PETA Calls for Cow Mothers to Be Left in Peace; an Honest Display Would Feature Hot Irons, Electric Prods, and Cows Mourning the Loss of Their Calves
For Immediate Release:
August 26, 2014
Alexis Sadoti 202-483-2783
Syracuse, N.Y. – The newly expanded “Dairy Cow Birthing Center” at this year’s New York State Fair has prompted PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—to send a letter this morning asking fair organizers to replace the exhibit with one that gives a more realistic and honest look at what happens to animals in the dairy industry, where cows often suffer in squalid conditions from the day they are torn away from their mothers until the day their traumatized bodies give out and they are slaughtered and ground up into hamburgers—usually after just 4 or 5 years of being used as a milk machine, well short of their natural 20-year life span.
“The ‘Dairy Cow Birthing Center’ disrespects cows’ privacy at a crucial time and fails to show the heartbreaking separation of calf and mother, the mutilations that calves endure without painkillers, and anything else that’s real about these animals’ sad lives,” says PETA Director of Campaigns (and mother) Sarah King. “PETA is calling on the New York State Fair to stop making childbirth into a public spectacle and replace this exhibit with one that shows fairgoers how cows suffer when they are seen as commodities, not individuals.”
PETA’s letter to Troy Waffner, acting director of the New York State Fair, follows.
August 26, 2014
New York State Fair
Dear Mr. Waffner,
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, including tens of thousands across New York, to urge you to close the Dairy Cow Birthing Center and replace it with a truly educational exhibit that would show fair-goers what really happens to cows on dairy farms.
As a mother, I am appalled by the idea of turning childbirth into a spectacle. It is a time when any mother needs comfort and privacy, not crowds of strangers and noise. To reduce it to a “show” is to demonstrate extreme disrespect.
Cows produce milk for the same reason that human mothers do—to nourish their young. But in the dairy industry, cows have their offspring torn away from them within days or even hours of birth so that the milk meant for their offspring can be sold to humans instead. In order to keep them almost constantly producing milk, cows are artificially inseminated over and over again on what farmers themselves refer to as a “rape rack.” Because the dairy industry has no use for the male calves who cannot produce milk, they are often sold into the notoriously cruel veal industry, where they are subjected to up to 20 weeks of malnourishment and intensive confinement before they are sent to slaughter. Female calves are subjected to the same miserable fate as their mothers. Once cows’ milk production declines at a fraction of their natural lifespan, they are sent to slaughter to be ground up into hamburgers.
If you really want to teach visitors about New York’s dairy industry, you should show them the hot-iron dehorners that many farmers use to burn the sensitive horn tissue out of calves’ heads, without giving them any painkillers, or video footage from this Clinton County farm, where workers electro-shocked animals in the face and left cows with prolapsed vaginas to suffer for months with no veterinary treatment.
I urge you to take cows in childbirth off public display immediately and, in future years, to replace the Dairy Cow Birthing Center with an exhibit that will teach fair-goers about the real conditions for animals on dairy farms. Thank you for your consideration.