often appear to be either totally incompetent or cynically pandering to the misguided opinions of a clueless public.

  63. Beth says

    Alas I may be a hypocrite. Am someone who strives to be a vegetarian who has had hens but have never eaten them, just their eggs, and they die of old age as free range hens. Yet if someone gives me wild game or organic home grown meat I will eat it.

    Also grew up and live in a hunting area, but these are quick kill folks not folks who allow an animal to die a slow painful death or are trophy hunting folks.

    It’s factory farms I so dislike because its profit profit first and not healthy food. DairyCarrie does NOT appear in any way to be a factory farm set up, but a small family set up. Big difference.

    As a lacto ova vegetarian I do eat free range hens from my own hens or hens of friends. And friends do give me fresh goats milk for making cheese and soap.

    As for PETA, I feel they are not fully honest. Aa an example they euthanize dogs they rescue, rather than spend the time and effort to heal the animal from whatever trauma they have endured.

  64. haleyford2013 says

    Oh my goodness yes!!!! I worked for a large animal vet for years, and of course we saw cows at their worst. Down, belligerent, sick…you name it. I’ve had to “statue of liberty it” a million times with bottles of calcium to get one better. And yes, you can’t just snap you fingers and get them up. Hip lifts, tractors, shocks (and I have accidentally been hit with one..painful for sure, but not unbearable even do a little human with no fur!) sometimes you gotta be tough. It’s not easy taking care of cattle, and thank you for setting it straight. More people need the real truth. Readers, go visit a farm near you if you don’t believe it. Farmers will be happy to set the record straight.

  65. Jolene Horton says

    Thank you so much for your article! I have seen that humane society commercial so many times. And only when my reflexes are to to slow or I can’t find the remote to change it. You know
    the one I’m talkin about where they show the cow being rolled by the skid loader? I hate it. Makes me sick. All those commercials do. How I didnt know this is beyond me. I should of. You know you should explain it this way. When your a parent sometime you got to be mean and tell your kid no and no about millions of things. But we do it because we love them and we know what is best. To keep them safe. You wouldn’t be called a bad parent for tht now would you?

  66. Barbara Glenn says

    I am adding my kudo’s to this long list. It is a hard truth, and those of us who raise any kind of livestock know too well. Try as I may,I just can’t get through to many of my friends who think PETA is a ‘good’ organization. Those are the same people who wouldn’t stay up all night walking a colicy horse, or holding the head of a kidding doe while some one pulls the kid or searching for new calves in the middle of the night because the temp dropped and you’re missing an expectant cow. I wish we could all be as eloquent as you~

  67. Zelie Bullen says

    Thank you for taking the time to make this video, to write the article and to post it for us all to share. Farmers are under attack from the crazy extremist animal rights activists, I have known that for a long time (my sister and brother in law are farmers) but so too are many of us in other industries. I am a professional animal trainer in the film and live show industries and I do this for a living because I have always adored animals and I adore being with them.
    I believe being pro-active about educating the public is the best way to combat the animal rights activists.
    Thanks again.
    Zelie Bullen

  68. horserider0146 says

    Recently we had one of our ponies go down out in the roundpen. She could not get up and it was cold and windy out here in Wisconsin. So we had to flip her onto a sled to drag her into the barn, which took three of us to push her in since she weighed about 400lbs. The vet came and gave her meds and acupuncture and we all tried to get lifting her up but it didn’t work. We tried three more times but no. So we kept flipping her over. I am sure some people would have found this cruel but it was a last ditch effort to save her. Unfortunately she passed. But I have seen similar stuff with other breeds and the animal lives as with the down cow so THANK YOU for the post. It shines a good light on not just cows but farm animals all together!

  69. Maddy Farrell says

    As an animal science student and Dairy Cow lover…. I encourage you to not use the cattle prod. It is wildly unneeded. That was the most inhumane thing I read. There are no real excuses to treat animals meanly and we must acknowledge that ourselves. Only move that animal if it is completely necessary. It is so stressful to move one like that. If she will not make it, do her the favor of putting her down instantly, do not and I really mean it… do not force her into a truck to be taken to a meat locker where hopefully they do not pull her out of the truck but put her down there in the trailer. It is illegal for them to process one for meat, and much kinder to that animal who spent her life working for you. I worked in a meat processing plant and we really hated when a farmer wanted to bring in a “possible” downed cow. It was always clear that that animal should have been put down with a bullet to the head long before she made it to us. I know plenty of farms that have a no cattle prod rule, and that means ever. I really support those farms and I think you should consider it.I think it is brave that you came out and said these things, but I also want to let you know that means you will have to see error in your ways, just like anyone else would.

  70. Tracy Principi says

    The mean part is when you take the newborn calves away from their mothers to be slaughtered and they don’t get to nurse. The mother bellows for days for her baby! That is the cruelest thing of all! How long do you milk your cows before they go to slaughter? 4 years maybe? When they can live 25 yrs. Disgusting industry. Why not tell the whole truth?

    • bovidiva says

      Let’s not confuse humans and animals here. Cows are not people. The cow does not “bellow for days” for her “baby”. If you’ve ever seen a heifer or ewe lamb give birth, you’ll know the instinctive reaction of that “mother” is often to run away from that bawling calf/lamb and leave it to die of hypothermia.

      If we’re going to assume that animals and humans have interchangeable emotions and feelings, would it be ok for a man to kill any children that he suspects may not have been fathered by him? Of course not. But mice do so. Pretending that all animals (and humans) are equal is a fallacy.

      • Seth Webster Ⓥ (@sethwebster) says

        Some cows do in fact bellow for extended periods for their young (http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/x1442590990/Strange-noises-turn-out-to-be-cows-missing-their-calves) and some do not. In fact, people have not been always so attached to their young either. We have evolved to have a greater appreciation for life, and that *should* include all animals. Animals are here with us, not for us.

        It is not ok for us to kill & exploit these cows, any more than it is ok for us to kill or exploit other human beings.

        Scan the news; every month there are stories of human women who abandon, kill, or otherwise neglect their young. We are more alike with our non-human animal counterparts than we are different. Most of the behaviors seen in the non-human animal world can be seen in humans as well. However, we have evolved to have the opportunity to NOT exploit animals, and since we can, we should.

        • KA Sullivan says

          Sethwebster Thank you for that, Finally someone with a brain.

          This comment from bovidiva is just Clueless talk and denial “The cow does not “bellow for days” for her “baby”. Hmmm …Wow though denial is a way for folks to stay unattached and not care. No one is ‘confusing Humans and Animals” bovidiva, except you.

        • Beth says

          KA Sullivan I would think any mother animal would cry out for her baby if separated. Evolutionary science studies seems to prove this. Have watched elephants, whales, primates and human mothers, grieve profoundly for their babies either dead or separated.

      • Trinity says

        All the cows and calves I’ve ever seen bellow for days (sometimes only a couple days but often longer) when you pull the calves to wean them. They are clearly distressed and anxious and are calling for each other. I’ve dealt only with beef cattle, though, which have had the opportunity to bond with their mothers, often for several months, before weaning them as opposed to dairy cattle that are separated right away.
        Now that I think about it, even when a calf has died at birth, the cow bellows and bellows for it and is clearly anxiously looking for it.
        I wonder if dairy cows and their calves being separated right away for generation after generation after generation has altered the maternal bond for some of them.

    • Marlee Nolz says

      Twenty five years is not the natural lifespan of a cow, it’s propaganda akin to saying that people live til 123 just because one person did. Holsteins, like your large breed dogs, naturally have shorter lifespans, that’s just the way it is.

  71. Katie Pinke (@katpinke) says

    Carrie, I feel this applies to my parenting my kids. I love them. I do what it is best for them. They don’t like it sometimes. They call me a mean mom but I am only doing what is necessary and in their best interest. You do the same for your cows and any farmer or rancher I know feels the same as you. This was a brave and bold post for you, which I always expect nothing less. Kudos to you. I am honored to call you my friend, online and offline. Keep sharing!

  72. tn2nadoes says

    Thank you for this great article! I just got finished with a Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue class (in Gray, GA), which was filled with firefighters, EMTs, Animal Control, and others who do not normally work with cattle. As cattle tend to find themselves in strange places (loose on a highway after a tractor trailer overturns, stuck in a septic tank, or in the mud, victims of disasters, etc) and these people are the ones who have to help the cow/cattle out of bad places, we did some work with cattle behavior. We also learned how to harness with webbing, and create methods of getting any large animal out of bad situations. This article reinforced what we learned- So, thank you!
    I, personally, work with some cattle (beef) ranchers in TN, and have found that they really DO love their animals… and it’s not just because of the financial prospect.
    Thanks again-

  73. Jody Brittain says

    Totally agree. AND….WE….WERE….MEAN….TO…..OUR…..KIDS!!!! But they grew up to be good citizens, and we love them dearly. Sometimes you gotta be mean, to be good. VERY GOOD POST!

  74. Trina Dickson says

    Just found your blog and love this post. I have a diploma in Herd Health Technology and have previously spent several years working in a dairy barn. The ‘girls’ (dairy cows) are truely my first love when it comes to the different work I have done over the first year. Sadly, what other uninformed people see as abuse is only your compassion for an animal and your willingness to go where it isn’t always comfortable for them just to keep them alive and return them to health. Kudos for being willing to bring this issue up for discussion, and taking the time to make the video.

  75. Kathryn Slater says

    I used to have my own cows and one of the worst things to do is trying to get up a down cow. It’s so hard on you emotionally because all you want is for her to get up so you don’t lose her. Thank you for this post and showing people that it’s not about abuse but for the life of the cow. I know it’s hard for some people to understand that farmers do what they need to for the sake of the animal. This post was really great in explaining things.

  76. Delle Fairclough says

    I don’t even think it is “mean” to get a cow up who doesn’t want to get up – it is so necessary for her to live. Nor am I suggesting you have been mean – looks to me like you really care – a animal far bigger then humans – requires us to use a different method to get them up(if they can get up) no one wants a permanent down cow:(

      • Cecelia Ashcraft says

        Carrie-Thank you for responding and I understand removing the video. I couldn’t think of any way to describe in words what little I could stomach to watch. I hope you know that my question was meant sincerely as I am strictly a city girl with no knowledge of the workings of a farm. I found your article to be very informative and am in no way trying to criticize what you do. Thank you again.

  77. Jay Hilliker says

    Your cows look very healthy. I think people forget animals especially farm animals are livestock. They are meant for milk and to be eaten. You can ask a cow nicely to get off her 1500lb ass because she is comfy. I am thankful enough to have a skilled horse trainer in my family. She sets me strait on these videos. Well Jenn how would you move a 1500lb animal? LOL I am glad I get to see the other view points. She loves her horses but things happen such a snake bites and broken legs the animaks have to be put down. She has a 1500lb Andalusian Stallion if she didn’t do what she does that horse would kill her. I love animals don’t get me wrong, but that won’t stop me from eating them.

    • Beth says

      Perhaps it was the use of the word MEAN in the title of this piece that confuses some of us?

      Mean to me has nothing to do with caring or concern. Mean kids are not nice in any way. Mean actions are not caring in any way to me.

      Thus I think perhaps a word like FIRM would be better. As a caring person one has to be firm to keep someone from doing something that can harm them. Doesn’t mean one does not care, just the opposite.

      • bovidiva says

        That’s a great point Beth. Alas, it seems like the more emotive the language, the more impact it has – I believe that’s why many of the more negative comments on this blog post use words like “mother”, “baby”, “stabbed” and “forced usage” rather than cow, calf, slaughtered or farmed. Though the actions used to get a downer cow up could be seen as “mean”, the intent is not mean – quite the opposite. I think it’s brave of Dairy Carrie to use the word mean (and to get criticism accordingly) rather than sugar-coating it.

  78. Missy Gardner says

    they (dairy farmers) act as tho they are the “tough love” saviors of these downed cows without acknowledging the fact that they themselves and the forced usage/captivity of these animals are why they are injured in the first place. using living beings as commodities is going to create a lot of problems.. most of which these folks will never own up to.

    • dairycarrie says

      Missy, you’re in going the fact that a cow that is out in a pasture and hasn’t seen a human in 6 months can go down just as easily as a dairy cow. The difference is that the cow out in the pasture dies and the dairy cows receives medical treatment instead of being a coyote snack.

    • bovidiva says

      “Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw” (Alfred Lord Tennyson) isn’t just a pretty phrase. Downer cows (or indeed other herbivores – sheep, horses, bison) are not caused by “forced usage/captivity” – it’s simple animal physiology, often related to the physical stress of giving birth in combination with the sheer weight and size of the animal. Are you really suggesting that a cow, ewe, horse or bison who gives birth to offspring in the wild will never have a health issue simply because she’s not under human control?

      It appears that you are not a fan of dairy farming, and I respect your right to have that opinion, but why denigrate farmers with an argument that is not based on facts?

  79. Golden Carter says

    I have a question not related to downed cows. Dairy farms get flack for more than just the downed cow treatment. I do appreciate this explanation for that scenario, though.
    However, what about stuff I have seen about how calves are treated after they are born? Ripped away from their mothers, etc.
    What about the “fact” that dairy cows are kept perpetually pregnant in order to keep making milk?
    Then they are fed grain instead of grass or hay. Add to that the use of antibiotics to make them produce more milk and I am still not convinced that they are treated well.
    Aren’t those things still harmful? I am not trying to be rude. I am asking for your “side” because the “side” I have been on for a while is that of not drinking milk, consuming far less meat, and avoiding factory farmed animals and products because of how horrid the conditions for the animals are.
    Is the abuse I have seen in videos real, or have I been mislead?

    • dairycarrie says

      Lots of questions and I will do my best to answer them. I hope you don’t mind reading…
      I talk about what happens when a calf is born here-
      And I talked about breeding cows here-
      and here-
      The ration we feed dairy cows is very diverse and most certainly isn’t grain only. I share our recipe for “cow chow” and several other recipes from around the country here-
      I am not trying to just give you a bunch of links so you’ll go away. I just can’t even start to fully answer your questions here in the comments. I hope you find the links interesting.

      • Sheryl Rollins-Mashos says

        without having read Carrie’s links…I am going to say that left to their own devices cows, goats, horses, dogs…whatever, are GOING to breed right back after they give birth anyways. That is how it works in nature anyway. In a herd of wild horses it is not uncommon for a mare to have twenty or more foals in her life time. Cows would be the same if they had access to a bull year ’round.

        • Golden Carter says

          I had several dogs growing up. They did not have litters every year.
          I don’t believe there are any wild cows, are there? That would be pretty interesting if there were. I mean, I know there are buffalo and bison and such, but I don’t think those are the same as the average dairy cow.

        • bovidiva says

          Ah, but were your dogs unspayed and accessible to unneutered males? If so, I think you may have been very lucky not to have been over-run with pups! Yep, globally there are wild cows, wild horses, wild bison, wild pigs… in fact I’m trying hard to think of a species (not breed) that doesn’t exist in the wild.

        • Golden Carter says

          Yep. My parents actually didn’t take our pets to the vet unless they were about to die, and even then they would just shoot the dog more often than not. :/
          They were unaltered their whole lives. It only became a problem once I was out of the house. I do remember my mom having issues with stray dogs staying on her land and breeding. Though, again, it wasn’t every year.

      • Golden Carter says

        From the links, it does appear as if what I have read before is correct. The calves are taken away and the cows are impregnated pretty quickly. It seems they do eat a lot of corn.
        So, more questions!
        I try to buy grassfed beef when I do buy beef, and I try to buy either plant milk or grassfed organic milk (Usually Organic Valley, I think?)
        Why are they able to feed their cows on a grass fed diet but other farms seemingly cannot or won’t?
        This is all very interesting information for me. I previously had no clue what went on in the factory farming industry, then I saw all those vegan sites and videos and was horrified. So, I did go vegan for a while. I couldn’t maintain it, though, since my husband wasn’t on board and I had to double our grocery budget to be able to buy all the food for us. We have four kids, so you can imagine how much that adds up to. :/
        Anyway, so I am currently trying to avoid “regular” milk when I can and I buy the grass fed meat when we can afford to. I’m just wondering if maybe all I read was incorrect, or not fully accurate/came from ignorance?
        I have seen horror videos with cows/bulls having their tails removed for some reason. I’ve seen them get their horns cut off, leaving them bleeding.
        Calves being kicked and punched away from their mothers, too. I do hope that isn’t as common as the videos lead me to believe.

        • bovidiva says

          Grass-fed beef or dairy is a choice entirely up to the producer – it’s not a question of can’t or won’t as such, but of what system suits their resources and location. For example, that means a lot of beef cow-calf operations in Montana, which are entirely grass-based and provide weaned calves (about 7 months of age) that are then grown and finished in other areas, because the climate and land suits cow-calf production; whereas there are relatively few dairy farms in Montana (whether intensive or extensive) because those systems aren’t so suited to the resources (land, crops, markets) in-state. Bear in mind that whenever you buy beef, all beef cows and their calves are fed on pasture (in cow-calf operations) and it’s only the final finishing period (4 or 5 months) that is either in a feedlot or on pasture. So any steak that you buy in a grocery store or farmers market will have come from an animal that has spent between 50-70% of it’s life on pasture.

        • Golden Carter says

          I have heard that about it being only finished on grain. I just didn’t know if it was true or if it was something “Big Ag” (they always put the word Big in front of the scary thing they are against, lol) wanted us to believe so we wouldn’t freak out.
          Even still, those feed lot videos are quite depressing, too.
          It’s not even just cattle. Chickens are seemingly treated very, very poorly. It seems the poor chickens get the worst deal out of all of the food animals.

          Another question would be what agenda do the activists have? Why make it up? What are they gaining?

        • bovidiva says

          Ha, you are so right about the word “big”! Seems like we’re in a world where anything small is beautiful and big is automatically evil!

          Yes, the average beef animal is born on pasture, spends 7 months on there with the cow, then about 4-5 months in a stocker operation (again on a forage-based diet) and 4-5 months in feedlot. So it truly is just the last few months. I’d really encourage you to find a local feedlot owner and see if you can visit – I’d be happy to put you in touch with one if you are anywhere near Montana. The videos portray a very depressing situation, but are unrelated to real-life in the majority of situations.

          If you take a look at the websites for groups like PETA or HSUS, they are opposed to the use of any animals for food or agriculture. Thus, the gains come in by converting people to eating less meat/dairy or even going vegetarian or vegan. I have absolutely no issues with people being vegetarian – I was vegan myself when I was aged 15. However, I do have issues with anybody spreading mistruths or lies to try and convert people to their cause. I started eating meat and dairy again when I was 16, did my degree in animal science, went on to earn higher degrees and now I work with beef and dairy producers every single day. Believe me, if I saw abuse on any of the operations that I have worked with or visited, I would have second thoughts, just as I wouldn’t send my friends or family to hospitals that mistreated patients, or schools that didn’t provide a healthy environment for children. I simply do not have have not seen any of these instances and I have utmost faith in the integrity of the dairy and beef producers who I know and work with.

        • Golden Carter says

          I live in CT currently, so not near Montana, unfortunately. It’s freezing here!
          Do beef cattle normally live such short lives?
          What about all that stuff I hear about them being fattened up with antibiotics?

        • Teri Davis says

          Fattened up with antibiotics? Antibiotics will not fatten up anything.. All they do is help the body fight infections. Fattened up by being corn fed yes that occurs. A cow cannot eat corn it’s entire life it would die just like we would if we ate only chocolate bars and nothing else.

        • Marlee Nolz says

          I worked for a veterinarian for 11 years, that vet was one of larger players in the political end of it. Did you know that PETA and others have been on the terrorist watch group for years? Ingrid Newkirk, cofounder of PETA openly stated that she wanted hoof and mouth to come to the US. Hoof and mouth decimated the UK’s cattle herd and the government had to kill something close to 10 million sheep and cattle to prevent it’s spread. Does that sound like “ethical treatment”? Look at PETA’s rehoming percentages of pets. Close to 90% of all their dogs and cats are put down and not rehomed. Other organizations are just as bad, HSUS donates less than 1% of it’s 100 million annual budget to dogs and cats they portray in their commercials.

        • Teri Davis says

          Marlee absolutely the truth. PETA and HSUS both just want money. They couldn;t care less about animals and their welfare. PETA is still on the terrorist group list. IT is a shame but in order to make money they spend money while we in the actual animal welfare business spend every cent we get including most of our own money saving lives.

        • bovidiva says

          Also, bear in mind that there is a motive behind publishing “horror” videos or stories relating to any industry – agricultural or not. For example, there have been a few occurrences over the past 5 years of schoolteachers being arrested for having sexual relationships with their pupils. Does that mean that all teachers sleep with their pupils? Of course not.

          I am not saying that abuse never occurs on-farm – this video was proof that it does, but consider how often these videos come out (once per year, if that) given that there are over 50,000 dairy farms in the USA and they have people working on them every single day. If abuse was as common as is suggested by the activist groups, we’d been seeing hours of abuse footage on the evening news every single night.

    • bovidiva says

      I haven’t read Carrie’s links yet either, but if I can put my ruminant nutrition hat on for a moment (I have a PhD in ruminant nutrition), I can assure you that if we tried to feed dairy cattle a diet that only contained grains, we would very quickly have a lot of dead cows! Dairy farmers learned that years ago (1940’s or so) when corn feeding first came into play. The average dairy cow diet nowadays contains about 60% hay and forages (e.g. grass, alfalfa, silages etc) and 40% grains, pulses and other ingredients (e.g. added fats, vitamins, minerals etc). A cow whose genetics mean that she’s naturally going to make a lot of milk (e.g. 100 lbs per day) might be fed a diet up to 30% forages and 70% grains, pulses etc while she is in early lactation (first 3 months or so) to ensure that she has enough energy and doesn’t lose too much weight, but then the grain component will drop down to 40% or so later in lactation when she’s not making as much milk. It’s the same as the recommendations given to nursing women – breastfeeding is a great way for ladies to lose pregnancy weight, but dieting during breastfeeding isn’t a great idea. Just as we can’t run a marathon on a diet of celery and lettuce, we need to make sure that dairy cows have enough energy and protein to support health and lactation.

  80. Sheryl Rollins-Mashos says

    I once had a horse get impacted, colic and go down….if you know horses and colic…going down is NOT what you want to see. Had there been an animal rights activist on my place at that time, I surely would have been arrested for animal abuse. I beat the snot out of him trying to get him back on his feet. I got the job done and he lived through it….after walking him all night in a foot of snow and 18 degrees outside. We dumped a gallon of mineral oil down the front end and about that much down the back end hoping to get something moving. When it finally did, It REALLY did! But, those animal rights people don’t realize what it takes to keep these animals alive sometimes. And when I discipline my horse with a good solid smack on the shoulder or what ever…its not anywhere near as harsh as what he would get from another horse in the wild if he did something wrong. Dang bleeding hearts anyways!

  81. Lizz Clements says

    It’s sad that you think that you actually love an animal so much that you have to hurt it. That is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Here’s a comparison. I love my mom, but she suffers from depression. She says she doesn’t want to go out but I know what’s better for her. So, when I think she needs to get out of the house I make sure she does, even if that means forcing her to get dressed, kicking and screaming and slapping her a few times if I have to. Or another comparison. I love my dog. Sometimes, though, he doesn’t do what I want him to. When that happens, I kick him in order to get my way. Because, obviously, he doesn’t know what’s best himself. It also saddens me that you probably won’t even get to reading this whole comment. Apparently, it’s only important to listen to someone preaching when it’s preaching for the issue you agree with. Deleting comments by those who object to violence against animals isn’t classy, just so you’re aware. If you’ve managed to get to this point I’d just like to offer you a final thought. I’ve often wanted to ask another “farmer” I know, but haven’t had the right moment. I want to know why you hate yourself. I know, sounds dramatic that way, but think about it. You say you love these animals, but you have to witness them go through traumatic events, and the only reason is yourself. Your industry. Your wallet. If you do feel heartache and pain over losing a cow, or having to be “mean” to it, the only thing you’re doing is making yourself suffer. The animal industry, no matter how small, the only product it sells is needless suffering. Yours and theirs. There is nothing positive in it. All it does is prolong an immoral tradition that is thankfully dying. I hope that some day you love yourself and your cows enough to realize you don’t have to hurt them, or yourself, anymore. You do have a choice.

    • dairycarrie says

      Lizz, if your depressed mother weighed 1800lbs and would die if she didn’t get up I certainly hope you would do everything possible to save her.
      I only delete comments that are way out of line. I support discussion but I’m not going to be a whipping post for a bunch of trolls.

    • bovidiva says

      I think you’re missing the point. If we don’t get a downer cow up, she will die. She’s a dead cow. An ex-cow. A cow who’s shuffled off the mortal coil. Are you honestly suggesting that it’s more humane for Dairy Carrie to leave the cow to die than do everything she can to get her up and walking? That would be the essence of inhumane treatment.

      • catgrill says

        No, we aren’t suggesting that she leave a downed cow to die. What we are suggesting is not having a downed cow in the first place. That means get out of the dairy industry completely. What, that option hadn’t occurred to you?!

        • bovidiva says

          An entire industry that employs millions of people globally and produces food for billions should be eliminated simply because you don’t agree with it? Wow. That’s pretty extreme.

          As stated earlier in comments and on the blog post, downed cows occur in any cattle system, including wild cattle that have never been touched by humans. Suggest you improve your ruminant knowledge before denigrating farming.

        • catgrill says

          So, my ruminant knowledge isn’t up to your standards, eh? Animals produce far less food for people than plants. Raising animals for meat, dairy, and eggs uses more water and land than raising a plant-based diet. We would be able to feed a lot more people using plants then we ever would using animals. There’s also the consideration of pollution caused by raising animals for human consumption. Those are the facts, you can look them up. And if those are the facts how can you call my position “extreme”??
          BTW, my grandfather was a chicken farmer his entire life and I grew up around that. So I do know something about raising animals for food.

        • Beth says

          I will agree 100% with you regarding the amount of water it takes to raise a meat, egg animal, and the amount of water pollution the manure creates. Remember reading Jeremy Rifkins 1993 book Beyond Beef where he writes about that fact.

          And with climate changes and more and more areas having drought issues I do wonder if we as a nation will become less animal food based and more plant based.

          By the way do you grow a vegetable garden? Buy from an organic farmers market? I do both and support and encourage others to do so as well. I assume you are a vegan.

        • bovidiva says

          I stand by my original comment. Just because you can state “facts” re: resource consumption does not mean that your position re: the elimination of dairy production is automatically valid. You are also missing the point that the beef and dairy industries globally use considerable quantities of land that cannot be used to grow plant-based proteins, and that livestock are an integral part of sustaining livelihoods (including cultural status, financial viability and risk management) in many households in the developing world. Is it acceptable to deprive those people of a livelihood simply because you don’t agree with animals being raised for food? If so, your position isn’t simply extreme, but has delusions of grandeur!

          It takes less energy to cycle to work than to drive a car – does that mean that you’re in favor of eliminating vehicles too?

          As to your grandfather being a chicken farmer – one of mine was a timber expert – does that mean I have an innate understanding of forestry? Of course not.

          I will celebrate the right of anybody to choose an omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan diet – I’m just not sure why you cannot extend that courtesy to other people. By all means have opinions, but why should the world be run according to your personal standards?

        • Marlee Nolz says

          Well yes and no. True plants do feed more people, corn is good money so more and more pasture is being converted to farm land. The minute that land is tilled all the carbons the soil has trapped gets released into the air. The expensive corn crop also gets worked several times by big, diseal chugging tractors, sprayed with pesticides and lets not even get into the GMO seed argument (which is a huge part of why we can feed more people with plants).

          Consider this the United States has 10% of the worlds cattle yet we produce 25% of the worlds beef. That means just like we have gotten better producing plants we have gotten better raising cattle. (USA use to be number 1 in the world for cattle #, Australia and Brazil have surpassed us. Developing countries such as South Africa are also seeing a rise in cattle production.)

          No need to beat around the bush YES COW FARTS HURT THE OZONE. Currently there are 200 times more CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) than CH4 (Methane). Lets also be clear,about this as well animal rights people would care less if cow farts sprouted rainbows and butterflies, it’s a platform for their agenda. People are so much more likely to identify with “it’s someone else’s fault” instead of I don’t want to have to park my car. ie I want change without changing.

    • Gary Behnke says

      And that choice is????? I am always willing to try something new, different and unconventional as long as it is practical, taking them into the living room in front of the stove isn’t practical it would be silly. Please feel free to ask me. I dont mind questions and I like new ideas.

  82. thebipolarfarmer says

    I run a horse rescue and really liked this post. I often cringe at the undercover videos that get wide play in social media. Most show normal “farming”. not all, but some. When we have a down horse, we will do anything necessary to get them up. That includes yelling, kicking, yanking, pulling and hitting. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like dead animals so we do it. There are times we lay down the law with a 1200lb out of line horse. It keeps us safe and them safe, If someone were to video it and post it I could easily be accused of abuse. The difference is abuse is systemic. It happens repeatedly. That is what these videos don’t tell you. They are edited together. Sometimes months of footage are combined to create that 1 min of heinous looking cruelty. I’m sorry but PETA and the rest just don’t understand farming and responsibly keeping livestock. I am mean to my animals when it means the best for them and us. I don’t like to hit or yell at them, and I do love them deeply. I am not a monster, I’m just a farmer doing her job. These videos will never grasp that. Thanks Carrie for posted about this subject so bravely.

  83. Luca Iorga says

    Yes, sometimes you have to be mean to animals for their own good, no argument there .
    BUT – Most of the things you’re talking about here just go to show that dairy cattle have been bred into a form that’s leads to a low quality of life. Name ONE wild animal that has this “down” problem? It’s grotesque… Like the modern bulldog breed which needs all sorts of medical intervention to merely exist. Don’t breed dogs for appearance’s sake if they’ll barely be able to breathe or give birth, don’t breed horses for speed with complete disregard for their hooves and general soundness, don’t breed pigs so large that they can’t walk, and don’t breed cows that require cruel treatment “for their own good”. Knowing that the bloated mutants you’ve bred require abuse to prolong their life because their own bodies suck by (human) design should be all the more reason to NOT continue to breed them, and to NOT support those industries.

    • dairycarrie says

      Bisons, yaks, water buffalo, zebras, mustangs, elephants, hippos…. should I keep going?

      All of these animals can have the same problems in the wild. It’s a function of their size not the breeding of man.

    • Tina Ravyn Shaw says

      Whales, porpoises, and dolphins, when they beach themselves, and for pretty much the same reasons: they are too big to sustain their own organs when gravity affects them for too long in a disadvantageous manner.

    • Gary Behnke says

      In the wild they would die a much worse death. they are attacked by predatory animals and most normally die of exsanguination (bleeding to death) after having their throat ripped out and how long does it take for a large animal to “bleed out”

  84. catgrill says

    Why the hell are you raising animals for food anyway? It’s not necessary for humans to eat animal products and it’s cruel to the animals. Your position seems to be that as long as you treat the animals with as much kindness as possible up until the point that they have to deliver for you that everything is A-OK. Well it’s not okay. The animals are not here for us to use as commodities. By the way, I have seen cows lying down in pastures. Nobody runs up to them to try to get them up. The only reason why you want to get a downed cow up is so that you can move her through the process of farming her body for human consumption for your own livelihood. You should find something else to do to support yourself. Just leave animals out of the equation.

    • dairycarrie says

      Down cow doesn’t refer to a cow that is simply laying down. A down cow is a cow that can’t get up and will die if left to lay there.

      You don’t have to accept eating meat but you should at least read the post before you comment.

      • catgrill says

        You missed my point which is, you wouldn’t have to deal with downed cows if you weren’t in the business of raising cows for food. And the cows wouldn’t have to be dealing with you.

        • Holly Tuell says

          Not sure how this got to be a podium for not eating meat…and obviously, Catgrill, you never lived on a farm. Your comment about cows laying down in a field made me laugh, because it proved you don’t get it! “Downed” animals and “Down” because they are ill or something physically is wrong, and they CAN’T get up on their own. Have YOU ever tried to move a 1500# animal that cannot help you OR itself? Yet, you know if you leave it there, it’s going to die, and the death will most likely be very painful, and in many cases, unnecessary, because once they are up, they can be helped. My Dad had to get one up…he put a harness under and behind her front legs, and also around by the back legs…he had also fashioned a blanket between the two harnesses, then used his tractor loader, to help her up. She even tried to help him…he got her up and standing with the help of the “blanket” harness…they were then able to tell by exam that she had a twisted bowel…the veterinarian was called in, and they performed emergency surgery on her to fix the twisted bowel..he said if she’d been left to lay, she would have certainly died…it’s like internal strangulation, and becomes extremely painful for the animal. She healed up great, and she lived for many years….

          It’s funny, but the same thing can happen to a dog…and no one questions someone picking the dog up to carry them to the vet….why is this any different, other than you can’t just “pick” the cow up….

    • Beth says

      Catgrill I spoke to someone at a nearby animal sanctuary this evening, and was told that they indeed have cows that have been given to them that they have had to help when they became ‘downed’. So even a cow at a animal sanctuary can for some reason or another get down and then unable to get up.

      So how about having an adult constructive conversation here rather than so many curt comments that seem meant to only bash someones way of life.

  85. Lisa Cater says

    We have cattle and of course have had them go down. It sounds mean but have you ever tried pouring a bucket of water on their head?? I have had it work more than once. They hate it and get up. We don’t own a cattle prod. But I have moved a yearling that was knocked down in the “mud” in the feed lot with a loader. Eventually got her into a pen and sat and held her and cried for a long time. She seemed comforted by it and eventually got back up and ate and drank and after being isolated for a few months was returned to the herd where she lived a very long life and was a great mother.

  86. Stella Südekum says

    The fact that you admit you hit and, to use the sugarcoated word, ”prod” your animals is admitting to abuse… That’s what abuse is. If you really loved your cows, you wouldn’t be forcing them to work for you and do your will whenever you feel like it’s time for them to do so. Thank you for re-establishing my beliefs as a vegan, animal rights supporter, and human that animals are not on earth to be subjugated or exploited. That cow’s purpose in life isn’t to make milk for you to make a living off of, it’s to make milk only when her natural born baby calf needs it. I hope you take my words in mind…

  87. catgrill says

    So I see Dairy Carrie has deleted my comments. Only keep those posts that encourage you to do what you’re doing without any criticism. What’s the point in blogging about something if you’re not going to allow everyone’s responses to be read?

      • Matthew Arkema says

        Well, you didn’t allow mine to go through, and my comment was respectful, and not vulgar. It was only opposing what you said. It had major valid points which is why it didn’t get approved!

        • dairycarrie says

          Actually it was because I went to bed and didn’t see your comment until this morning. But if you want to be rude about it I have no problem not approving your comments.

        • catgrill says

          I am able to see all of my comments now. For a while, I kept scrolling and scrolling and could not see any of my comments even though I know I posted them at certain times. I’m sorry for accusing you of deleting my comments. They just weren’t visible to me for some reason, but now they are.

  88. Janet Harden says

    i agree, and perhaps we need to look at that, finding new ways to get them up and keep them up. instead of looking for the bad find a solution to the hard question…how to get an animal that is that large back on her feet in any situation or location. i know there are plenty of engineers about but none of them have studied the problem or the locations. It is not something that i have an answer for just more questions.

  89. Tina Ravyn Shaw says

    A very informative article, and one that doesn’t just pertain to cows, but to all large livestock. I only just this past spring realized a lifelong dream and bought a small, five acre farm where I’m currently raising chickens, sheep, my cats & dogs, and… horses. And just the other night, I was “mean” to my sister’s horse, when I dealt with the first ever colic event I’ve seen. I’m quite certain that if anyone had seen me shouting and walloping that gelding with the soft end of his lead rope (as I was bawling desperately for him to GET UP, $%^&*&^%$%^&), they would have had me arrested for cruelty. I don’t have any big farm equipment, and would have had to run to my neighbor’s down the road a piece to beg them to come help me, if he hadn’t, finally, decided to quit ignoring me and heaved himself up… only to go down again a few feet away, and I started everything all over again. But the next time he managed to heave himself up, he stayed up, and stayed walking with me, and he’s alive today, and until that night, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would ever find myself “beating” an animal under my care.

    Now, I know. And, wow, were my eyes opened.

  90. catgrill says

    You seem to think I have a problem with having to get down cows up. I don’t. I have a problem with raising animals for human consumption. Of course animal sanctuaries are going to have to help down cows get up, just as dairy and cattle farms have to. We should be having a constructive conversation about the need for raising animals for food in the first place.

  91. Butch Wortner says

    I worked on a large farm and yes we had to get the cows up no matter what Farmers are a very special breed and I want to thank you and all the farmers for doing the thank less jobs you all do.

  92. MrsHamilton Barrow Willis says

    I think the situations you are describing in your blog and what happens at some very large “factory” farms are two different things. In the case of the most recent unvercover video, the owners of the farm FIRED two of the men videoed abusing their cows and took one off animal handling duties.

    And before you start assuming I am a Vegan radical animal rights advocate let me tell you that my late hisband and I owned and managed a herd of about 200 beef cattle. We bred cattle for slaughter, but that doesn’t mean we believed they should EVER be handled with cruelty or abused while in our herd, and we sincerely hoped they were not abused or treated with cruelty after they left us. This was almost 25 years ago.

    But in truth, MANY meat animals these days are treated abusively especially in the big feed lots and at the actual slaughter houses. That is why, when I do eat meat, I try to buy locally raised and slaughtered animals. I don’t want to eat meat from terrified and suffering animals. I don’t want to eat meat full of synthetic or added hormones and chemicals either.

    The same goes for the milk I drink and the eggs I eat. I buy milk from a small locally owned dairy that pasturizes and sells its own milk only about 12 miles away. Their milk is carried in the local grocery right along side of national and regional commercial brands. I buy eggs from a woman who has a small flock and sells her “extra” eggs. I like buying from her because I can buy as few as two or three eggs or as many as a dozen.

    • dairycarrie says

      I don’t think that you’re an animal right activist at all and I agree that what I describe isn’t the only thing that the most recent video shows. I’m glad that they fired those workers and I hope they are charged and convicted of animal abuse.
      I disagree that this is something that large farms are responsible for. I think abuse happens where it does because of circumstances that don’t necessarily correlate with farm size.

  93. Amisha Klawonn says

    It is interesting to see a different perspective on this issue of down cows. However, it seems to me a lot like:
    “I hit my child because its what is going to make them a better person.”
    “They need to be roughed up so they will survive in this world”

    Same difference. The cow does have emotions whether you choose to believe it or not. Why does the cow not want to get up? What does it have to look forward to? Being impregnanated, carrying that calf and then having it forcibly taken away from her, then she is milked constantly for human consumption. Yep, I would be depressed too and death might be a better option.

    Have you considered changing the environment for your cows? Being MEAN to your cows does not excuse the behavior of using a tractor or cattle prod on them, do you cattle prod your children when they are depressed or not moving (hello teenager). It IS the same, you can choose to not believe it, but cows were not meant to milked for humans, they have there own inherent value on this planet, and its not to serve you.

    I hope you reconsider your MEAN stance, just cause you have rationalized it, does NOT make ok.

    • dairycarrie says

      Not at all the same as beating kids, how offensive and ridiculous!

      Go back and read again and pay attention to the words. Then come back and tell me how you would get an 1800lbs animal up when she is sick or injured.

    • Mercy says

      I’m sorry? The cow does not look into the future and think,”They’re just exploiting me here so I think I’ll just lie here and die.” The cow is not capable of that level of thought. Please stop equating animals and people.

  94. Jessi Reel says

    Thank you so much for posting this!
    I was in a food security class this last semester and we covered the difference between rights and welfare..
    The topic angers me, PETA and all them spin things and it is BS for spewing things, because what would we do with all of the animals if we weren’t utilizing them…

  95. Kimberly Clark says

    Thank you so much for your honesty, and a great article. There are always two sides to a story and you’ve done a great job explaining this side which is so important to educating people on an often misunderstood industry – farming in general.

  96. Holly Tuell says

    I grew up on a farm, too, Carrie. And I fully understand what you’re saying here. I remember my Dad and Grampa having to get downed cows on their feet, if possible, to save their lives…or obstinate cows who just refused. But they were never “mean”, and used same methods as you and Hubs. However, my issue is with the slaughter houses. My son worked at one here in Green Bay (American Foods) and the practices used by the ones in the entry chutes were horrific…and that’s the ones I have issue with…these animals smell what’s coming, though many think cows are “dumb”, they’re dumb like a fox…and they are already afraid, and these monsters used cattle prods in totally inappropriate ways to move them in…and I do not know how putting a cattle prod in a cow’s eye or up their behind is considered proper method to move them along…right along with other implements…my son had to quit, because he could no longer take being in there, and seeing what was going on, and being expected to participate in it. And these were illegals who were working there….

    So, I support what you’re saying, Carrie, but I also take issue with those who seem to find pleasure in an animal’s pain. Just my opinion!

  97. Cyn Cooley says

    Thank you for this very informative post. I am always at odds with my dairy consumption which is admittedly limited but I still love yogurt and cheese and half and half in my coffee. While I still struggle, this article helped me understand more of your world. I too, love cows and don’t want them to suffer for me and I want to make educated choices and know the full breadth of what’s going on. Thank you for educating!

  98. Jeff Zingsheim says

    Carrie – Thank you for this education. I was referred to your blog by my Uncle, also a farmer, when I was asking him about the recent news articles of animal abuse in Appleton. This provides “the rest of the story”, and also shows how today’s news is likely taken totally out of context.

    While true abuse is inexcusable, and should be investigated and punished, this is a perfect “teachable moment” for those of us “city people” who aren’t exposed to farms on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I doubt whether any of the sensationalism in modern news will allow any major news outlet from running THIS story.

  99. andievecchio says

    You are so amazing! I’m so happy that you are opening eyes to people who get the wrong idea about the agriculture industry. We ARE good people and we do whatever it takes to save an animal. I had to be a meanie just this last weekend to one of our red angus heifers who went down after hurting her leg. We ended up needing the forklift to get her up. Bottom line though is she’s alive and her leg is healing. Agvocate on dairy Carrie we support you!

  100. Heidi Stevenson says

    On one of our acreages, we had leased the excess land to a beef farmer for his cattle. One of the girls got into the alfalfa field next door through the fences and it wasn’t long before we realized something was wrong. We didn’t know, prior to this, what alfalfa does to cows. I was horrified as I watched one of the ranch hands stab the cow in the side. Then the others joined in to help. I could just imagine what peta would have said to that, but this quick-thinking guy saved that old girl’s life, and the vet was there within 10 minutes to tend to her. I have a healthy respect for farmers that take care of their animals. Almost all farmers here are like that with their cattle, which is probable why we have the best beef in the world. Happy, healthy cows make fantastic beef!

    • dairycarrie says

      I just want to point out that alfalfa hay is a totally normal feed for cows. But a cow getting out and gorging on a lush green field of pure alfalfa could cause it to have stomach bloat.

  101. Tracy Steckling says

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand why you chose this time and forum to support a situation/farm where you yourself noted there were instances of abuse. Maybe sometimes it is necessary to kick at a cow to get it up (okay, your story was somewhat plausible) but there is no justification for abuse. Also if you really want to talk about animal instincts, if a cow goes down, maybe there is a reason? When animals are ill, they find a place to go and most often, they don’t get up. Maybe instead of kicking, beating, prodding and using machinery to hoist them and get them back to work, your love for these animals could sway you to end their lives mercifully. The irony of the story is that you are not really “saving” them for some great life, just saving profits.

    • dairycarrie says

      You do realize that this post was put out before the MFA video right?

      Yes a cow lays down if she isn’t feeling well. The problem comes when she doesn’t get back up. Your solution to that is to shoot her? I hope you never have knee surgery and need physical therapy before you “go back to work” … under your guidelines it could be fatal!

  102. Gary Behnke says

    Well, what a terrible person to make your cows do something they don’t want to do . I am a retired dairy man. I currently rent my facilitates to a family that wanted to start a dairy. We (our family) have been dairying for probably 150 years, no kidding. Cows that go “down” will die unless they get up. PERIOD. Now how they get back up is another matter. They don’t say I don’t feel good and I am going to lay down for a nap until the the vet gets here. They usually go down in the most inconvenient places I have had them go down in front of the waterer, on the milk line and one time one fell off the milk line into the pit (that one did not end well). I have never used a skid steer because I don’t have one. I have used chain falls, my backhoe, which I might add has a cattle prod in the tool box. snatch blocks hanging from the holding room roof.

    Sometimes you cant wait for the vet, you have to do something ,anything to get it up and moving, that cow represents a big investment and I am no more going to damage it in some way than I am going to drive my car without oil. They get milk fever, broken legs pinched nerves, pneumonia, mastitis, bloat and the list goes on. Seems like folks loose sight of the fact they are animals, big animals you don’t bring them into the living room and make a place for them to lay down. Although I will admit to hauling more than one new born calf down to our basement.

    Cow are bred to produce milk that is their job, my job is to try and keep them healthy and get the milk out. Cows are bred to reproduce and begin lactation. Some times they throw (sorry give birth) to bulls. They are castrated and sold for meat. All the jokes about mean bulls are true. Most dairies breed using artificial insemination. When I was a kid everyone had a bull or access to one. I have never EVER even owned one. And after thinking about it there has never been a bull on the property since I owned it. It is so much safer that way.

    If you have ever been caught between the wall and a cow who decides to step on your foot. Trust me you do (and say) lots of things because the cow weighs as much as a Buick. It hurts, A LOT.

    Finally some times they don’t make it. There have been tears and a trip up to the barn to get the rifle preceded by my wife and kids going to the house and turning up the TV real loud. Animals die and if a family farm does not have its own pet cemetery they are lying. Our kids are long grown but I can show you a big patch of wild flowers and some weather beaten crosses. The dairy business isn’t always fun and cows don’t fart rainbows and poop Skittles. You cant fix stupid. If some townies (as my kids called them) have a better way keeping in mind that I have to buy food for the humans and a roof over our heads I have yet to hear it.

  103. Susan McNeill-Hotsinpiller says

    Being a “city person” I have no idea what the joys, rigors, or sorrows go on raising any kind of livestock, and if I’d seen this video without the background story, I’d have thought all sorts of mean things about you! Thanks for this clear, easy to understand article!

  104. farmers4choice says

    Thank you for sharing. I have never met anyone in the dairy or livestock industry who doesn’t care about their animals. Yet like you said sometimes you must take action to save them. A very real and honest look into anaimal agriculture. Mahalo!

  105. Kim Voskuil says

    I just want to commend your blog and writing. Your blog was linked on a few of my FB friends’ accounts and I was curious to find out what you had to say about the recent MFA video. In general, I don’t pay much attention to animal abuse videos because I already know that the reality is not the idyllic happy cows in sunny pastures from the commercials. Your post about being mean to the cows perfectly put into words what we should already know, and your responses to comments are spot on. I think it is crazy that people still cannot connect the dots between (insanely) cheap animal products and the necessity for efficiency on farms of all sizes. I don’t have cows or kids, I have a dog, but it seems like forcing a cow to stand up is about the same amount of abuse as dragging a screaming child through the mall.

  106. Joe Pauly says

    Alright, first off. I grew up on a dairy. Our cows do not live on cement, they can roam the pasture or lot or go in the shed when the weather gets bad. We treat our cows well. How well? They never lack for food or water and they very rarely die from a disease that isn’t preventable. Why are dairy cows so big? They are fed better than any other cattle because they need the extra energy to make milk. We do use genetics in the fact that we want our cows to have good bodies and frames and produce a decent amount of milk as well as a decent amount of fat in the milk. We don’t influence or manipulate their genes, but we use selective breeding to bulls that are proven to produce good offspring. Our cows never get hit with antibiotics unless they are sick and actually need them. We do vaccinate them yearly to protect them from disease and protect consumers from disease they could contract through the milk. Dairy farmers spend a LOT of money paying medical bills for their cows. They don’t mess around. We trim their hooves to help them walk better and to keep them from getting diseases and infections. How long do cows last on a typical dairy? I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you I have researched dairy breeds and their history and actually written papers over the topics. But ours probably live anywhere from 5-14 years depending on whether they continually get sick, won’t breed back or become too injured to safely have on the farm. We don’t like to hurt our cows unless it is necessary for their survival, they can have the some problems in nature that they do on a dairy, the only difference being that on a dairy there is someone always watching to help them out. Dairying is a 24/7/365 job. You don’t get days off. If a cow is calving in the middle of the night we are their to help her if needed. If a cow is sick at 3 am, we are treating her or calling the vet.And hormones in the milk? If you believe all dairies put hormones in their feed or inject their cows to help their milk production you need to go do some more research. There are companies that pay dairymen to NOT put hormones in their milk and they won’t even accept milk that has hormones or antibiotics in it. Hiland is a good example. They will not even accept milk from a dairy that does this and will force them to ship elsewhere. Where I am from, that means the dairyman is shipping out of state to a company that doesn’t have as good of products. Dairying is the hardest farm job there is and I’ve heard that from every type of farmer in the United States I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Respect your farmers. If you don’t , don’t even post. It’s just insulting.

  107. Bruce Wright says

    By 2050 we have to produce 70-90% more food to meet the worlds demands, God is not making any more dirt, we have to do better with what we have. If you were to go back to the old ways which would be organic you would have world wide hunger and shorter life span. A down cow is a wasted cow it has no salvage value, as a matter of fact in a lot of places it is going to cost the farmer to get rid of the body. Genetics have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years to improve efficiency in livestock and produce. Look at what George Washington Carver did with the sweet potato and peanut. The Arabs were the first to use artificial insemination to improve their horses, this is not new, Farmers and ranchers have to make a profit other wise they can’t be in business, In reality with sexed semen dairies can basically breed for heifers, this has caused a gap in the fed dairy steer market, that would be were a lot of your cheaper cuts of meat were coming from. HSUS mission is to get rid of livestock production, if you do not believe what their covert mission is and how they intend gain it check out humanewatch.org. I teach Vo-Ag and reactions to this post are the reason why I spend a lot of time on ag communication, you need to be able to explain why the masses are misguided and what really happens as producers.

    • Beth says

      Bruce Wright on December 11, 2013 at 7:14 pm you wrote ‘By 2050 we have to produce 70-90% more food to meet the worlds demands, God is not making any more dirt, we have to do better with what we have. If you were to go back to the old ways which would be organic you would have world wide hunger and shorter life span’.

      Actually if we get population numbers under control via prevention, and we stop throwing away edible food we could well conquer hunger today. A number of newspapers had article this past month about how a study that showed Americans throw out around 40% of the food they buy. One does not see this amount of food waste in places like France, Sweden, Israel as examples. When living there one would find a dirty look being given them were you to waste food.

      And in past decades and centuries it was water borne diseases and over crowding that killed people not lack of food. And with water pollution from animal farming, rain water run off in populated areas, and the sensitive issue of petroleum pollution we may well have a serious issue because we cannot grow fruits and vegetables.

      Israel was a desert land yet with wise water management they grow most of their own food and export a lot of non GMO foods. So they have shown that water is a NEED.

      Eating animals and animal products for most people is a want…. not a need. An exception for me would be places like arctic regions where the native people have to hunt in order to eat.

  108. Kate Curatola says

    I am going to be one of the few to disagree here. I was born and raised on a dairy farm in northeast Wisconsin. I was in the barn every night doing my chores from before I could walk until I turned 18 and I’m proud to say that I never witnessed anything close to the terrible things that I witnessed in the Mercy video (which made me lose it, by the way). I agree that happy cows produce more milk, but none of those cows shown in the video looked happy. Having her hind legs lifted so high in the air that the cow’s head dragged along the floor isn’t humane. Stabbing animals with sharp objects until they bleed isn’t humane. Leaving abesses untreated is not humane. Swearing at cows calling them ‘bitches’, ‘whores’, and ‘cunts’ in any language, whether cows know it or not (to those who want to argue with this one……infants don’t understand language, but you wouldn’t call them those names) is not humane. My dad refused to use give our cows BGH because he knew how hard it would be on their bodies. My father is also a rare man whose care, compassion, and respect for animals was more important to him than money. The nastiest thing my dad ever had to use was a wiffle bat. So there you have it. I’m saddened how many people here are bragging about how mean they are to their animals. I’m well aware that farming is a more than challenging occupation, but no circumstances give humans the right or justification to do most of the things I saw in that video.

    • dairycarrie says

      Kate I am absolutely not condoning what was shown in the Mercy video. But being as you grew up on a farm don’t you think it’s wrong to use footage of a cow that just calved, a calf in a wheelbarrow, and a few hock injuries that could have happened very easily without any human cause and lump that in with the actual abuse?

      Do you think that it’s ok that MFA used this video to not just to have the authorities intervene but it try and push their vegan agenda?

      Do you think it’s ok that their undercover “investigator” allowed the abuse to continue so they could get more footage instead of bringing in the authorities immediately?

  109. 2013jjj says

    I think this is giving example of what some people call “inherent abuse in the industry” and a reason so many people are turning away from it. It’s nothing personal against you if someone wants to advocate for the end of the industry…we all just want a better world for animals! Just some of us want to promote a world where “inherent abuse” doesn’t exist.

  110. Annmarie West says

    to all the people with their nasty comments just remember when you have that cup of coffee or tea and that bowl of cereal in the morning and you are pouring the milk in it thank a dairy farmer.. It is a hard job its 365 days 24/7 job and sure is not easy either. My dad worked on a dairy and I saw it first hand.

  111. Randy Ragan says

    I understand, I grew up on a dairy and had my own for 15 years. people watch the tv and form opinions based on 1 minute of video. not anywherer close to reality. Any and everyone I know in or have been in the dairy buisness knows, cows are your livelyhood. Take care of them are you go broke. Unfortunatley the economy has pushed most of the family farms out of buisness. Now they get to live with not all, but the more & more majority of larger corporate farms that are more worried about $ than cows. The sad truth is more and More of the population is farther displaced from farming and all they see is what television throws at them. and not what the truth realy is. I did not read all yhour post, but did not feel like I needed to the first two paragraphs brought it home. good luck with your quest. Randy J Ragan.

  112. Cindy Green says

    I have worked on three larger dairy farms and there is nothing humane about them. Buy your milk from a local dairy that lets there cows out on the grass. Nothing better. If you think anything about her post is okay….yeah you have to get the cow up if something is wrong but you rarely have that problem on a small a dairy farm…anything about cows in confinement and even Holstein cows is wrong….oh but we have them on sand packs…so what…not natural…..

  113. Marlee Nolz says

    For those of you that keep insisting that the cow is some how sick and abused you need to look at these cows like teenagers and school. If you are lucky you have a kid that will get up on his own and get ready for school. The majority of kids will get up with a little prodding. What would you do if you had a 250 linebacker of a kid that simply wouldn’t get up for school? Would you say the kid has “given up hope” just because he doesn’t want to leave his bed?

    By the way I’ve been hit twice with a hot shot. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s not so much a pain as it is shock. It’s unpleasant and I don’t want to get hit a third time but the first time was bare skin between my toes and it didn’t leave so much as a red mark.

    Milk cows, or cows in general, are not the only animals to get milk fever. It usually, but not always, happens the next few days following calving. It has nothing to do with milk (other than it’s usual coincidence with birth) and it isn’t a fever, it’s a calcium deficiency.

  114. Lori Baxter McAllister says

    Great post, I have milk cows 1-2 at a time on our family farm for many years, and had to do exactly what you describe, though not fun it is the only way to save them sometimes and I adore my milk cows and all my livestock for that matter. I can’t stand how these animal rights groups post only what they want you to see and not the whole picture of the cow actually up and well again. I love reading your stuff, keep it up!!

  115. Bryan Jones says

    From a different point of view … I’m a butcher. I have several clients who are dairies … some running more than 4500 cows. And whether big or small the same holds true … If you mistreat your animals they wont produce. A mistreated dairy cow wont produce as much milk. A registered angus steer wont grow as big if abused. Guess what .. farmers have figured this out! While you may have one GIANT producer that mistreats animals you have 99 smaller producers that know what personal care means in the way of returns.

    Dairy cows have been selectively bred. Its a fact. They have been crossed with other subspecies that are better at producing. Farmers got tired of their teats hanging low and crossed the ability to produce with larger frame animals that are taller and longer. But that daschund sitting in your lap was selectively bred for similar reasons. And we have done the same thing to animals and each other for thousands of years.

    Its fun to sit back and point the collective finger at each other and say I’m more evolved than you, and each side believes it. But its time we got back into our collective roots and got in touch with where our food actually comes from. Vegans I love ya. Takes a lot of effort to get your protein from somewhere other than meat. Vegetarians … Dairy and seafood ARE meat products .. so pick a side. And carnivores … I’m like you and want to get my protein easily as possible.

  116. supermanalexthegreat says

    First of all there is no excuse for using growth hormones or antibiotics on these animals, these chemicals later go right up the food chain and infect humans (growth hormones have been linked to early onset of puberty and antibiotics in farm animals have been linked to the proliferation of antibiotic resistant staph infections. Both of these, like GMO, are outlawed in much of Europe. We’re working to make that the case here also. Secondly, humans are animals, dont consider yourself any better or any worse than any other animal, just because you are a human being. I have never supported testing on ay animals, particularly since many animals experience emotions are intelligent (up to the intelligence of a 5 yr old) and we have no right to make them feel pain. But you do what you do to make money, letting your greed cloud your better judgment. And when you get exposed you whine like a baby.

    • bovidiva says

      Supermanalexthegreat – Utterly untrue re: growth hormones and early puberty. This junk science has been spread by the anti-technology lobby for years on the basis of children reaching puberty earlier nowadays than 30 years ago. The fact that growth hormones have been introduced during that time “obviously” means that it must be the fault of the hormones. Absolute nonsense. Might as well claim that the Packers winning the Super Bowl caused it – after all that happened three times in the past 20 years. In any mammal (human, cow, cat dog, etc) age at puberty is largely governed by body fat content. If you have two 12 year old girls, the one with higher body fat is likely to reach puberty faster than the other. This is why, by contrast, gymnasts and athletes with a very low body fat tend to have a delay reaching puberty or to cease to menstruate for a number of years. The changes in childhood body fat and obesity over the past half-century are due to a number of factors, but the number one is simply an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure, i.e. eating more than is required to support daily activities. It’s a cliche to suggest that all 70’s kids played in treehouses and ran around in the backyard, and that modern children sit in front of the TV all day, but it is a definite trend.

      As a side-note, as somebody who was born and bred in Europe before moving to the USA, the fact that something is not used in Europe does not mean that there is “no excuse for using” it. Would you use the same logic to suggest that Facebook and YouTube shouldn’t be used in the USA because they are outlawed in China? Europe has not approved the use of growth hormones in dairy for one simple reason – dairy quotas still exist. Where there’s a region-wide governmental effort to control milk production, introducing a technology that boosts productivity becomes a huge political issue. Suggest that you do further scientific and political research rather than relying on the “everybody knows that…” school of activist thought.

      • supermanalexthegreat says

        Junk science? More like it’s an issue of business sponsored “science” vs science that does not have any bias. Unfortunately, in America, research is sponsored by companies that have a vested interest in the results. Here is what is on the CDC website (Centers for Disease Control) as well as NEW research from 2012-13. I did the same with the Monsanto issue- they got caught redhanded dumping PCBs in the water supply AND they poisoned our soldiers with Agent Orange not to mention settled a lawsuit quietly for a chemical that caused 500,000 children to be born with birth defects, why is this company still allowed to exist? Because America is a plutocracy with specific employees of these companies working inside the government (Michael Taylor and Tom Wilczak), but we’re working on remedying the situation with mandatory labeling. Hormone infested milk is already banned from most of our supermarkets and we labelling laws have been passed. Usage of GMO pesticides that damage the environment and cause cellular damage in humans (and were linked in a Stanford study to the exponential increase in childhood leukemia, birth defects and autism when consumed by pregnant women) has greatly been curtailed. The enemy is on the retreat- as well they should be for what they’ve done.

        Okay here is some easy to understand research on just these specific issues we’ve addressed here:

        Antibiotic Resistance and Food Safety
        New! Antibiotic Use in Food Producing Animals: Tracking and Reducing the Public Health Impact Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common, and some pathogens have even become resistant to multiple types or classes of antibiotics (antimicrobials used to treat bacterial infections). Antibiotic resistant infections can also come from the food we eat. The germs that contaminate food can be resistant because of the use of antibiotics in people and in food animals. We can prevent many of these infections with careful antibiotic use and by keeping Salmonella, and other bacteria out of the food we eat. Recent outbreaks in 2011, 2011-2012, and 2013 of multi-resistant Salmonella traced to ground beef and poultry show how animal and human health are linked.
        Antibiotic Use in Food-Producing Animals Tracking and Reducing the Public Health Impact Scientists around the world have provided strong evidence that antibiotic use in food-producing animals can have a negative impact on public health. More Antibiotics must be used judiciously in humans and animals because both uses contribute to the emergence, persistence, and spread of resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria in food-producing animals are of particular concern. Food animals serve as a reservoir of resistant pathogens and resistance mechanisms that can directly or indirectly result in antibiotic resistant infections in humans. For example, resistant bacteria may be transmitted to humans through the foods we eat. Some bacteria have become resistant to more than one type of antibiotic, which makes it more difficult to treat the infections they cause. Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs is vital to protecting human and animal health. This website discusses: The public health impact of antibiotic use in food-producing animals. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause human illness and are transmitted commonly by food. What CDC is doing to prevent antibiotic resistance in infections transmitted commonly by food.
        Report 2013 This report, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 gives a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health.
        Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.
        Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.

        For many parents of early-developing girls, “normal” is a crazy-making word, especially when uttered by a doctor; it implies that the patient, or patient’s mother, should quit being neurotic and accept that not much can be done. Allomong listened intently. He nodded and took notes, asking Tracee detailed questions about her birth-control history and validating her worst fears by mentioning the “extremely high levels” of estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the food and water supply. After about 20 minutes he asked Ainsley to lie on a table. There he performed a lengthy physical exam that involved testing the strength in Ainsley’s arms and legs while she held small glass vials filled with compounds like cortisol, estrogen and sugar. (Kinesiologists believe that weak muscles indicate illness, and that a patient’s muscles will test as weaker when he or she is holding a substance that contributes to health problems.)
        Finally, he asked Ainsley to sit up. “It doesn’t test like it’s her own estrogens,” Allomong reported to Tracee, meaning he didn’t think Ainsley’s ovaries were producing too many hormones on their own. “I think it’s xeno-estrogens, from the environment,” he explained. “And I think it’s stress and insulin and sugar.”
        In the late 1980s, Marcia Herman-Giddens, then a physician’s associate in the pediatric department of the Duke University Medical Center, started noticing that an awful lot of 8- and 9-year-olds in her clinic had sprouted pubic hair and breasts. The medical wisdom, at that time, based on a landmark 1960 study of institutionalized British children, was that puberty began, on average, for girls at age 11. But that was not what Herman-Giddens was seeing. So she started collecting data, eventually leading a study with the American Academy of Pediatrics that sampled 17,000 girls, finding that among white girls, the average age of breast budding was 9.96. Among black girls, it was 8.87.
        When Herman-Giddens published these numbers, in 1997 in Pediatrics, she set off a social and endocrinological firestorm. “I had no idea it would be so huge,” Herman-Giddens told me recently. “The Lolita syndrome” — the prurient fascination with the sexuality of young girls — “created a lot of emotional interest. As a feminist, I wish it didn’t.” Along with medical professionals, mothers, worried about their daughters, flocked to Herman-Giddens’s slide shows, gasping as she flashed images of possible culprits: obesity, processed foods, plastics.
        Meanwhile, doctors wrote letters to journals criticizing the sample in Herman-Giddens’s study. (She collected data from girls at physicians’ offices, leaving her open to the accusation that it wasn’t random.) Was the age of puberty really dropping? Parents said yes. Leading pediatric endocrinologists said no. The stalemate lasted a dozen years. Then in August 2010, the conflict seemed to resolve. Well-respected researchers at three big institutions — Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York — published another study in Pediatrics, finding that by age 7, 10 percent of white girls, 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 2 percent of Asian girls had started developing breasts.
        Now most researchers seem to agree on one thing: Breast budding in girls is starting earlier. The debate has shifted to what this means. Puberty, in girls, involves three events: the growth of breasts, the growth of pubic hair and a first period. Typically the changes unfold in that order, and the proc­ess takes about two years. But the data show a confounding pattern. While studies have shown that the average age of breast budding has fallen significantly since the 1970s, the average age of first period, or menarche, has remained fairly constant, dropping to only 12.5 from 12.8 years. Why would puberty be starting earlier yet ending more or less at the same time?
        To endocrinologists, girls who go through puberty early fall into two camps: girls with diagnosable disorders like central precocious puberty, and girls who simply develop on the early side of the normal curve. But the line between the groups is blurring. “There used to be a discrete gap between normal and abnormal, and there isn’t anymore,” Louise Green­span, a pediatric endocrinologist and co-author of the August 2010 Pediatrics paper, told me one morning in her office at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. Among the few tools available to help distinguish between so-called “normal” and “precocious” puberty are bone-age X-rays. To illustrate how they work, Greenspan pulled out a beautiful old book, Greulich and Pyle’s “Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist,” a standard text for pediatric endocrinologists. Each page showed an X-ray of a hand illustrating “bone age.” The smallest hand was from a newborn baby, the oldest from an adult female. “When a baby is born, there’s all this cartilage,” Greenspan said, pointing to large black gaps surrounding an array of delicate white bones. As the body grows, the pattern of black and white changes. The white bones lengthen, and the black interstices between them, some of which is cartilage, shrink. This process stops at the end of puberty, when the growth plates fuse.
        One main risk for girls with true precocious puberty is advanced bone age. Puberty includes a final growth spurt, after which girls mostly stop growing. If that growth spurt starts too early in life, it ends at an early age too, meaning a child will have fewer growing years total. A girl who has her first period at age 10 will stop growing younger and end up shorter than a genetically identical girl who gets her first period at age 13.
        That morning one of Greenspan’s patients was a 6½-year-old girl with a bone age of 9. She was the tallest girl in her class at school. She started growing pubic hair at age 4. No one thought her growth curve was normal, not even her doctors. (Eight used to be the age cutoff for normal pubic-hair growth in girls; now it’s as early as 7.) For this girl, Greenspan prescribed a once-a-month shot of the hormone Leuprolide, to halt puberty’s progress. The girl hated the shot. Yet nobody second-guessed the treatment plan. The mismatch between her sexual maturation and her age — and the discomfort that created, for everybody — was just too great.
        So why are so many girls with no medical disorder growing breasts early? Doctors don’t know exactly why, but they have identified several contributing factors.
        Girls who are overweight are more likely to enter puberty early than thinner girls, and the ties between obesity and puberty start at a very young age. As Emily Walvoord of the Indiana University School of Medicine points out in her paper “The Timing of Puberty: Is It Changing? Does It Matter?” body-mass index and pubertal timing are associated at age 5, age 3, even age 9 months. This fact has shifted pediatric endocrinologists away from what used to be known as the critical-weight theory of puberty — the idea that once a girl’s body reaches a certain mass, puberty inevitably starts — to a critical-fat theory of puberty. Researchers now believe that fat tissue, not poundage, sets off a feedback loop that can cause a body to mature. As Robert Lustig, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital, explains, fatter girls have higher levels of the hormone leptin, which can lead to early puberty, which leads to higher estrogen levels, which leads to greater insulin resistance, causing girls to have yet more fat tissue, more leptin and more estrogen, the cycle feeding on itself, until their bodies physically mature.
        In addition, animal studies show that the exposure to some environmental chemicals can cause bodies to mature early. Of particular concern are endocrine-disrupters, like “xeno-estrogens” or estrogen mimics. These compounds behave like steroid hormones and can alter puberty timing. For obvious ethical reasons, scientists cannot perform controlled studies proving the direct impact of these chemicals on children, so researchers instead look for so-called “natural experiments,” one of which occurred in 1973 in Michigan, when cattle were accidentally fed grain contaminated with an estrogen-mimicking chemical, the flame retardant PBB. The daughters born to the pregnant women who ate the PBB-laced meat and drank the PBB-laced milk started menstruating significantly earlier than their peers.
        One concern, among parents and researchers, is the effect of simultaneous exposures to many estrogen-mimics, including the compound BPA, which is ubiquitous. Ninety-three percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies. BPA was first made in 1891 and used as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s. In the 1950s commercial manufacturers started putting BPA in hard plastics. Since then BPA has been found in many common products, including dental sealants and cash-register receipts. More than a million pounds of the substance are released into the environment each year.
        The possibility that these early “normal” girls are reacting to estrogens that are not coming from their ovaries is compelling. Part of the comfort is that a girl who is not yet in puberty may not have developed an adolescent brain. This means she would not yet feel the acute tug of her own sexual urges. She would not seek thrills and risk. Still, the idea that there are enough toxins or fat cells in a child’s body to cause breast development is hardly consoling. Besides, some of the psychosocial problems of early puberty derive from what’s happening inside a girl’s body; others, from how people react to her. “If a girl is 10 and she looks 15, it doesn’t make any difference if her pituitary is turned on or if something else caused her breast growth,” Biro says. “She looks like a middle adolescent. People are going to treat her that way. Maybe she’s not interested in reciprocal sex, but she might be pressured into sex nonetheless, and her social skills will be those of a 10-year-old.”



        We summarize the major points of international debate on health risk studies for the main commercialized edible GMOs. These GMOs are soy, maize and oilseed rape designed to contain new pesticide residues since they have been modified to be herbicide-tolerant (mostly to Roundup) or to produce mutated Bt toxins. The debated alimentary chronic risks may come from unpredictable insertional mutagenesis effects, metabolic effects, or from the new pesticide residues. The most detailed regulatory tests on the GMOs are three-month long feeding trials of laboratory rats, which are biochemically assessed. The tests are not compulsory, and are not independently conducted. The test data and the corresponding results are kept in secret by the companies. Our previous analyses of regulatory raw data at these levels, taking the representative examples of three GM maize NK 603, MON 810, and MON 863 led us to conclude that hepatorenal toxicities were possible, and that longer testing was necessary. Our study was criticized by the company developing the GMOs in question and the regulatory bodies, mainly on the divergent biological interpretations of statistically significant biochemical and physiological effects. We present the scientific reasons for the crucially different biological interpretations and also highlight the shortcomings in the experimental protocols designed by the company. The debate implies an enormous responsibility towards public health and is essential due to nonexistent traceability or epidemiological studies in the GMO-producing countries.
        Keywords: GMOs, Health risks, Pesticides, Regulatory toxicology, Animal testsDebate on GMOs Health Risks after Statistical Findings in Regulatory Tests
        We summarize the major points of international debate on health risk studies for…See More


        Monsanto, the biggest promoter of genetically modified food, was hoist with its own petar when it was disclosed that it has a staff canteen in which GM produce is banned.
        Monsanto, the biggest promoter of genetically modified food, was hoist with its own petar when it was disclosed that it has a staff canteen in which GM produce is banned.
        The firm running the canteen at Monsanto’s pharmaceuticals factory at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, serves only GM-free meals, Friends of the Earth said. In a notice in the canteen, Sutcliffe Catering, owned by the Granada Group, said it had taken the decision “to remove, as far as practicable, GM soya and maize from all food products served in our restaurant. We have taken the above steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve.”
        Monsanto confirmed the position. “Yes, this is the case, and it is because we believe in choice,” said the company’s spokesman, Tony Coombes. But employees at Monsanto’s agribusiness plant at Cambridge were happy to eat GM produce, he said. “The notice in the restaurant there says some products may contain GMOs [genetically modified organisms] – because our staff are happy to eat food sprayed with fewer chemicals.”
        Monsanto says crops engineered to be tolerant of its own weedkillers need less pesticide, but critics say that though the dosage may be less, the impact on the environment of these pesticides is much greater. Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth’s food campaigner, said: “The public has made its concerns about GM ingredients very clear – now it appears that even Monsanto’s own catering firm has no confidence in this new technology.”GM food banned in Monsanto canteen
        Monsanto, the biggest promoter of genetically modified food, was hoist with its …See More


        Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2007 May;52(4):596-602. Epub 2007 Mar 13.
        New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity.
        Séralini GE, Cellier D, de Vendomois JS.
        Committee for Independent Information and Research on Genetic Engineering CRIIGEN, Paris, France. criigen@unicaen.fr
        Health risk assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cultivated for food or feed is under debate throughout the world, and very little data have been published on mid- or long-term toxicological studies with mammals. One of these studies performed under the responsibility of Monsanto Company with a transgenic corn MON863 has been subjected to questions from regulatory reviewers in Europe, where it was finally approved in 2005. This necessitated a new assessment of kidney pathological findings, and the results remained controversial. An Appeal Court action in Germany (Münster) allowed public access in June 2005 to all the crude data from this 90-day rat-feeding study. We independently re-analyzed these data. Appropriate statistics were added, such as a multivariate analysis of the growth curves, and for biochemical parameters comparisons between GMO-treated rats and the controls fed with an equivalent normal diet, and separately with six reference diets with different compositions. We observed that after the consumption of MON863, rats showed slight but dose-related significant variations in growth for both sexes, resulting in 3.3% decrease in weight for males and 3.7% increase for females. Chemistry measurements reveal signs of hepatorenal toxicity, marked also by differential sensitivities in males and females. Triglycerides increased by 24-40% in females (either at week 14, dose 11% or at week 5, dose 33%, respectively); urine phosphorus and sodium excretions diminished in males by 31-35% (week 14, dose 33%) for the most important results significantly linked to the treatment in comparison to seven diets tested. Longer experiments are essential in order to indicate the real nature and extent of the possible pathology; with the present data it cannot be concluded that GM corn MON863 is a safe product.



        [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

        Publication Types, MeSH Terms

        GMOs should be safety tested – AMA

        Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:07

        NOTE: U.S. regulators rely almost exclusively on information provided by GM crop developers like Monsanto on an entirely voluntary basis, and those data are not normally published in journals or subjected to peer review. This is why many critics regard U.S. regulation of GM foods as a rubber-stamp approval process that does nothing to ensure the safety of GM foods.

        The American Medical Association’s stance echoes what the British medical journal The Lancet said in an editorial more than a decade ago, “Governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health.”

        GMOs should be safety tested before they hit the market says AMA
        Monica Eng
        Chicago Tribune, 20 June 2012

        The American Medical Association called for mandatory pre-market safety testing of genetically engineered foods as part of a revised policy voted on at the AMA’s meeting in Chicago Tuesday.

        Currently biotech companies are simply encouraged to engage in a voluntary safety consultation with the Food and Drug Administration before releasing a product onto the market.

        Some activists concerned about foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, had hoped the association would have gone so far as to support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. But some still view the policy change as a major breakthrough.

        “We applaud the AMA for taking the lead to help ensure a safe and adequate food supply,” said Anne Dietrich of the Truth In Labeling Campaign, which advocates labeling of genetically engineered foods. When Monsanto Co., the world’s largest biotech seed company, testified Sunday at the AMA committee hearing on the policy, its representative did not raise any objections to the mandatory safety assessment provision.

        On Tuesday, however, Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher would not say whether or not the company supports mandatory pre-market testing, only that the current voluntary consultation process “is working,” he wrote to the Tribune. “All of Monsanto’s biotech products, and to our knowledge all those of other companies, go through the FDA consultation process, which provides a stringent safety assessment of biotech crops before they are placed on the market.”

        The AMA’s Dr. Patrice Harris said the testing provision was aimed at addressing public interests and ensuring public health.

        “Recognizing the public’s interest in the safety of bioengineered foods, the new policy also supports mandatory FDA pre-market systemic safety assessments of these foods as a preventive measure to ensure the health of the public,” Harris said in a statement. “We also urge the FDA to remain alert to new data on the health consequences of bioengineered foods.”

        Tuesday afternoon FDA officials would not say whether the department supported mandatory testing. “New foods have an obligation under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act to ensure that the foods they offer consumers are safe and in compliance with applicable legal requirements,” the agency said. “In meeting their legal obligation, firms do conduct premarket safety testing.”

        The agency was referring to testing manufacturers commission for their own use. Critics, however, argue that independent testing overseen by regulatory authorities often produces different results than testing paid for by the manufacturer.

        After the policy was announced Tuesday, Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen released a statement saying: “We wholeheartedly commend AMA for coming out in support of mandatory pre-market safety assessment of (genetically engineered) foods, but are disappointed that AMA did not also support mandatory labeling. … Studies in the scientific literature have suggested that genetic engineering could introduce new food allergens, increase the levels of known allergens, raise or lower nutrient levels and have adverse effects on the animals that eat such foods.”

        Just Label It, the national campaign for the labeling of genetically engineered foods (www.justlabelit.org), issued a statement saying “just the fact that the AMA even considered this measure is a significant win for the vast majority (91%) of Americans (see the Mellman Poll findings) who believe they have the right to know about the foods they eat and feed their families — a fundamental right already enjoyed by citizens in more than 50 countries worldwide, including all of Europe, Japan, Russia and China.”

  117. bovidiva says

    I suggest that you reread Carrie’s blog and my comment. Your views on GMOs and Monsanto are entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Nowhere in the links and quotes that you posted are there any references to bovine growth hormone (which is the issue that I responded to) yet note that in your NYTimes article (not usually regarded as a scientific source…) the journalist makes precisely the same point that I did re: body fat and puberty. Also note that in Britain bovine growth hormone (rbST) is not used, thus if you were trying to link the British data to rbST use, it’s rather a fallacious argument.

    • supermanalexthegreat says

      The Monsanto articles were in response the the comment below yours, they were all just posted together- along with research on NIH.gov (which is quite a bit more than just “views”) and I included material both listing why antibiotics and hormones should not be used from the CDC. If you look at the first page of comments, you’ll see that use of hormones is already being curtailed by farms and these products aren’t even sold in most local stores. So farmers are already realizing it’s unwise to use hormones- and if you read the Times piece there were multiple causes listed under early onset of puberty, obesity was just one HOWEVER, estrogen from the environment (food sources- such as pesticides and hormones in meat/dairy) were also an important source of these excess hormones. The Times cited studies within the article, so while the article itself isn’t a scientific source it is considered highly reputable and there are scientific sources cited within the article. The point with posting the material on pharmaceutical drugs, is the same cast of characters that develop the hormones also develop the pharmaceutical, it points to a larger picture of corruption and deceit. This is normal for corporate psychopathy- something well documented in psychiatry journals as being a major problem with relying on these companies to conduct their own “safety” studies- like Merck a la Vioxx (just one example).

      I do completely support organic farming, where no hormones, dangerous pesticides or antibiotics are used. I have one of these myself.


      Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
      May 2013

      The pork chops you buy in the supermarket neatly packaged in plastic and styrofoam may look completely sterile, but are, in fact, likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria — and not with just any old bugs, but with hard-to-treat, antibiotic resistant strains. In a recently published study, researchers with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System bought meat from a wide sampling of chain grocery stores across the country and analyzed the bacteria on the meat. Resistant microbes were found in 81% of ground turkey samples, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef samples, and 39% of chicken parts. Of course, thoroughly cooking the meat will kill the germs, but if the meat is undercooked or contaminates other food with its bacteria — perhaps via a shared cutting board — the result could be an infection that can’t be cured with common medications. Such infections are a serious health concern — a strain of antibiotic resistant staph was recently estimated to cause nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. — and the problem seems to be getting worse. An evolutionary perspective helps us understand how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.
      Where’s the evolution?
      It should be no surprise that antibiotic resistant bacteria are the products of evolution via natural selection: as bacteria reproduce, small, random errors (i.e., mutations) occur as their DNA is copied. Just by chance, some of those mutations may help their bearers survive and reproduce better and so will increase in frequency in the bacterial population. Other mutations may be detrimental and will be weeded out of the population. Still others may have no impact at all to the bacterium’s fitness (i.e., neutral mutations) and will change in frequency through genetic drift. When antibiotics flood the environment of the bacteria, individuals that happen to carry random mutations that allow them to survive and reproduce despite the drug will be favored. Eventually, the entire lineage of bacteria may carry genes that confer antibiotic resistance.

      This process seems to be inevitable. If a bacterial lineage is consistently exposed to a particular antibiotic, it will eventually evolve resistance to that drug, and this will occur in the soil, in livestock, in the human body — wherever bacteria are exposed to antibiotics. This same basic process is responsible for the evolution of advantageous traits in familiar organisms, like a hawk’s keen eyesight or a polar bear’s insulating fur. However, bacteria have a leg up on birds and bears when it comes to evolution. Most species rely on mutations somewhere in their historical lineage for their genetic variation — that is, an improved ability to spot prey will evolve in a lineage of hawks only if mutations conferring keener sight occurred somewhere in the hawk lineage and were then passed down to the generation of hawks experiencing natural selection. Bacteria, on the other hand, get their genetic variation both from their ancestral lineage and through a process known as horizontal transfer.

      In horizontal transfer, organisms share genetic material with one another directly, as opposed to passing genetic material only to their offspring. In this way, genes from distantly related lineages of bacteria can wind up in the same individual. A gene version that first arose in Escherichia coli could easily be passed on to Salmonella.

      Horizontal transfer represents a special danger when it comes to the evolution of resistance because, through gene sharing, antibiotic resistance genes that evolve and become common in one lineage of bacteria that is exposed to a particular antibiotic can be passed to distantly related bacterial lineages. In other words, a bacterial lineage can evolve resistance to a particular antibiotic even if its ancestors never carried a mutation that conferred resistance to that drug. With all this genetic variation being shared, antibiotic resistant bacterial strains can evolve quickly. Furthermore, different antibiotics often have similar modes of action (e.g., amoxicillin and methicillin both work by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls), so resistance to one drug often means partial resistance to a host of other medications. To make matters even worse, bacteria often transfer multiple genes for resistance to different antibiotics on the same piece of DNA. Since the genes are physically attached to one another, selecting for one of those resistance genes lets the others hitchhike to high frequency. So exposing a bacterial population to say, streptomycin, may also unintentionally favor the evolution of a strain that resists many other antibiotics as well — making for a particularly hard-to-cure infection.

      Bacteria have many characteristics that allow them to evolve resistance to whatever antibiotics we throw their way — short generation times, high mutation rates, and horizontal transfer — and current agricultural practices (in particular, the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock) seem destined to speed this process even further. In the U.S., around 80% of antibiotics are destined for farm animals, not for treating human disease. The majority of those animal antibiotics are used preventatively and to promote faster growth and speed meat production, not to treat sick individuals. Unfortunately, this approach also encourages the evolution and proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains on factory farms. So, it should come as no surprise that a large percentage of supermarket meat carries antibiotic resistant bugs!

      Clearly, the ubiquity of antibiotic resistant bacteria in livestock has implications far beyond highlighting the need to cook meat thoroughly. It suggests that, lurking in farm animals, is a vast pool of dangerous resistance genes that could easily make their way out of the bacteria in which they currently reside and into strains that would represent an even more significant human health threat. We have many lines of evidence suggesting that horizontal transfer of genes, including resistance genes, is commonplace among bacteria. What we have not had is a major outbreak of an antibiotic resistant infection that has been definitively linked to resistance from bacteria inhabiting livestock — yet. If the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and the National Academy of Sciences have their way, we may be able to avoid that fate, at least for certain antibiotics. These groups have all signed on to support new legislation that would prevent widespread use of certain antibiotics on livestock, helping to protect the effectiveness of these drugs in humans.


      After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating.

      Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond.

      But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”

      “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

      Sales of prescription stimulants have more than quintupled since 2002.
      Source: IMS Health
      Stimulant Sales
      The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.

      Few dispute that classic A.D.H.D., historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. Medication often assuages the severe impulsiveness and inability to concentrate, allowing a person’s underlying drive and intelligence to emerge.

      But even some of the field’s longtime advocates say the zeal to find and treat every A.D.H.D. child has led to too many people with scant symptoms receiving the diagnosis and medication. The disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, narrowly trailing asthma, according to a New York Times analysis of C.D.C. data.

      Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits. Advertising on television and in popular magazines like People and Good Housekeeping has cast common childhood forgetfulness and poor grades as grounds for medication that, among other benefits, can result in “schoolwork that matches his intelligence” and ease family tension.

      A 2002 ad for Adderall showed a mother playing with her son and saying, “Thanks for taking out the garbage.”

      The Food and Drug Administration has cited every major A.D.H.D. drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times.

      Sources of information that would seem neutral also delivered messages from the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors paid by drug companies have published research and delivered presentations that encourage physicians to make diagnoses more often that discredit growing concerns about overdiagnosis.

      Many doctors have portrayed the medications as benign — “safer than aspirin,” some say — even though they can have significant side effects and are regulated in the same class as morphine and oxycodone because of their potential for abuse and addiction. Patient advocacy groups tried to get the government to loosen regulation of stimulants while having sizable portions of their operating budgets covered by pharmaceutical interests.


    • supermanalexthegreat says

      Obesity is only the answer in SOME cases, if you read the case studies obviously you are going to jump to obesity as the main cause because that is in the vested interests of your industry and your lobbying groups and I am going to come at this from the medical profession’s viewpoint which is that there are a large percentage of extremely young children (starting at age 5) developing early puberty who are no where close to being obese:

      Obviously a long term study is needed


      Tropez-Sims oversaw Meharry’s participation in a national study, published by Pediatrics last November, of more than 4,000 boys, showing that they too are entering puberty earlier. As a physician and researcher, she agrees with most scientists that more study is needed on why increasingly younger children are growing breasts, pubic hair and so forth, and whether hormone-infused foods play a role.

      Absent any rock-solid answers on that front, researchers have explored other causes. Some studies, including one in the February 2008 issue of Pediatrics, have suggested that obesity is a driver of early onset puberty. But that doesn’t explain what transpired with Kayla, who was a reed-thin second-grader. Now 15 and a liturgical dancer at her family’s church, she stands at 5’ 6” and weighs a lean 120 pounds.

      “In the 19th Century, the age of menarche was 15,” Tropez-Sims said. “Today, we may be looking at environmental chemicals, steroids and so on that are causing puberty to begin in progressively younger kids. And it seems reasonable to ask this question: If they’re feeding pigs and cows and chickens growth hormones and other chemicals to make them plumper, bigger, is that also making our kids plumper, making them mature faster? … There’s not been enough science to fully link hormones in the meat, but some of us are extrapolating that that’s just what may be happening.”

      Tracking children who eat no hormone-laden foods against those whose diets are full of them would provide the most conclusive proof of what’s going on, she said. But such a study has never been conducted. And doing one raises ethical concerns, given what some consider the potential risks faced by children in the latter group, Tropez-Sims added.

      from an MD website (which proves my point about multiple causes)


      The 3 biggest contributors to early puberty are:

      1. Obesity: About 20% or more of US kids are now obese. This rate has tripled in the past 30 years, and this trend corresponds to earlier puberty.

      2. Exposure to environmental toxins that act as estrogen in the body: Many substances used in flame retardant fabrics, cosmetics, plastics, pesticides, detergents and other common household and industrial products can mimic the effect of estrogen in our bodies. The CDC has linked a solvent used in some mothballs and solid blocks of toilet bowl deodorizers and air fresheners to earlier menstruation – they also found it in the bodies of nearly all the people tested in the U.S.! It doesn’t take much exposure to cause health effects, which may include increased risk of early puberty, diabetes, and cancer. These environmental chemicals accumulate over time and because they accumulate and are stored in fat cells, may be even more of a problem for overweight girls.

      3. Stress: Stress can wreak havoc on the endocrine system. And most of us suffer from stress starting at any earlier age than ever. Inadequate sleep, school pressures, stress at home, peer pressure and bullying are just a few of the major stressors to which our girls are regularly exposed. Stress can also make us fatter; more fat means more estrogen and this can lead to earlier puberty.

      While government, food companies, and industry also need to tackle these issues on a global scale, the factors leading to early puberty and endocrine disruption in our daughters can be prevented or mitigated through the diet and lifestyle choices we make and teach them.


      Dr. Stanley Korneman, an endocrinologist at the University of California, Los Angeles says that environmental exposure to estrogens in plastics, chemicals and foods has been going up and that estrogens stimulate breast development. And he says that could be the link to early onset of puberty. Makes sense.

      What is really going on here? I can just imagine that the smoky back rooms in Washington where meat, dairy and poultry lobbyists make their dirty little deals and hide the real facts about what is in our food are in hyper-drive. The information in this study, if people connect the dots, could blow up in their faces, and who could afford that? Not the politicians on both sides of the aisle and certainly not their clients, those pirates who peddle hormone, antibiotic and steroid-laced food to our children. And we wonder why little girls look like very big girls far before their time.

      The solution to this problem is easy and obvious. Our children are being destroyed in the name of profit by big industry and factory farms who feed their animals steroids, growth hormones and antibiotics to make them fatter, faster. More and more yield of meat from an animal means more and more profit, and if we need to sacrifice a generation of children along the way, so be it. And these are not just the rantings of some liberal, tree-hugging vegan. According to Cornell University, hormones “reduce the waiting time and the amount of feed eaten by an animal before slaughter in meat industries.” And that means bigger profit… faster.

      While the childhood obesity problem is linked to the overconsumption of processed food, drive-through, dinner in a bucket and the sheer volume of sugar and other junk our kids are eating, we must also look at the role growth hormones play in the size of our kids and the age they reach puberty.

      Wake up, people. If hormones can make an animal fat, what do you think will happen to us? We have always had access to junk food, but never in human history have we been the subjects of such an intense ingestion of chemicals and hormones. Dr. Andrew Weil states that more than two-thirds of the cattle raised in the U.S. are given hormones, usually testosterone and estrogen to boost growth. According to Cornell, there are actually six hormones commonly used in meat and dairy production: estradiol and progesterone (natural female sex hormones); testosterone (natural male sex hormone); zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengesterol (synthetic growth promoters that make animals grow faster). Not used on poultry or pigs, (but only because they don’t promote meaningful growth in these animals), the FDA also allows the use of rbGH, another growth hormone, to promote more milk production in dairy cows.

      And here’s where it gets really creepy. There is no monitoring of the female and male hormones, according to Cornell, because they are naturally produced by the animals so in theory, they can’t really tell what hormones were produced and which were administered, so why have limits? But they set tolerance levels for the synthetic hormones. I feel safer; how about you?

      And finally, according to Cornell, the declining age in puberty’s link to hormones in meat and dairy has been of concern to experts for some time now because of the possible links to breast cancer.

      What is it going to take for us to demand accountability from the people who produce our food and those government agencies that supposedly protect the health of the public? When will we pull our heads out of the sand and see the reality we face?

      Cheap, commercially produced meat may be affordable, but the cost is far too high. Now hang on. I am not going all vegan on you. But this study is a reality check for us, to be sure. Early onset of puberty is no joke. Our girls are at greater risk of breast cancer, obesity and other life-threatening conditions. And while the environment and plastics may contribute to this problem, as may the overall abundance of food, the reality is that the growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics in our meat and dairy are the major players in this tragedy.

      Dr. Biro suggests that families eat more produce (ya’ think?) and more family meals together as a way to begin to solve this very real crisis, along with regular physical activity. There is also the option of choosing certified, grass-fed organic meat and dairy as a way to avoid the ingestion of hormones, which also supports a sustainable way to produce healthy animal products for us to consume. And you get to support small family ranches that, along with family farms, are the backbone of this country’s food supply.

      Good ideas all, but we also have to look at other options and invest in the health of our children before we lose an entire generation because we just want cheap, fast food. There are alternatives to meat and dairy that can nourish our families and children healthfully and affordably … and leave a lighter footprint on the planet in the process. A well-balanced, plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients our children need to thrive and to live in healthy, normal bodies. Yes, it’s more work and maybe even a bit more money, but these are our children — our future.

      This kind of blog gets people’s noses out of joint. From cattle farmers to burger lovers who say they prefer a juicy steak to tofu, all the rationalizations come out. Ranchers need to make money to survive. People want what they want … and they want meat! But in the end, the truth cannot be denied.

      We live in a culture of profit-seeking leeches that are only too happy to sell us compromised foods and line their pockets with the profits gained from pillaging our health. When are we going to stop them? All we need to do is say no. Vote with your dollar; demand better quality. Remember that they want your money. They do not care about the health of our young girls. It’s up to us. A collective voice demanding accountability and better food is the only way to reverse the trends that threaten to swallow and entire generation.

      • bovidiva says

        Frankly, I would place more credence in your comments if they didn’t include inflammatory phrases such as “that is in the vested interests of your industry and your lobbying groups” and stuck to science rather than blog articles. As you are aware, it’s easy to find a blog post (or indeed a paper in some cases) that will agree with any point of view if you try hard enough. Blog posts are not peer-reviewed, nor published in academic journals.

        As an animal scientist, I am well aware of the physiological effects of hormones, and the difference between correlation and association. Absolutely, age at puberty has decreased in the past 100 yrs. Yes, we are also seeing more estrogenic compounds in water. We have also seen the introduction of the birth control bill and hormone replacement therapy in women, far greater numbers of people on the planet, and a multitude of lifestyle changes, including a rise in childhood obesity in developed countries. That does not mean that every single case of early puberty is caused by obesity, but if we examine the trends, it appears the be the overriding cause. That is based on science and pediatric medicine, not “lobbying”.

        It is very easy to try and point the finger at one industry through “evidence” from blog posts (note that the last one you linked to is hardly unbiased as it suggests that we shouldn’t eat meat and dairy) and pasting huge amounts of text from the internet. I suggest that you read some scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles on this topic rather than relying on blogs. For example: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030372070600219X and http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/111/4/844 and http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2005.00501.x/abstract

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Well, that blog post wasn’t by me so you need not blame me for that lol. I agree that is inflammatory, but I posted that part of it anyway (for full disclosure so everyone could see which way the writer was slanted.) I’ve also posted case studies that show there are many circumstances where obesity isn’t involved and where changing the diet stopped the early growth. I agree that obesity is a major concern (not just for this, but cancer, diabetes and so many other conditions- and that’s why I posted that article also, it’s considered one of the major contributing factors- and we can get into HCFS, and other reasons why we, as a society are becoming more obese) but we also need to look at how pesticides and hormones are metabolized inside the body because there are enough case studies where the child isn’t obese. Also included (what I know are) opinions of pediatricians, and granted they are opinions, but based on the work done in the medical profession, one can consider them informed ones.

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          HFCS sorry*

          I wanted to thank you for your balanced response, and while I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I dont have any problems with those dietary lifestyles either. I consume both meat and dairy, and both are certified organic pesticide, hormone and antibiotic free (Perdue chicken and local milk from a known source are my mainstays. I also grow most of my own produce that I consume.) I have to say though, since I made the switchover to local milk, I’ve noticed the milk tastes much better and there is no filmy residue on the sides or at the bottom (and neither is there on my produce.) Taste and appearance may not always factor into overall health but I did want to make note of this.

        • Beth says

          Would be interesting to know why big dairy folks are so afraid of smaller dairies who want to sell raw organic milk. Yes, I know cattle are a commodity for the diary owner, which makes it both human but also financially mandatory that they try and get a downed cow up as soon as possible or their ‘machine’ will die.

          Would be interesting why big dairy is so afraid of smaller dairies who want to sell raw organic milk. Everything I have read notes that the National Dairy folks have no desire to force the federal government to legalize raw organic milk sales in all states. Nor do the big dairy folks in states where its illegal to sell raw organic milk seem to do anything to change state law.

          When I do partake of dairy its organic like Straus Dairy here in California or also raw and organic.

        • bovidiva says

          I’ve never seen any evidence that “big dairies” are frightened by competition from organic or raw milk dairies – competition it’s like suggesting that Starbucks is frightened by a single coffee shop. In fact the majority of scare-mongering and claims seem to come from the small operators. That does not mean ALL small dairies do this, but I’ve seen far more “My milk is better/healthier/purer that theirs because…” claims from small producers than larger ones. This banner from Organic Valley would be one example: http://bovidiva.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/organic-valley-wizard-of-oz1.jpg

          Why can’t everybody sell milk on their farm’s individual merits rather than by denigrating others? Is it simply because most smaller operators simply don’t have the economies of scale of a larger dairy and so feel they are pushed out of the market, in a similar fashion to the claims that Walmart puts small stores out of business? If the product is valued by the consumer and prices appropriately, why the fear?

          Just as I would never drive without a seatbelt or eat meat that had sat on the floor for 3 hours, I would never feed raw milk to my family because of the health risks. There’s a reason why we pasteurize milk. I respect other’s choices to do so, just as people have the choice to smoke or drink a bottle of Jack Daniels per day. Does that mean I think it’s a sensible choice? Hell no!

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Raw milk is different from organic milk though- I drink pasteurized organic milk……. you might find this article interesting:


          There are real health benefits to fresh organic food (sans pesticides), I remember reading about a study with fruit flies a couple years ago where they lived much longer on organic food, and I believe the “big industries” are worried that this will cut into their profits- it’s also why Monsanto spent a ton of money against the GMO labeling movement (which was passed in several states, including NY and CT, and is already in effect in most of the world’s democracies.) Of course you’d never know it in plutocratic America, where Assange released a cable a few years ago, showing that Bush was threatening France with economic sanctions if they didn’t open their markets to Monsanto. Obama has followed through with that practice, showing that greed for money crosses party lines like nothing else does.

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Hey now, dont get me started on Walmart. Walmart is illegal in NYC (per decree of the mayor) precisely because their products are made in third world country sweat shops that use child labor. It’s funny how (some) Americans get all indignant over what’s going on in China and North Korea, when we display some of the same callousness. Not even getting into the hypocrisy that is the NSA and its allegiance with big business (Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T not Yahoo or Twitter, who resisted their strong-arm tactics- though I could write a book on that- and some day probably will :P)

      • supermanalexthegreat says

        The case study of the girl who was underweight mentioned on grio.com (read the full story on the link, it covers multiple pages), not only proved that the cause of her early onset of puberty at the tender age of 7 wasn’t weight related, but her mother refused hormone regulation drugs and instead changed her little girl’s diet and her daughter’s breast growth ceased.

        The pediatrician’s first reaction to then second-grader Kayla Haye’s budding breasts—a sign of the child’s premature puberty—was to consider placing her on therapeutic hormones.

        “A 7-year-old on hormone medication? Well that’s not gonna happen,” said Adriane McDonald-Haye, Kayla’s mom, recalling her response to that suggestion eight years ago. “Just the idea of putting my child on hormones triggered all kinds of concerns.”

        So the Brooklyn, N.Y. mother took a different course of action, scouring the web and probing other parents on the topic. Ultimately, she was persuaded by claims—including from some physicians—that consumption of hormone-laden meat and poultry was linked to early-onset puberty, which is on the rise in general and more prevalent among black children.

        “I changed Kayla’s diet to one that is as organic as possible,” McDonald-Haye said. “I actually have a pack of organic chicken wings in my fridge right now. We cheat every so often, eating fast food. But, overall, I try to stay as natural as possible.”

        McDonald-Haye is aware of the continuing debate over the effects of hormone-infused meat and dairy products on growing bodies. Nevertheless, she credits her better-safe-than-sorry dietary overhaul with delaying Kayla’s first period, which she got when she was 10. That’s roughly 2.5 years ahead of the national average.

        Premature puberty can be interrupted with monthly, quarterly or yearly shots of drugs such as leuprolide, a synthetic hormone that suppresses natural hormones controlling puberty. That was the kind of option McDonald-Haye was unwilling to entertain. Even in hindsight, she believes she made the right decision.

        “Kayla didn’t have any additional [breast] tissue growth for another two years,” McDonald-Haye recalled.

        During her daughter’s next yearly check-up, the pediatrician who’d identified the prematurely developing breast tissue was surprised by Kayla’s physical appearance. “She was, like, ‘Wow.’ She thought Kayla’s breasts would have been much larger by then,” McDonald-Haye said.

        She continued: “I’m not a scientist. I cannot give you the language that a doctor would. But, when Kayla was seven, with those little buds just beginning to show, I was thinking long-term about what all of this means for my child. I wanted her to be healthy, and for her body to do what it does naturally. If some unnatural things were getting in the way of that, I also wanted to be proactive.”


        • bovidiva says

          Re: Grio article. See previous comment. Obviously we can’t treat people like lab animals, but where the Mother changes her lifestyle and the child’s entire diet (i.e. changes a multitude of factors with no control group whatsoever), are you really suggesting that this is proof of hormones used in conventional dairy production “causing” early puberty in one isolated case? Estrogen is naturally present in all milk from cattle – regardless of production system, yet are you aware that a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed significantly higher estrogen concentrations in organic than conventional milk? I suggest that you revisit basic physiology and review the differences in potency, physiological effects and biological implications of rbST (which as a bovine hormone, does not have any human impact as we lack the hormone-specific receptors to which it binds), estrogen and progesterone in dietary sources vs. endogenous human production.

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Yes I came across that in my reading, however milk isn’t the only source of those estrogenic compounds. I also know that there are some benefits in estrogen consumption (for example, higher bone density- which is one of the reasons why Australian red clover, which contains 4 different phytoestrogens is so popular, as is soy), however in those under the age of 10, most feel the risks outweigh the benefits. There’s also a direct pathway in which pesticides metabolize into estrogenic compounds. She changed her daughter’s diet because of that also. I posted other case studies too, however at least two didn’t get past the moderation process- I’m not sure why.

        • dairycarrie says

          All of your comments have been approved as I get them. For spam reasons all comments with links in them must be approved.

          That being said, please stay on topic to the post at hand and I find copying and pasting large amounts of text to be extremely annoying and not conducive to conversation so cut it out.

        • bovidiva says

          Jury seems to be out a little on estrogens as to the effects they can and can’t have. For example, estrogen in an 8oz steak from a beef animal given implants is 5.1 nanograms, equivalent amount of soy has 5,411 nanograms, one birth control pill has 35,000 nanograms and one premenopausal woman will produce 450,000 nanograms herself each day. That doesn’t mean soy is “bad” and beef is “good”, just differing concentrations. Children are reaching puberty earlier, which we could link to more estrogens being in the environment, but equally, use of the birth control pill (i.e. extra estrogen intake) is also linked to a reduced risk of cancer, so should we automatically think that estrogens are bad?

          I think we do have to be careful about what we put in our bodies, but equally we need to stick to the science. For example, many people suggest that hormones in dairy can “cause” cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 25, with no family history and no genetic markers. I certainly can’t blame that on rbST use in dairy (I was born and bred in Europe) or on dairy consumption (love cheese but haven’t drunk liquid milk since I was 5) and have no idea what caused it. My point is that there are so many unknowns out there, it’s natural for us to try and seek the answers and find patterns, but it’s difficult to try and make solid conclusions based on single or small-sample case studies.

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Yes I completely agree with that- because of the large number of factors involved, you cannot pin it down to one cause, the best you can hope to do is reduce your risk as much as you possibly can. Genetics are usually involved at the base level, and what triggers those genes into activation can, to some degree, depend on the environment. I’ve read so many of these studies, for various conditions, that point to multiple factors being involved- for example a Stanford study on the accelerating increase of autism over the past three decades linked the consumption of pesticides in food products by pregnant women, another study which linked air pollution (using demographics to show where cases of autism were most highly concentrated- that study concluded that the environment was 65 percent responsible, genetics 35 percent.) When you get down to it, in a large, complex technological society that is being bombarded by various agents of one sort or other, as well as innate genetic factors, there is no one direct cause for anything. But we can somewhat reduce our chances by reducing our exposure.

          I’m glad your case was caught early, what stage were you in and are you in remission now? Are you an instructor? Since there doesn’t seem to be any underlying genetic predisposition to breast cancer in your family, I’m wondering what caused you to reach the “tipping point.” Besides chemical exposure, it could be something completely different- exposure to radiation (even microwave radiation) perhaps. I’ve done a lot of flying back and forth (between Europe, Asia and America) every year, and I’m also aware that long plane trips increase our exposure to radiation. Even living or working near high voltage power lines (in a high school close to where I live, there were a disproportionate number of teachers who developed cancer who all had worked on the same side of the school, the same side a power company substation was located. The district has tried to get the power company to relocate that substation but they wont do it without the school district paying for it.) Heck, when it comes down to it, even using cell phones causes certain metabolic changes in our brains (what exactly we dont know yet- but it involves the metabolization of sugar.)

          And Carrie, dont worry, no more posting of extended text from sites on my part for now 🙂 Sorry I tend to get off topic usually because I have a lot of interests in many different areas and try to draw some sort of parallels and connections between them all.

        • bovidiva says

          Re: Cancer, was stage 1 (thank goodness) but grade 3 (aggressive) and 10 year anniversary this past summer, so feeling good about that! Yes, I wonder too, but I honestly think that unless they come up with some more markers or evidence, I’m not sure I’ll ever know. I’ve flown considerably more in past 10 years than I did when diagnosed, always wonder if it was somehow related to chemical use in lab when I was doing my PhD but again – will never know. Happy to have a healthy outcome and doing my best to keep it that way! Life is certainly a mystery, but we can only work with what we know and minimize our risks accordingly.

          Thanks for cordial responses! 😀

        • supermanalexthegreat says

          Any time, I’m glad you’re doing a lot better now 🙂 One thing that interests me and throws another fly into the ointment is how certain chemicals can cause cancer (or something else) in some people and not others. So it could be some chemical that triggered cell proliferation in you but wouldn’t in most other people- although I know there’s quite a few lab chemicals that are suspected of being carcinogenic. Way back when, Asbestos was commonly used in labs and even school classrooms. Heck plastics could do it too- I’ve wanted BHA/BHT outlawed here for some time now.

          On another topic, when I was looking into BHT, I noted that it’s used as an additive in some statin drugs. The open door policy with pharmaceuticals in this country has always made me extremely nervous (including drug companies paying doctors to market their drugs and drug ads an epidemic on TV here) and a huge increase in the number of drugs being used for borderline conditions that do not need them. I was happy to see that Glaxo is going to stop hiring doctors as paid consultants- there is so much conflict of interest in this industry that it’s amazing no one tried to do something about it earlier. Drugs which were formerly only used to treat certain conditions are now being touted to be used by healthy people as “preventatives.” It cannot be ignored that this serves the business interests of these companies and that’s why they are trying to expand their reach in this manner. But now they are responding to a huge outcry (including from doctors, who can see prescription drug abuse becoming a huge problem here.) For some people to say that taking these drugs is no different than popping an aspirin is highly irresponsible and definitely the wrong message to send.

  118. Teri Davis says

    Wow to the vegen who thinks that only animals are sentient I was involved in a study of responses of plant life to violence. We have all heard it is good to talk to your plants in nuturing tones as they respond. Well we did an intensive study the first part was pretty easy we recorded the sound of us tearing a plant from the ground and putting it in a blender. we then connected feeds to measure changes in the plants status by temperature, electronic pulse every living thing gives off electrical and magnetic readings. Then we played the sound of the plant destruction. The plants went from an even graph to spiked responses from the recording the reaction was intense. So you cannot tell me that it does no harm. Every living thing has senses and feels pain and it affects growth. I am not an entity so I am not omniscient enough to claim plants are not sentient. Just because you cannot communicate with it doesn;t mean that it isn’t sentient. Case in point we do not semm to be able to communicate with you does that make you non-sentient?

    So comfort yourself how you must to justify your crooked sense of moral righteousness but we are animals and we are omnivores. No matter what you say it does not change that fact.

    The arguements about mild and cats are funny because this person claims I run an animal rescue so I know what I am talking about…well I am C.E.O. of an animal rescue and that doesn;t make me an expert on everything animal related. I have investigated some pretty horrible rescues in my 40 years in animal welfare. Carriedairy is a dairy farmer that makes her an expert in cows yet you argue with her and claim to have more knowledge….really? seriously the more you learn the less you know start trying to use some compassion and empathy and maybe those animals you rescue will start to affect others as well. As in if they are doing that to the animals what are they doing to their children. DO you report families of abused pets to the child welfare authorities? Just saying…I think you have an inflated opinion of your expertise.

    • Teri Davis says

      ps that should say milk and cats and the study also did the positive feedback as well plants like classical music the best sorry rockers. we were trying to establish that they were not reacting to the device playing the music as well.

  119. Scott Johnston says

    Thank you for this very well done article! I grew up in rural Northern, NY, about a mile down the road from my grandparent’s small family diary farm. There is a lot of ignorance out there among people who have never lived in a farm environment. It’s generally the case that farmers (like most human beings) are not cruel monsters who want to do evil, hurtful things. Especially if they want to stay in business for a while. Rather, they are practical, hard-working people who care about their animals because they represent their livelihood. I many days on the farm when I was a child, I never saw my grandparents abuse one of their cows. But, there are situations at times like Carrie describes, where it is necessary to be firm and even harsh–for the sake of the animal’s well-being.

  120. Frances Boreland says

    I understand the need to get a down animal up, and agree on the need for undercover vids to provide context. On the other hand, I value the work the activists do because as a consumer I do not want to be supporting practices I consider abusive. I have largely weaned myself off dairy because of animal welfare concerns. For example, I didn’t realise most calves are taken from their mothers soon after birth; I’d assumed they were co-fed and removed from their mothers at natural weaning age. I didn’t realise cows generally don’t live anywhere near their natural lifespan (18-20 years I believe) in the dairy industry. I can understand a dairy not wanting male calves; I didn’t realise that most of the female calves are also surplus to requirements and sent for slaughter. Didn’t realise the cows are generally subjected to artificial insemination rather than being able to choose the bull they want. If I could find a dairy that produced milk in a way I think is ethical I would gladly support them, but since I only have access to supermarket milk where the emphasis is on as low a price as possible (can’t believe that says much about the animal’s welfare) my only ethical choice is to stop supporting the industry, hence weaning myself off the products and telling people why I don’t eat it if the subject comes up.

    • dairycarrie says

      Frances, I think you are missing some balanced information in what you have learned because your statements here are off by a lot. I hope you will take time to read other posts here and get some perspective.

  121. Britton Smith says

    i’ve noticed something. if PETA is so concerned about animal cruelity, why don’t they stop it when they make undercover footage?

  122. Lori says

    Thank you for giving me an honest glimpse of just one portion of your job. I will be checking out your other links. I’m a city girl who knows nothing about farming and has no business telling you how to do you your job. You explained the farmers point of view very well of why you do what you have to do for the sake of your animals. You’re giving me a more balanced perspective of agriculture. (Sorry for the mean looking avatar. Didn’t want to open an account with WordPress.)

    • dairycarrie says

      Thanks so much for your comment Lori! I was also a city girl before I married into my dairy farm family. I fully understand not being sure of what is really happening on farms. I really appreciate that you took the time to seek out more information!
      If you have any questions shoot me a message on my Facebook page and I’ll do my best to answer them or connect you to people who can answer them!

  123. bern says

    Curious why dairy farms keep cows indoors now 100% of the time? What happened to outdoor pasture, sun, fresh air?

    • dairycarrie says

      Many cows are still pastured. In fact our cows spend some time outside when it’s nice. What’s interesting is that often when we let the cows out they go outside stand around and after 15 minutes they are all headed back into the barn. A cow’s natural body temperature is 101.5 so she’s already hot. Being outside when you’re hot when you have a comfortable place to lay down with fans and sprinklers inside sounds not all that great to me.

      • Jamie Whittaker says

        If you did pasture them most of the time you would have complaints because they are outside in the cold/heat/sun/rain etc. People will always find fault because, bottom line, they disagree with the premise of keeping animals.

  124. Megan says

    must add.. To Everyone that thinks we “artificially” keep our cows pregnant..
    Natures desire to reproduce is intense. The cow WANTS to get pregnant. If she is in a full standing heat and a bull is present that cow will allow herself to become impregnanted. In the process of natural breeding she may become hurt if a large bull is mounting her, and from the utter chaos of two large animals breeding. She also may allow herself to be bred back sooner than what is best for her well being. Or it may be a smaller cow being bred by a bull that throws large calves – which results in problems at calving.
    Farmers who use ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (which is where I think people get the word artificial confused) the farmer can control when the cow gets pregnant, who she gets pregnant to, and allows the cow to become pregnant in a safe way that doesn’t involve a massive bull mounting her.
    We do not force our cows to become pregnant- Or stay pregnant for that manner.
    We are simply controlling the breeding process that, in nature, would take place anyway

  125. Crys says

    Awesome article! 100% agree. Now only if all the people who have never grew up on or worked on farms can try to understand this that would be great

  126. Teresa Shannon Longsworth says

    Horses have similar problems and I have had to beat horses I love more than most humans because they are colicing or cast or just stuck and they have to get up or die. I’m sure the uninformed people at peta would say the same about me. I had my most favorite mare colic in the middle of the night and when we found her in the morning she was covered in sores from being down so long and had lost the use of one leg. We tried to save her but had to euthanize her. I’ve always wondered if we had found her and gotten her up if we could have saved her. Keep being mean to your cows. They need you.

  127. john smith says

    You lose an investment if she dies. THAT is why you are mean. If a cow is down it is part of nature. If you care about cows as much as you claim don’t hold them captive.

  128. Karen Wilson says

    Thank you for posting this. I have shared it on my FB page. I am a beef cattle producer. We are small scale and we too “love” of cattle. We would do anything to keep them healthy and mobile. Most of our cattle love to see us and will stand willingly for a scratch. But as I have tried to explain to non-cattle people…when you are dealing with 1800 -2000 lbs of stubborn sometimes “please” just isn’t enough.

  129. colleen kocsis says

    Thankyou for being brave enough to post this truth. I aslo work in the dairy industry and have had to deal with all theese problems. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but neither is a dead cow. I COMMEND YOU FOR HAVING THE GUTS TO BE HONEST!

  130. Emily says

    Hi Carrie, Thank you for this post. I am trying to gather more information on standard dairy farming practices. Admittedly when I watch videos of down cows I find them upsetting. At the same time, I see your point about doing what’s best for the animal in the long run, even though it may seem hurtful in the short run. After reading your post I am left with a few general questions about how you (and farmers like you) generally deal with your animals’ pain. You mention that a cow might go down because she’s experiencing a pinched nerve, or has a hurt leg. So, what happens after you get a down cow back up? How is she treated for pain, how can you tell if she’s in pain, how do you correct for the fact that she wants to be ‘down’ but can’t be? As I said above, just looking for more general information here. Thanks.

    • dairycarrie says

      Hi Emily,
      It’s important to know that a down cow isn’t just a cow laying down, it’s a cow that can’t get up or can’t without a lot of help. Once a down cow is able to get up again we continue to work with our veterinarian to help her heal. Often we will move her to a pen by herself that has good traction and lots of extra bedding and no cows that might knock her down or compete with her for food. We treat for pain with one of two medicines. The first is aspirin, same thing as humans, the other is an anti inflammatory called Banamine. A cow in pain will often grind her teeth or have a dull and depressed look. These are signs that a good cow person can spot in a second. Each cow gets treatment based on what she needs to get better.
      Thanks for the questions!

  131. bigclay says

    If dairy cows were let out to graze in pastures like they are supposed to then you would not see photo’s like this. Dairy farming 40 years ago was much more humane as I see it. Cattle are designed to be outside and graze not stuck in a barn 24/7 and rarely see the sun.

    • dairycarrie says

      We let our cows out of the barn to graze and within 20 minutes most have them have chose to come back inside. We have designed our barns to keep our cows comfortable just as homes have been designed to be more comfortable for us.

  132. Sarah says

    Hmm, so if you were to watch this video (http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohdairy/) you could tell me you use the same practices on your farm? Most reasonable people can tell the difference between dairy practices and animal abuse. Slamming a calf down on the ground, and repeatedly punching it in the face, which was captured on a Mercy for Animals tape, is misconstrued? Hitting a cow in the face repeatedly with a pitchfork is normal? Squeezing a cow’s eye really hard is what normally goes on in a dairy? Tell me what parts of a Mercy for Animals tape is taken out of context, because watching it is making me sick.

    • dairycarrie says

      Sarah, obviously abuse is abuse and there is no taking true abuse out of context. However, when MFA uses footage of a cow who has bloody discharge because she just calved, as they did in the video from Wisconsin, how is that not trying to mislead people?
      I wrote this post where I broke down a different undercover video- http://dairycarrie.com/2012/04/26/animalrightsvide/

  133. Gabrielle W. says

    Sometimes we have to be mean….when you’re dealing with a 1000lb animals what do people expect!
    We had a sick goat once, it lost weight at the time was and 120lb. It would go down and stay down, laying flat.
    It took two of us to get it to stand, and hold him up while the circulation worked it’s way through his legs. And in the process of getting him up (remember, it’s just a 120lb goat-not a 1000lb cow), I’d get bashed in the face….even just half a day lying down, when we’d get him up, people wouldn’t believe how much he would poo, pee and burp…made for a nasty smelling job, but as you said, a downed animal is a dead animal…..I knew people who’d had old horses that would lay down in the stall at night and then by morning couldn’t get up- just like you they’d have to smack then to get them to stand.

    It frustrates me how these suits who only own goldfish, want to tell farmers how to do their job.

  134. Sarah R says

    Just came across this story and it rang very true to me. You really have to get those animals up at all costs!

    Probably the time I remember most is when it was a bull on my friends farm who went ‘down’. She tried everything to get him up to no avail, when out of nowhere her 15 year old daughter said ‘I know what will make him move. Give me the cattle prod.’

    She took it, placed it carefully against the bulls testicles and pressed the button. It worked. Kids!

  135. Kalindi says

    I think this is a sick mentality that you have to be mean to cows. You wouldn’t have down cows in the first place if they were treated nicer and not “intensive” factory farm milking. The industry is sick. Being mean to any animal is sick, especially cows. These large dairy operations should be shut down completely.

    • dairycarrie says

      Kalindi, I find your comment to be very interesting. It tells me that you don’t have a lot of background information on dairy farms or cows. If you want to go with labels, our farm is a “family farm” and is not a “factory farm”. I know all of my cows by name, I’ve cared for them since they were born. And even though we love our girls and care very, very well for them we still have cows that go down. I wonder if you glossed over the part where I explained why cows go down? If you did you should go back and read that part because it’s important.

  136. Heather Jackson says

    Great article! I haven’t had to deal with a down cow yet, but I don’t doubt that I would be every bit as mean if if meant saving her life! I’m really glad I read this!

  137. Taylor says

    We raise beef cattle in Buffalo, NY. We had six feet of snow in 48 hours this November. It made the national news. I had two cows at our farm (they actually didn’t belong to us, they were at the farm to run with the bull) and they got scared and jumped the fence into a ditch between fences. They were buried up to their necks in snow. Sure we could have left them there hoping they would get out on their own. Instead I crawled right in behind them and was loud and sure as hell gave them the physical encouragement to work hard as they could to get away from me. They were tired and super pissed once they made it out but they will live to see another winter. I love my cows and sure as hell if necessary I am mean to them. Love reading your blog. Keep doing exactly what you do.

  138. Crystal says

    Why are people saying on here that dairy is not necessary…did I miss something in the food groups…Did something new come out from health Canada, united nations etc…saying dairy is not necessary any more?? I loved this blog..!!!

  139. cow common sense 101 says

    Your so stupid! Getting a down cow up properly isn’t mean. U can slap a cow on the rump to get her up or u can kick her in the vulva- which would u prefer? You can use a skiddteer the proper way, having the cow and equipment properly in place and used or u can lift her and let her head smack against the concrete. Be Freaking real, there is “mean” oh I am going to IVu now and there is “mean” u 1800# of s!#t u r going to get up pitch fork holes all over blood running, stick ur finger in the stab holes. I guess ur not very dairy if u have to be mean to the point of abuse. There’s nothing wrong with getting a down cow up with a skid steer, an electric prod, even the poke of a pitch fork as long as u can control urself and use proper restraint when dealing with them to not make it anymore “mean” than it has to be. And tomorrow when it’s time for u to get up I hope ur husband takes his steel toed boot and kicks u in the vulva, yoyr “down” in bed…see how u like it!

    • dairycarrie says

      I’m not sure how you think this post is any kind of excuse for true abuse. None the less, before you go around calling someone stupid, you should probably learn the difference between your/you’re and you/u. You can work on reading comprehension next.

  140. Mercy says

    I absolutely believe that vegans have every right to believe whatever they please, but I often wonder whether they know the front end of a cow from the business end. It would be so much easier to take them seriously if they had some hands-on experience with animals. I thought this post made much-needed points in a clear and respectful way. Thanks!

  141. Opal says

    You wouldn’t have a down cow issue if you switch to plant based milks 🙂 We do not need dairy……… find a new way to make a living. Yes I am vegan. ( means I live a strict plant based life) the animal rights groups are trying to say stop using living animals to make a living wage it is not necessary. You wouldn’t have to be “mean” to cows if you didn’t use them for profits and own them. Set them free and let them be. Said with Love <3

  142. Ness says

    Kiss your cows for photos all you want. Why don’t you just impregnate your wife take away her child and milk her?

  143. Intention Hill says

    I love cows too. Great post. I’m a sheep farmer… and sometimes I have to be mean to my sheep. Just like parents sometimes have to be mean to their children. Thanks for posting.

  144. Robin says

    I was raised on a small dairy farm back in the 70’s. The cows were our life. No vacations or over night family trips. You had to milk in the morning and again in the evening. In the spring you had to fix the fences so they could pasture during the day, in the summer you put up the feed needed for the winter, and in the winter you housed them 24/7 which meant you put food in front of them, grained them, cleaned up behind them, and ensured that their bedding was comfy. You still milked twice a day, and then had to ensure that the driveway was plowed for the milk truck and spread the manure out on the snow covered fields. At night before leaving the barn you then had to spread the hay out for them to eat. Cows are huge animals and weigh a lot. When one steps on your foot you don’t just remove them and they don’t necessarily feel it. SO yep, you most likely have to hit her as you push to keep the swelling and bruising on you foot down. When she gets down and can’t get up and you beg her to get up, then you don’t have a choice but to do whatever it takes to get her up. Abuse would be to let her lie there and then have to bury her after she is gone, not doing what it takes to get her huge frame up and moving so you can get her healthy again. Cows were my life and playmates. Each have their own personality and may not be the brightest of all animals. They are one of the nosiest animals alive and can be the most stubborn. I wish that PETA members could have enjoyed the life that I had growing up on a dairy farm in NY State. Then the understanding would sink in. Yes, some people are cruel to animals just as some are cruel to their fellow human beings, but that doesn’t make it the standing rule or procedure. Taking care of a dairy cow in a day resembles very much the care that one must give their own child. It is a responsibility that doesn’t disappear and comes first in all actions or decisions.

  145. pat muckle says

    Grew up on a dairy farm and never once did your tactics ever come into plat. Cows were milked twice a day..the oldest was already in her teens…..

  146. Margaret A. Mullaly says

    I really appreciated this article. I don’t have cattle anymore, but I do have horses. Sometimes horses go down, just like cows. Just like cows, when a horse is down, it’s imperative that it gets up- fast. Otherwise, it can die. I start out like you say. Gentle, trying to encourage the animal to get up. But if it won’t get up with that, I ramp it up. I’ve had people drive by on the road and give me a dirty look as I fight to get my horse up or keep it up. And it makes me want to drop everything and go grab that person and make him or her stand and watch the grinding pain of an animal that’s down. Watch as its life seeps away the longer it can’t get up. I’ve ripped out stitches and torn muscles, put joints out fighting to keep that horse alive. Generally, I damage me far more than I even frighten the animal. I’ve cried as I had to get rough to get him or her up, because I don’t want to have to do that. Yes, I’ve been “mean” to my horses. But it saved more than one life. And if you walk into my pasture with me as they all descend upon me to mooch for treats and get hugs, it’s apparent that they know that it was all meant for their good. Like you, I am mean to my animals, but only when I need to be. And that’s not mean. That’s love. In my opinion, an ethical person couldn’t do anything else.

  147. Angela says

    Sometimes I’m mean to my goats and my sheep, and yes, even my baby animals.

    I castrate and dock tails, I trim hooves, sometimes, like today, I have to cut deep to release a small hoof abcess, I shear them and sometimes they get a cut. I make them go in the barn when they might rather stay outside, like today when we were having a wind and rain storm and I didn’t want a barn full of wet sheep and lambs. I give them shots.

    And at some point, I shoot them, then their bodies are processed in such a way as to able to be eaten for food.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. Honestly, I am SO glad I have the smaller livestock and not cows. I can do everything with them with my own muscle and am glad for it.

    The cows that I have met, I really enjoyed as I enjoy pretty much any domestic animal.

    Some of my favorite memories as a kid are being able to interact with the beautiful Jersey cows that so many of the small dairies had in my area. I still mourn the loss of all the small dairies that were so important to my region. But that’s another subject.

    About downed animals in general. I help at a small goat dairy and we watch closely for any “off” behavior. This herd is so productive, milk-wise, that there are often some that need a good dose of calcium (we use a liquid CMPK product). If one goes down (i.e. won’t get back up under their own power) you bet we MAKE her. Since we’re dealing with a 200 lb animal not 2,000, we can usually do it with just strength.

    It’s a tough business, this livestock thing. I feel very fortunate that up to now I have not had to let an animal suffer because I didn’t have the means to correct the situation. I’m talking about things that have the potential for a good medical solution. If I’m up against a situation where there is no good medical solution, I will not hesitate to put them down. I can’t abide the practice I sometimes see of keeping a suffering animal alive in order to take them to the auction or whatever just to make a few bucks.

    Taking them to the auction, here at least, seems to me to be a cop-out instead of taking responsibility for the quality of that animal’s life, which I believe in doing from birth to death.

    I hope that over time, large farms will become more and more transparent about their practices, and like you have done, give the good reasons WHY certain practices are in place. If there’s nothing to hide, then why hide it? Let the cameras in full time so people can start to learn how farming works and how their animal product food is produced. Sure, some non-farm people will be horrified, but why not let them be? There will still be many, many others who will learn what is true abuse and what is necessary management practice.

  148. Angela says

    Carrie, I have another question that I hope you can help me with. What brought me to your site last night was the news of a truly horrific animal abuse case in a BC, CA town just north of me. I unfortunately saw just a tiny snippet of the video before I could grab the remote.

    It upset me so much that I went out to my barn and cried into my baby goats and sheep until I could get the images to lessen.

    I wanted to understand some of the things I had seen so I went on a google search for cow management practices and ended up here.

    I understand some of what needs to happen with downed cows now and why heavy equipment, ropes, etc. are sometimes necessary. It still bothers me but then, I work with small ruminants and don’t have dairy animals. I completely understand downing due to milk fever or pelvic issues, loose ligaments and such due to the birthing process. It’s harder for me to think about it all when a cow or any other animal goes down due to slippery surfaces or being rushed though a chute or something of that nature.

    Remember the James Herriot story about the down cow with the creaking pelvis that he thought had broken bones? Then her ligaments tightened and she got up on her own. 🙂

    Anyway, one of the MOST disturbing images in the snippet of the abuse footage that I saw last night was a cow being lifted with a chain around her neck with a tractor.

    After I goggled this, I found this as a recommended practice, mostly in forum posts where people were having to deal with a cow that had gotten stuck in the mud. Someone on one of the forums posted that they recalled cattle in Hawaii actually being moved this way by helicopter!

    So I guess some people out there think this is a way to get a cow up that’s better or in some cases more necessary (because of where the cow is downed perhaps) than slings, hip lifts, etc.

    I can be horrified, and am I suppose at this practice, and my gosh, like I said in my previous comment, I am so grateful I don’t have to go to such ends to move and manage my little critters.

    I’m wondering what you think of this practice? Please assure me that it’s safe for the cow, even though I seriously doubt she is glad to have it done.

    As you have pointed out so wisely, what we see in these videos can really only be truthfully parsed out by someone with some experience in these operations. It is hard for a layperson to sort out what is normal, safe practice, and what is abuse.

    And I do wish that overall, we could all take just a step back from the practices that have become required in order to manage such heavily producing animals, and cheap animal product commodities. It makes me sad that in certain cases, animals are just another natural resource to be exploited, like so much else in our natural world.

    Especially when I read of how up to 40% of the food that is produced somehow ends up as WASTE, at all stages from production to transport to processing to store to our homes.

  149. Sandra says

    Thank you so much for clarifying the reality of dairy farm practices meant to save cows’ lives. The choices farmers must have the courage and compassion to make might not always be pretty or kind but the alternative is often death. (I wish vegans would consider that had our ancestors not started eating meat we would not have developed our large brains. I wonder what they feed their dogs and cats, who are, by nature, meateaters.

  150. Bianca says

    I wouldn’t say the slapping is abuse at all. They’re a big big animal! It’s probably more like patting to them at that size.

  151. Bill Lea says

    If 1400 # animal is standing on your foot its ok for a slap to get her to remove it. I guess that goes for people also. When people kick you they know what and why they are doing it. Animals don’t think that way THANK GOD

  152. Roxann says

    What a wonderful article and true facts stated. Totally enjoyed reading it and thinking omg this is right on the mark for facts. Been there as we are beef cow producers and have gone thru many of these same situations, and yes sometimes we have to do the ugly, but do it knowing we are doing what needs to be done to save these animals. Again thank you for a great read!!!

  153. JoAnna Stinar says

    I AGREE and love you for sharing it so thoughtfully and clearly!!!. I raise and have raised horses, dogs, emus, Katahdin sheep and make products from emus. I saw your post on Facebook and shared it with my support comments. Animals need THEIR unique care to be happy animals, not treat them like humans. i love and on occassion ‘treat’ animals with love they need. Horses like extra food (but only certain kinds or BAD for them). Sheep like extra food, but you’ll kill them by doing so. Horses love attention and leadership and a job to do to feel good. i can give them a 5 minute training session while feed them, scratch their favorite spot, etc. not feed them extra – not good for health when done often. Sheep like attention and petting too if tame. if i ‘feed’ extra, i plan ahead to give two small feeds that equal the one large feeding. that make them happy and not hurt them. oh of course i can tell many stories like you neeeding to be ‘mean’ to take care of the animal. had downed ewe after lambing pregnancy toxemia – no she doesn’t like it, but i have to move her MANY times a day if she won’t get up. IDEA – guess what i finally did by accident…. turn her over (caste) and bicycle her legs with my hands. i was lifting /pusing her hind side back and forth to keep circulation in back legs (couldn’t get in harness and lift to the ceiling to get her on feet). also lift her front end to put her up like sitting dog. it kept her circulation going and she would fight enough to eventually get up. i also had to force feed/drench nutrition into her (alfalfa smoothies and medicines) cuz she wouldn’t eat and drink hardly a morsel. Amen, it was a blessing to see her up after about 5 days.

  154. Stan says

    Carrie, bless you for a well written attempt at educating the ignorant. You are an inspiration to many producers who are increasingly frustrated by the masses who think they are more knowledgeable than the inelligent producers they confront. That being said, I wish you continued success in your operation. Keep up the great work! Merry Christmas and have a great year with your girls!

  155. Mel says

    I have had 4 births in 5 years. I breastfed throughout my pregnancies until the new baby arrived. No pain.no problems. It was actually so nice to have all that secretion of oxytocin relaxing me and bonding with my baby.the babies born were all healthy with apgar 9/10 9/10 9/10. There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding while you are pregnant and there is no reason to experience pain if all is normal.

%d bloggers like this: