Issues > Food & Drink > Animals > Bobby Calves
Have you ever wondered why cows can produce milk? Like all mammals, cows produce milk after giving birth. To produce milk continuously, dairy cows have to give birth every year. Of the calves produced, all males and about a quarter of the females are considered 'surplus' to the dairy industry as they cannot be turned into dairy cows. These calves will usually be removed within 12 hours of birth, causing significant distress for the mothers. Every year in Australia, around 500,000 of these 'bobby calves' are killed and processed as young veal for human consumption, hides for leather, and pharmaceutical byproducts. They are often slaughtered when only five days old!
Because of their low value to the industry, bobby calves often suffer lower standards of housing, feeding, and cleanliness. Before being slaughtered, they can go up to 30 hours without being fed. Due to their young age and underdeveloped following instincts, there is often rough handling during transportation. The transportation process itself regularly has them exposed to the elements, despite being only days old.
What you can do:
Consider reducing or removing dairy from your diet. Check out Animals Australia for some tips on dairy alternatives.
If you can't cut out dairy from your diet, choose products from companies with animal welfare on their agenda. Elgaar Farms or Barambah Organic are good examples.