When most people think of cows their first thought is of milk, but cows are so much more than the milk machines they are so often used as. Cows are sensitive, intelligent animals, not to mention awesome! Read on for some cool cow facts.
1. Cows are gentle, social animals with the ability to recognise more than 100 other cows. They form close friendships with certain members of their herd, and, like us, dislike others!
2. Cows are devoted mothers who form extremely strong bonds with their calves, and have been known to walk for miles to find them. They are pregnant for nine months just like people, but in the dairy industry their babies are torn away within hours of birth.
3. 60% of New Zealand dairy cows are from the Holstein breed. A Holstein’s spots are like a fingerprint. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of black and white spots. Each one is as different as you or me.
4. When cows figure out a puzzle, scientists in the United Kingdom say they have a “eureka moment” – their heartbeat goes up and some even jump for joy. Now that is pretty cool!
So why do we treat these gentle, inquisitive animals so badly? In the dairy industry cows are impregnated year on year, only to have their calf torn away within hours of birth. This causes immense distress to both mother and baby who, like humans, form incredibly strong bonds.
The calves, predominantly male and seen as useless by the dairy industry, are known as bobby calves and are sent for slaughter on the bobby truck at just four days of age. Their mourning mothers will go through the same cycle the next year and the next, until their overworked, exhausted bodies are also sent for slaughter. Find out more about New Zealand’s cruel dairy industry and the recent investigation that has shocked New Zealanders.
But each of us can make a difference just by ditching dairy from our diets; it really is that simple! And there is no need to miss out on anything, from milk and chocolate to cheese and ice cream – you will find something equally, if not more delicious than dairy! Try them and find your favourite. The cows will thank you.
Abi Izzard, Campaigns Officer