Peer Review by Eliza (United States)

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The Cruel Treatment of Dairy Cows

By: Silver Ink

The last time you had a coffee, or a slice of cheese, did you think about the lives that cost you that dairy? The cruelty and devastation that is hidden behind it? Not many people do.
In order to get milk, a cow needs to be pregnant, so farmers keep their dairy cows pregnant all the time. When they give birth, the  calves are separated from their mothers within 24 hours, and all the males are sent to a factory. Male calves are called "Bobby Calves", but farmers call them "Waste products". However, because Bobby calves don't produce any milk, farmers send them to a factory to become meat. There they are kept in overcrowded pens, and are not fed or watered. The exact same thing happens to innocent lambs and kids. All farmers think that their animals' young do not need horns, tails, or other body parts, so they remove them. Imagine if when you were born, some gigantic aliens decided that you didn't need your ears or your thumbs. Calves, lambs, and kids all go through the same process of disbudding, dehorning, and other surgery, or animal modifications. You might think it couldn't get any worse, but it does. The law says that these forms of "necessary" surgery are to be performed with as much minimization of pain to the animal as possible, but many farmers do it without anaesthetic. Unlike other animals, mother cows form strong bonds with their calves, and when they are taken away, the mothers can be heard bellowing for days for their doomed young. Professor John Webster of the Animal Welfare Advisory Council described when the calves were taken away "The most distressing incident in a dairy cow's life,". But would improving the conditions on dairy farms really make a difference? Well, studies have shown that if dairy cows were granted clean bedding, straw, and good treatment, they would live three years longer than the normal dairy cows that live in factories.(5-8 years) In fact, if the dairy cows had a life like that, the chances of them getting disease, and a muscle issue in the flank, called Masilitis decreased by 15%. What makes this more devastating, is that a normal cow without human treatment, worming, and vaccination, so basically a wild cow, lives for 20 to 30 years. The dairy cows live for a maximum of 8. Some cows never even see the light of day. These ones are called "Permanently Housed cows".
When we go shopping, most of us  look for the healthiest, most organic, and responsible food, so we assume that things that say, "Organic!", and "Responsible Farmers!" are the best ones. Right? Wrong. Most milk producers  put up rainbow signs with smiling cows to make them seem wonderful, and choose-worthy, but almost all farmers dispose of their unwanted cows the same way, with the same terrible conditions. Occasionally dairy companies even tried to tell people that most people who went dairy-free got cancer, or other diseases to scare them. A couple of years ago in America, all the largest dairy producers got together to scheme. They believed that milk was far too cheap, so they murdered half a million cows to cause a deliberate milk shortage. A short time later they were proven guilty, and paid 52 million dollars to customers. However, the cows lost then is nothing compared to the loss each year. America kills 9 million innocent dairy cows every year, while Australia kills 800,000 a year. Also, farmers genetically modify cows to produce three times more milk than they should.
It takes 3785 litres of water to produce 3 litres of milk, and it is ridiculous. Here we are, telling everyone that we have to stop wasting water, while we waste it in a way that we would never imagine.
There are many ways to help the dairy cows, like going dairy free, only buying from responsible farms, or even ringing up some different brands of milk to see how they treat their cows. This devastation is inexcusable, and it needs to stop. As terrible as this all is, it is entirely our fault. Until a few years ago, the public did not know about the cows killed, and since then, 1 in 6 Australians went dairy free.
As well as all the facts holding this piece together, there is one we have to remember;
Our society takes an enormous amount of our products, food and lifestyle items from animals, and as such, we owe them better than this.

Message to Readers

I know that this competition is over, but I wrote to the prompt anyway. I wanted to share the other side of the dairy industry, and make people think twice over their choices and the way that they affect other lives. Thanks for reading and please consider sourcing dairy responsible.

Peer Review

A strong opinionated paragraph

Dairy cows are mistreated

I liked the comments that were designed to help you relate to the piece

Add facts and edit vague statements

I don’t agree with your opinion, but as someone on the other side, with a different view, I hope that my comments help you with your piece

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