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An article in Saturday’s Palm Beach Post about Larson Dairy, one of Florida’s largest dairy farms, included this photo of dozens of young calves, confined individually in small wire hutches covered with a piece of fabric for shade. Why aren’t these calves with their mother? Because humans are drinking her milk!

On large dairy farms, calves are taken from their mother shortly after birth and fed artificially. (Female calves are raised as “replacements” for adult cows who are sent to slaughter when their production declines.) The calves spend the first weeks of their lives cut off almost completely from contact with other cows. Not all calves survive the stressful, unnatural, forced separation from their mother.

When ARFF visited a Florida dairy farm we found one poor calf dead and covered in flies inside a wire hutch. A video of the disturbing scene can be found on ARFF’s YouTube page.

The Palm Beach Post article did include some good news: Milk sales are declining! Among the reasons, “Soy, almond, and rice milks and other alternatives are cutting into market share.”

Visit ARFF’s website to learn more about the dairy industry, or click here to download ARFF’s dairy brochure.

2 Responses to “Why aren’t those calves with their mother?”

  1. on 07 Jun 2013 at 4:21 pm Ceetee

    The video is four years old, it didn’t happen recently. With all these calves, to potentially lose only one in four years (from unknown causes) is pretty good. Actually, on the video, it appears the calf is only sleeping, not dead. While I agree that staking these guys out all over the place in tiny cages with only a cloth to give them respite from the sun is awful, your video doesn’t seem to support what you are claiming here at all…

  2. on 14 Jun 2013 at 3:07 pm admin

    Ceetee, it is true that the video is not recent, but the calf was definitely not sleeping! It’s not easy to see in the video, but we also have photos of this calf. Her face was bloody and one of her eye’s missing (perhaps eaten by a vulture?). ARFF does not have daily access to this farm; the fact that a calf was found dead during a random visit is not a good sign.

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