Many well-meaning vegetarians don’t eat meat because they know that animals are brutally slaughtered for their meat. However, what many still wonder is what’s ethically wrong with eating dairy products when the cows aren’t slaughtered to provide us with milk?
What they don’t realize is that cows in a natural environment live healthy lives of about 13 years, while dairy cows in factory farms live an average of four long years in a state of constant pregnancy, having their babies torn from them at birth, brutally dehorned, living inside year round in filthy conditions, subjected to high rates of disease and hooked up to mechanized milking machines every day while forced to make much more milk than their bodies are designed to make. They live only 4 short years due to these conditions.
But here is the kicker…
After living a miserable life in these horrible factories to get consumers the dairy products they so badly want, dairy cows then go to the exact same slaughterhouse that a beef cow goes.
In 2001, The Washington Post published an interview with a long-time slaughterhouse worker, Ramon Moreno. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“For 20 years, his post was “second-legger,” a job that entails cutting hocks off carcasses as they whirl past at a rate of 309 an hour. The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t:
‘They blink. They make noises,’ he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’ Still Moreno would cut.
On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller. ‘They die,’ said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.’
If you went vegetarian because these slaughterhouse conditions spoke so loudly to your sense of humanity that you decided you could never eat meat again, chew on this: Nearly all dairy cows will go to the exact same slaughter houses as the beef cows do - a total of 6.5 million dairy cows every single year - and many of them are still alive as they go through it.
If you’re still vegetarian and not yet vegan, you can do something about this ...
Be the Change,
 Warrick J. The Washington Post. April 10, 2001. Front Page.
 Economics Research Service, U.S. Beef and Cattle Industry: Background Statistics and Information, USDA 25 May 2011.