Saputo: Time to MOOve Towards an Ethical Dairy Industry

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Do you feel like you should avoid eating beef, because the animal has to be slaughtered, but you continue to buy delicious dairy products because you believe they are harmless?

Dairy has become a staple food and dairy farming is a practice that provides jobs all over the world. Farmers work very hard and some do a great job at treating their livestock as humanly as possible. However, some dairy cows can also live short and cruel lives.

Like us, in order to make milk, a cow needs to give birth. To ensure high volume production, factory farm milk cows are sometimes kept in small, confined areas, continuously impregnated, milked for on average five years and then slaughtered for meat consumption. Dairy farming also has significant environmental impacts.

  • A dairy cow only lives as long as she’s productive, which is on average 5 years. Her natural lifespan is somewhere between 18-22 years!
  • Some dairy cows in factory farms will never set its hooves in a field, spending their whole lives confined indoors; and cows really enjoy grazing.
  • Calves often spend less than 24 hours with their mother before being taken away. Her milk, after all, is for our consumption.
  • Cows are maternal creatures. When their babies are pulled away, they reportedly bellow for days.
  • Because they are constantly milked, cows can develop painful, sometimes fatal infections, called mastitis.
  • Sometimes cows have their tails surgically removed, reports indicate that this can be done without painkillers. Some people believe that doing so keeps the udder clean, which is false. They need their tails to swat away flies.
  • Cows are also often dehorned, a process in which the farmer will cut or burn off the horns. Although Canadian guidelines recommend that painkillers be used for all surgical procedures, reports indicate they are not always used.
  • The Dairy industry also emits about 20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from the main livestock sectors and also leaves a huge water footprint.

So, how can we improve dairy farming and make it not just beneficial for humans, but sustainable for the world? We need a leader willing to participate in a milk revolution.

Concrete steps can and should be taken to ensure dairy cows are treated humanely. They need healthy and spacious living conditions and they should be allowed to graze in fields with their calves. No unnecessary suffering should be brought to them. Concrete steps can be taken for farms to reduce their carbon and water footprints, as well as improve the use of farmland. Embracing organic farming standards can be a step in the right direction.

We challenge one of Canada’s favourite dairy companies, Saputo, to be a leader and source its dairy ethically, from Canadian Organic Standards farms. We invite them to begin the revolution, one cheese at a time.

Sign this petition to speak up for cows. If you wonder how a dairy farmer is treating his cows, you can also visit the farms you buy your products from. If they treat their animals well, they will be happy to give you a guided tour.