Home Dairy What happens to the Male Calves

What happens to the Male Calves


Probably one of the most misunderstood topics about dairy farming is the “mystery” of what happens to the male calves. Female cows are the only ones that can be milked. So what happens to the bulls.

Quickly searching Google, I found it hard to find a dairymen’s answer on this topic. Being an actual dairy farmer, I thought I would share this inside information.

Just as a quick note, there is so much misinformation online on this topic. Most of it is being spread by animal rights groups. It seems that they want you to believe that dairy farmers don’t care about the male calves since they don’t produce milk. This couldn’t be further from the truth though. The truth is that dairy farmers really do care about the male calves.

Dairy Farmers are animal lovers

Regardless of gender, dairy farmers love all cows. Dairy farmers are the biggest animal lovers I know. If they didn’t love cows, they would not be in this line of work.

In fact, you can read why I think dairy farmers should be called cow shepherds.

All animals are given the best care possible. Even the male calves.

What Happens to the bulls

Because the bulls can’t be milked, they usually have a different career path than the girls. Some of the boys are kept for breeding purposes. The bulls from the very best cows are kept for breeding. The others are raised for beef.

Even though they are raised as beef animals, they are raised to maturity and given the same care as the girls.

Most dairies do not sell the bulls as veal. Nearly all males raised for beef, are sold to beef operations. Interestingly, the veal industry has been in a steady decline for several decades. (Source) But you don’t have to take my word for it; this independent researcher came to the same conclusion.

Decalf and his bros

Jersey bull “de-calf” and his bros

Calves sleeping in the hay

Holstein bull sleeping in the hay with other calves (girls and boys)

Gender selected breeding

Technology has changed so many things, including things on the farm. A lot of dairies these days use gender selected semen when breeding their cows.

The female sperm is separated from the male sperm. Using this technology, dairy farmers can breed for only female calves. Many farms have used this technology to reduce the amount of boys that are born.

Baby calf

A Little Holstein bull “Sir Britton”

This guy lets out a little moo

Thoughts or comments, let me know in the comments below or tweet me @dairymoos


    • I can’t stand articles like this, esp how they put the cute little cow at the end to fucking warm our hearts or something, it’s a disgusting tactic, trying to appeal to our kinder nature, to allow the torture and disgusting practices that go on behind the scenes. I hope the writer of this isn’t just some confused farmer, that would be even more depressing. The fact is that the MAJORITY of farmers are committing these atrocities, looking at the small percentage of people doing the best they can is just a distraction, and hurting everybody.

  1. God gave us cattle for food. Still I have to say that when I lived in Idaho I saw the little veal compounds where they kept the male babies confined.

    • The veal industry is so small these days, it’s struggling to survive. But for good reason – I don’t think it’s right

  2. God didn’t need to “create”animals to feed people .He/she/it could have made people vegetarians just like all “god’s” land menu creatures or even people that didn’t need to eat. Why would a loving god have created hundreds of billions ( from time in memorium ) of gentle, beautiful, loving, feeling animals just to have the abused, tortured , slaughtered and butchered by mankind. Just doesn’t make a lick of sense, no how, no way, nowhere on this god forsaken planet.

    • Yes, it’s interesting that humans weren’t created as vegetarians. It seems like that would have made this discussion so much easier right. That is until we figured out that plants also experience feelings and have emotions. Our vegetarian population would then go around terrorizing the plant kingdom. I think if you circle through these scenarios you begin to realize that everything in this world deserves respect. Plants and animals

      • If you read your Bible, humans were created vegan. It says right in there that man ate the fruits and vegetables. God did not tell people to start eating the animals until after Noah got off the Ark. And I don’t think he told them to start eating the animals because he was proud of Noah and his family after just destroying the entire world. He told them to start eating the animals because there was no food. We were made in the beginning not to eat animals. God was more like “If you humans are going to act like animals then you can live like one”. Read your Bible

        • Yeah, it says: Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything- Genesis 9:3. According to the bible, eating meat is ethical and allowable

          • You quote Postdiluvian Genesis (After the flood)… you know… when all the plants were dead because man had been punished.
            GEN 1:29 – “… I have given you every herb-bearing seed and… the fruit of a tree… to you it shall be for meat.”

              • What matters most is God’s original design. His original intent for mankind. God permits many things that he never originally intended, like divorce, polygamy, etc. But should Christians aim for God’s perfect will, or his permissive will? What do you think?

                • His original intent was for you to not know good or evil. So trying to figure out what the original intent was goes against his original intent. You can read through the bible, plenty of opportunity to condemn it if it were bad. Instead, says to eat meat. “His people” the Israelitites were herding people who ate meat not vegans. He could have chosen people living a plant based lifestyle. Jesus ate meat. Pretty sure he could have given a sermon or two on that if he wanted us to follow God’s original intent- but he did not.. veganism is not God’s plan for humanity

        • Maybe you should read your bible, lol. Jesus ate fish and lamb, crazy for God to do that if we were created vegan. He also feed 5 thousand people fish and bread. Thats just off the top of my head. Check your statements.

          • Clearly God’s original intent for mankind was that they thrive on a plant-based diet. While He made an allowance to allow humans to eat meat (after the flooding), with the conditions in the world today (easy access to plant-based foods and the harmful nature of meat production), our compassion for animals, fellow humans, and the planet should make make it obvious not to eat animal products…

            • God did not insert fine print or terms and conditions. Meat eating is explicitly allowed according to the text in the Bible. Making assumptions like you are about getting into God’s head and figuring out his intentions is just your own philosophical belief, not Gods. If God wanted you to know that meat eating was a sin (or even discouraged) it would have been clearly written in the Bible. But it isn’t.

        • “If you read your Bible, humans were created vegan. It says right in there that man ate the fruits and vegetables.”

          If you look at our evolutionary history, and our closest primate relatives, you will find that we were, and they are, primarily vegetarian. Gorillas, for instance, consume grubs and termites, which comprise about 3% of their diet. The numbers are similar for orangutans–over 90% fruit and similar, and animal protein is mainly insects or eggs.

          Chimpanzees and bonobos, who are more intelligent than gorillas and orangutans, consume larger proportions of animal-based foods, and are not limited to insects and insect larvae. They hunt and consume vertebrates, including other mammals. These two species have the second and third highest encephalization quotients (EQs) of all species, with only humans boasting higher scores.

          Meat, particularly the way humans used to eat it (as in, eating every part of the animal, not just muscle meat), is much higher in amino acids and other nutrients that are necessary for brain development than plant foods (particularly grains, which are nutritionally garbage comparatively).

          On top of this, it takes more brain to stalk a gazelle, or even a rat, than to stalk a fig. The impulse to eat meat caused intelligence to be more vigorously selected for as a heritable trait.

          And on top of all of it, when we descended from the forests and entered the grasslands, these lands were essentially devoid of accessible plant nutrition. Early humans became entirely reliant on meat as a staple. Big game hunting did a few things–it provided the necessary “protein dumps” for advanced brain development; it selected for intelligence as an adaptive trait; it selected for cooperation between group members (it takes more than one guy to take down a water buffalo); and it selected for the emergence of something called “gift culture”.

          “Gift culture” is a way of gaining social status not through how much stuff you can get for yourself, but through how much stuff you can share with others. Imagine a man on the Savannah with a mate and a handful of children. He brings home a zebra. Even if he used endurance hunting on his own to bring it down, there’s no way he and his family can eat the entire thing before it spoils. So he shares the extra with the other members of the tribe. By sharing the extra with others, he becomes popular and esteemed. He’s seen as wealthy and generous. If he wasn’t willing to share, he would be considered a jerk.

          In other words, meat fed our big brains, and also made intelligence a highly selected for heritable trait. It also forced males to cooperate within groups, and facilitated a form of culture based on generosity rather than parsimony, which further facilitated tribal bonds.

          The ability of human males to coordinate and cooperate with each other is responsible for pretty much everything you see around you. Chimpanzees don’t have pencils. They don’t have them for a reason.

          Meat/hunting is a huge part of that.

          • The Zebra that you refer to is NOT a thing , as is a purse, car or ( and hold on folks ) a bible. The Zebra is a living, breathing, thinking, loving mother to their newborns . Clearly, Trump steaks have not made anyone smarter, just possibly more orange .

      • Then why not also eat domesticated dogs and cats, just like other “civilized” cultures do ? After all, what’s the difference ( God given protein being equal ) between a Goose and a Maltese ?

      • Actually our physiology is that of an herbivore, not an omnivore. You concern for the plant kingdom is interesting. Plants do not have emotions. They have chemical sensitivities that are not comparable to human, or any sentient creatures emotions. So since you are so concerned about the vegetarians terrorizing the plants, I hope you are aware that an exponentially greater number of plants die in order to create meat protien or dairy products than if we just ate the plants ourselves. I’ve read estimates ranging from 10 to 15 pounds of plant protien to create 1 pound of animal protein. Better to leave out the “middle cow” and consume a vegetarian diet directly. Better for the cows, better for our health, better for the planet.

        • You say plants don’t have emotions, but then note they do show signs of emotion. Just because plants are a different type of specie, doesn’t mean we should regard them less than. Differences do not merit less respect. Animals provide a more complete protein, with a more complete essential amino acid profile compared to plants. A diet with only plants is unbalanced and leads to deficiencies. We should moderate our diet to bring it balance. Extremes in anything lead to problems. That is the best path for the cows, our health, and planet

          • Again, you bring up your concern for plants. So if you are concerned about plants, why not chose a diet that uses fewer of them. I’ve been vegetarian for more than a decade, and vegan for over a year. I have no dietary deficiencies. In fact, I’m much healthier since becoming vegan than I have been in many years, and have stopped taking cholesterol medicine because my bloodwork is so vastly improved my doctor says I no longer need it. My husband was semi-vegetarian for many years, but decided to go vegan at the same time I did over a year ago. Since then he has lost more than 50 pounds, has stopped snoring, and just got 2nd place in a 4 mile race for his age group. He runs at least 4 miles several times a week, and is planning to run a 10k race soon. We feel so much better living within our values and will never go back to the Standard American Diet. SAD

            • It is your logic placing one species above or below another. The side effects of veganism don’t show up until later- longer than a year. Please be careful though because your husband may have lost weight because of running in a caloric deficiency. I’m glad to hear that your feeling better. To be honest, I think anything is better than the SAD

        • Not only that regarding plants, but when you eat a cow or any product that comes from animal agriculture, you are using the thousands of pounds of plant produce that the animal required to grow large enough to slaughter. We actually grow more vegetation for animal feed than we grow to feed humans. Such poor use of natural resources is not sustainable. Besides, if you’re really “concerned about harming plants,” which is a load of bull as far as arguments go, you’d use far fewer plants if you’d cut out the middle man.

          • One thing people forget is that plants are a poor source of nutrition, you can’t eat most grasses and vegetation and they lack many essential nutrients. Those thousands of pounds of plants are basically useless. Cows convert unusable vegetation to a highly nutrient dense food source. Living on only plants is not sustainable

            • First of all, my reply was to your statement regarding “placing one species above or below another.” If you’re seriously trying to say that you’re concerned about the emotions of plants — which is a specious argument — then harvesting and feeding several times as many plants to livestock than would be required would cause distress to more plants than simply eating them yourself.

              As for the rest of the counter argument you presented, you referred to plants as a “poor source of nutrition,” a statement that would almost universally be characterized as false by any serious nutritionist or medical expert. Plant-based diets are almost universally considered the healthiest options available by those qualified experts.

              There is only a finite amount of arable soil for farming, and every acre used to grow animal feed is an acre that is not being used to grow food for humans — this opportunity cost, along with the energy loss from using produce to feed livestock, is reducing the total output of kcals available to an ever-growing human population. To suggest otherwise would imply that your livestock is so special, that those cows can break the laws of thermodynamics.

              In short, living on only plants is not only sustainable, but it is far more sustainable than growing livestock.

              • Why shouldn’t you be concerned about plants and their feelings? If you are concerned about animals you should also be concerned about other life including the life without anthropomorphic characteristics. Break down veganism to an equation: humans=animals>plants>minerals. But if you are concerned about life it should be: humans=animals=plants=minerals. The traditional model would be humans>animals>plants>minerals realizing that everything is interconnected in interdependent on each other. Symbiosis is how life works and when you change the model life doesn’t work. Native American understood these principals and so did the rest of humanity. There is nothing wrong with the traditional model.

                Grasses and forages are the most abundant plant life on this planet, they grow in areas that don’t have arable land or in climates where vegetables and edible plants cant grow. Cows are specially designed to convert plants high in fiber and lignin into a usable source of nutrition. Cows have a special microbiome – rumen- with bacteria that breakdown the fiber. They can do it becausethey live in symbiosis with the bacteria. They feed bacteria and the bacteria feed them. Unless you have a 40 gallon microbiome like a cow, you can’t live on grass alone. Living on plants is not sustainable.

                • Your circular reasoning regarding plants’ “emotions” is plain for anyone to read here. I will restate it, as you failed to refute it: even if that was a concern, feeding animals and eating them destroys more plants than simply eating plants ourselves.

                  Native Americans? Seriously? You want to follow your circular reasoning up with an appeal to nature mixed with an appeal to tradition? I was actually disappointed that that’s where you took that equation, and that you tried to literally redefine veganism to suit your argument. Veganism is defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

                  Again, sustainability. Would you care to guess how many cattle farms are 100 percent grass fed, including the finishing period before slaughter? Do you care to guess how many dairy farms, nationwide, are 100 percent grass and forage fed?

                  And yes, living on plants is sustainable; there are literally thousands of humans around the world who have been doing it for years. It demands far fewer natural resources than eating meat and animal products, and has been scientifically proven to be healthier.

                • I didn’t ignore your question, the point was that caring about plants matters to your equation. Why care about one specie but ignore/exploit the other? If living on plants was possible/feasible, why are there no vegan societies in the humanities history. I suspect ancient cultures more more in tune with natural law than we are today

                • Our previous thread is no longer giving the option to reply, so I am starting anew.

                  “Caring about plants” is your argument, and is wholly irrelevant. Again, unless you are willing to argue that 1) livestock don’t eat vegetation, or 2) livestock are a type of perpetual motion machine that somehow create more calories than they consume, then your “caring about plants” argument is invalid.

                  As far as why there are no vegan societies in history, that is far from the point. Do you know what else didn’t exist until quite recently? Cars. I’d bet you own one, despite your facetious desire to cling to “ancient ways.” No judgment, though — I own a car, too.

                  It is worth noting, however, that some of the earliest roots of vegetarianism can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophers and religious groups in India; in both cases, these movements were closely associated with the concept of nonviolence towards animals. You know, since you asked. 😉

                • It is not irrelevant- not caring about plants undermines the entire premise of veganism. Why save one life but forget another just because it doesn’t have anthropomorphic characteristics. You are still putting one lifeform higher than another. The ancient Greek philosophers were not in favor of veganism- and when they spoke of vegetarianism it was only for the means of spiritual enlightenment not a permanent way of life. Both the Greek and Indian cultures upheld milk as being the food of the gods and were herding cultures. The Greek philosophers promoted balance in all things. All things require balance- because they seen that even extreme virtue can become a vice. Veganism is a sort of extreme, not the middle path, not a real way of living

      • Show me a plant that has a central nervous system. They don’t have feelings. They can’t feel pain. They react to stimuli. There is a difference. Stick to what you know.

        • So an electric car is not a vehicle because it doesn’t have a gas motor… you are merely stating an opinion

          • Why don’t all dairy farmers use gender selected AI? Then every1 would be happy. My son works on a dairy farm and at the moment from a 200 herd 5 calves get the bullet a week. I don’t believe farmers are animal lovers when they could CHOOSE to breed in a more humane way. Don’t spout this crap that they are bred for beef..most don’t see 24 hrs on the planet and no I’m not a veggie just so.Wonersh who would like fair play and our farmers to stop spouting lies (if they say anything at all)

          • Not all farmers are ethical, just as all humans are not. My aunt was a dairy farmer for years and cared immensely for her cows. My grandparents raised beef cows and also cared for them. No “torture” involved. My ex-husband worked for a dairy that had practices I thought were horrible, cows were sickly, not sure if they actually killed any calves, so I can’t comment on that, but you cannot lump all farmers together like you have. Just as you cannot lump all Christians, Muslims, Conservatives, Liberals, African Americans, Caucasions, Gypsies, etc. It’s ignorant to make a generalization about all farmers based on 1 you know of. I tooknow ethics class, I know what some people are capable of doing to animals, on farms, in homes, I see what people are capable of doing to fellow humans. Not everyone shares my same opinion, nor yours. So how can anyone be lumped together under one heading? I eat meat because I choose to. I would raise my own if I had the resources. I see no reason to slam an obviously conscientious farmer based on your experience with an obviously heinous one.

                • Farming is not about profit, its about sustaining the rest of the other animals on the farm. And there is a karmic rule to this universe that economics is on the side of the animals- better treated animals are more productive. Modern technology and practices have made animals lives better just like its made our lives better. Feeding animals is not free though, but I would not sell any animals if the resources were available. But there are few people who would actually contribute to a cause like this. So how can you take care of animals if you don’t have the money to pay for their food. Do you know the cost to support 1 cow for 1 year? In India, many people cannot afford to take care of the cows so they end up roaming the streets eating garbage and causing accidents. Cows roaming the streets freely or out in the wild do not have a better life. The idealism of veganism may sound great in theory but the practical application does not work. That is why there have been no vegan societies in the history of humanity and thinking that we are smarter than the people of the past because it is 2017 is naive. But I am open to hearing your thoughts on this, what do you propose is the solution to this problem?

  3. What a total con job this is. It is completely unnatural for mature animals, of any species, to drink milk. We are the only animal that does that. Not only do we drink milk way past our weaning, but we drink the milk of another species !!! It’s nonsense. It’s very bad for our health, for the environment and of course for the cows and especially the calves. Dairy farmers are animal lovers ? Hardly. They love the profit they make from exploiting these gentle animals, and that’s all they love.

    • You typing this comment on the internet is also unnatural, yet you are the only mammal doing it. Do you see how this kind of reasoning is flawed. I think many people accept it because they don’t want to explore the entire issue. Is it really so hard to believe that a farmer loves animals. Keep in mind that an attitude of condemnation limits us and holds us back from exploring other paradigms 🙂

    • My adult cat enjoys a glass of milk now and then, he doesn’t know how to milk a cow but if he did he would. And you’ve got to love the profit in farming! Move over oil, milk is the real moneymaker.

      • Well not exactly – it has its ups and downs. We are losing money half the time and there’s no food stamps for cows..

  4. I’ve no doubt “farmers” love animals. The dairy industry is not about farmers, it is about 100% animal abuse , no more , no less .

    • Well… Following your logic, since a steer is most likely larger that you are, shouldn’t the steer be the one eating you and not the other way around?

      • Good one , but wait for “The Serpent” to turn it around on you to make himself justify his wicked ways

    • It’s easy to call people names and be a hater – much harder to unite humanity towards common goals

  5. The bible was written at a time when there wasn’t many meat/fish alternatives.
    We know more know about animal consciousness and our own anatomy now to know that we can live healthily without animals suffering. I think creating anything for the sole reason of killing it is wrong.
    Back then there were no factory farms. Would God support factory farms?
    I doubt it.
    Stop using the Bible to justify mass murder. The reason that is murder is that there ARE other options then killing animals otherwise I’d call it survival.
    It is really that simple.

    • You’re assuming that people back in the day weren’t as intelligent as we are now. I think people back then were more connected to nature than we are today. They recognized that everything is alive.. thinking about it, there were more people farming and raising animals than there were people living in cities – today it’s reverse. Using terms like “factory farming” is proof of disconnectedness from farm life. With today’s technology, animals have better care than any other point in history..

      • ‘With today’s technology, animals have better care than any other point in history..’
        You’re not serious..you don’t really believe that…
        Why are factory farms off limits, enforced by the governments for anyone to see what really goes on and how animals are tortured…?

        • Wow, don’t sound so shocked.. You don’t seriously believe that animals never got sick or had problems on your great grandfather’s farm do you… Large barns to moderate weather, fans, temperature cooling, enhanced nutrition from dairy cow nutritionists, enhanced care with dairy cow veterinarians, and even things like automated cow brushes have enhanced the lives of the cows on the farm.
          Similar to us as people – technology has made our lives more comfortable, and the things we take things for granted – our grandparents were only dreaming about..

  6. People would never have eaten meat if they didn’t have to make animal sacrifices to atone for their sin. I think one of the reasons God instituted meat eating after the Flood was so that people would not only have to kill an innocent animal as substitution for their own guilt, but by eating it, they would be more horrified by what they had done, making the consequences for sin much more impactful, and maybe turn them away from doing more evil. Even in the OT people didn’t just kill and eat meat. It was done as part of the sacrificial system. Only later did people begin butchering animals apart from any connection to a sacrifice. There is no evidence that Jesus ate mammals or birds. It only records that he ate fish.

    • That is an idea, but you should research more. People in the OT did kill and eat meat. Are you forgetting that the ancient Israelites were nomadic sheep and goat herders. Abraham, Jacob, even Moses spent time as a sheep-herder. What do you think they were doing with their livestock. Because livestock were food they became a symbol of wealth and abundance. The wealthier people ate more meat than the poor people. Sacrifice meant offering your fattest animal. The best animal. The one you would have wanted to eat yourself. That is why it was a sacrifice, because you would have had less food because of your sacrifice. There is no evidence that Jesus didn’t eat meat and surrounding culture points to the fact that he probably did. If meat eating was wrong, you would think he would have said so..

  7. Dairy Guy, I think you got tagged one a certain type of people’s lists lol. Found your site to be very informative and used it to teach my boys about 1 of our cows, she is the only Dairy cow we have in our small herd. Thank you for sharing! From one animal loving, farmer to another! Southern Raised Jesus Saved in AL!

  8. I love your post and your comment’s answer. Always respectful and informed, even for the religious and vegan ones.

    Some notes for fan people: God (per se) didn’t create calmed and peaceful cows, they where breed that way by us. Think of it like dogs from wolf. Cows wouldn’t exist if we didn’t eat them.

    We need nutrients that can’t be found on vegetables. All vegans will require supplements (some of them created from animals), don’t tell me god/nature intended that we should eat supplements.

  9. I was fascinated while reading all of these comments! Being born Native American and choosing Jesus as my Saviour has allowed me to examine these issues open mindedly. I believe eating meat was essential to my ancestors survival. Today, as the veal industry has waned so will other farm industries. I have no doubt that some farmers are truly animal lovers (as I have seen while living on an Holstein farm during college) and there are also horrible farming practices which cannot be denied. The more we are informed the more farmers will be held accountable. Hooray for the extremists! For they propagate the evolution of our species. My hats off to the most honorable farmers who perpetuate the strengths of our bodies and try so desperately to meet the needs of society.
    My hope and prayer is not that everyone become vegan so that the farming industry collapse, but that everyone become more aware of their surroundings, more aware of what they’re doing in their day to day lives that affects all of our lives and for generations to come. May we respect this planet which gives us life to enjoy in every way with meekness and fear.

    • Awesome- thanks for commenting. I don’t think extremism is the answer though. Extremists do not enable change, but only cause anger and hate. Much better are the people who work together to create positive change in the world. When people of different backgrounds work together, they can create real, positive change. Going vegan and calling farmers murders does nothing to further change in the world. But don’t underestimate the contribution that farming has made in this world. Farming is an essential part of humanity and has allowed humanity to progress in other areas. It’s only through abundance that you can have a choice on what to eat. The absence of fear in where our next meal will come from has allowed for dramatic change in the world. Most farmers are actually concerned about ensuring proper care for the animals and environment. Perhaps the real problem preventing change is a lack of communication between farmers and consumers. When people can openly communicate and exchange ideas in a heartfelt way, real change can happen. Being an extremist is not a long term solution to improving animal well-being and the environment

  10. I get my milk from a local farm where I know the animals are well treated. I am not against eating meat, but I am against torture. So, yeah, I’m against veal. The farm where I get my milk, all the animals are pastured and the calves are allowed to stay with the mums until they are weaned. Then the females become dairy cows, the males become beef. I think that is OK. I am not OK with a calve locked in a tiny cage all its life.

    • Where is this farm you get your milk from? What’s it called?
      I have read many articles claiming that allowing dairy calves to stay with their mothers until they are weaned is too costly for the farmer. Also I have read that male calves raised for beef cost more to raise until they are large enought to slaughter than the farmer can realize in profit, making a farm like this financially unsustainable.

  11. These comments are more itnertaining than the actual artical. Rick getting roasted left right and center

    • And Maggie, your slaughter and abuse of the English language is just as “itnertaining” ( I assume you meant “entertaining” ) as any “artical” ( I assume you meant “article” ) here.
      In Margretese, rCki , is doing just fine.

  12. I just want to publicly applaud the dairy guy here for his rational, gentle, considerate, and well-thought-out responses. I’m so impressed, especially considering the level of anger and hatred in the remarks he’s dealing with. I don’t know what’s “right” or “wrong” here, or if there even is a universal “right” and “wrong.” Are lions evil because they eat meat? Why should humans who eat meat be deemed evil? Because we are capable of considering the feelings of the animals we eat? Maybe. But meat is food for us. Every living thing needs food and takes food from other living things, whether they be similar (like other mammals to us) or very different (like plants or insects).

    In this comparison, both lion and man are just doing what they want – trying to fill needs and survive in a confusing and harsh world. If you’re vegan because you care about the lives of others, good for you. But you cannot end suffering by being vegan. Realistically, the entire cow species would have a very small population if humans didn’t raise and care for them (even if we only care for them in order to get food from them). And wild and “free” cows would have to deal with predators and starvation and all the lovely things that go along with being alive and free on earth. I don’t think there are many wild animals that die peacefully. Especially grazers. When they get old or ill and slow down, they quickly become meals for predators.

    So maybe consider that into your calculations. It’s not as simple as eat cow meat/consume cow milk at the expense of the cows, or don’t. What happens to the cows if people release them all and let them be and stop interfering? They don’t just have lovely happy lives. They have to find food and water in a crowded world. They have to escape the many other living things that want to eat them.

    Also, I will never completely understand (I don’t think) why so many vegans think it is necessary to push their beliefs on others via rude, hateful comments. Have you ever changed your mind about anything just because someone was awful to you? Why is it that you care so much about the treatment of these cows, but you don’t care about your own horrible treatment of people who simply have opinions and thoughts that differ from your own?

    I found this site because I have been searching for a dairy that is very humane. I love drinking milk, but I’d like to support people who treat their cows very well. Who allow their calves to stay with their mothers, and who do all they can to let their animals live happy lives (and die relatively gently).

    On that note, I think I myself were in a situation similar to the cows’, I would actually rather be killed for meat, provided the killing wasn’t horrible and agonizing, than to become old and live in pain every day, or to be hunted down by a lion and killed slowly and torn apart before I’m even dead. Just saying.

    At some dairies, I think the cows are very unfortunate and I feel very sad for them. If I could do something to help them I would. But at other dairies, I think they seem to have very good lives, and I believe they are very happy. I see nothing wrong with this.

    That’s all. Sorry that was long. This just… got me thinking a lot, I guess.

  13. Its hard to find answers from pro-dairy people about the specifics of the dairy industry, so I appreciate you taking that on. I am mostly vegan because I am against animal torture – I have seen that you can get eggs from happy chickens so I am okay with that, but I am still unsure if milk can be gotten in a humane way like eggs can. Aside from what happens to the calves, there are more issues that need to be addressed honestly:
    Is it true that the mother cries when the calf is taken away?
    Is it true that a cow’s lifespan is reduced from 20 years to 5 years on average?
    I’m sure dairy famers were originally animal lovers but aren’t they pressured to use inhumane money-saving methods just to stay in business?
    How can dairy farmers participate in something so seemingly grotesque as artificial insemination?
    I hope you can take the time to answer these questions. I value hearing the story from both sides and I respect your ability to answer scathing comments in a calm manner. Thank you.

    • Good luck Harmony, as you’re about to get a bucketful of pseudo psychobabble, heavy on the whipped cream logic that is the dairy guy . Good for you for asking these heartfelt questions.

    • Thanks for keeping an open mind – I feel like its mostly perspective because think about it from a farmers perspective. Cows need care 24/7 so you need to put the hours into the farm. If you didn’t care about the cows, it would be difficult to keep the farm going. You just wouldn’t have the motivation. Farms are still family operations and one reason there are few corporate farms is that nobody puts in the time like a family’s dedication to keeping the family farm going. Then there are also karmic rules at play – if you don’t treat the cows well you wont get the productivity from them. The better care you give, the more you receive. Dairy farmers do understand this rule and that is why so much research has gone into figuring out how to give the cows the best care and low stress as possible. Treating cows poorly will dramatically reduce milk production and put that farm out of business.
      – Does a mother cow cry, it is hard to say because they are animals of instinct. More research should be done to see the impact. From a management perspective, farms separate them early to make sure they get the nutrition they need faster. Sometimes the mothers colostrum is poorer quality, so getting them a better fortified colostrum with more immunoglobulins and immune factors really helps boost that calf’s immune system. Dairy cows are sometimes poor mothers also. We know for a fact that we can reduce the death loss more than if the calf was was alone in nature.
      – On age, can people live to 120 years yes but is that the norm. 10 years is quite old for a cow. Cows live on average 7-8 years on dairy farms until they are retired. Dairy farmers are trying to improve genetics so cows live longer. Longevity is a big factor in finding genetics for reproduction, by getting more longevity from the cows you have a more productive cow.
      – This plays into the AI question you had, it seems grotesque on the surface but the benefits to the cow are so many that you would agree that AI is very humane. With genetics you can improve the life of cows considerably. Example, you have a skinny cow who is weak, you could breed her to a stronger bull to give her progeny more strength. You end up with more balanced cows that will last longer (longevity). Another example, you have a cow with a very deep udder that is poorly attached, with better genetics you can pick a bull with better udder strength. You end up with their progeny having stronger udders that will be more happy and healthy. Another example, you have a small cow, you can breed her to a bull that is known to have small calves at calving. You end up with a cow that can give birth without any assistance and not being torn by such a large baby. With better genetics and AI you can really improve the health and life of your herd. Much more so than with a bull. A bull doesn’t descriminate when he breeds, he just does and his genetics may not be best for every cow. But with AI you can make sure the right genetics goes to the cows that need it. And with DNA testing today, we know what characteristics the bulls will pass along. You let me know if this still sounds inhumane. I should write a post about this.
      I think I answered your other question about dairy farmers being animal lovers. money saving methods don’t save you money. You get more productivity when you give them the best. Sorry this got so long, but let me know your thoughts – thanks

      • Curious about this statement you made “Cows live on average 7-8 years on dairy farms until they are retired.” Wouldn’t a dairy cow living to 7 – 8 years have been impregnated 6-7 times by that age? I’ve read that most dairy cows are used up by the 5th impregnation, some only 4 times. Also would like to know where dairy cows go to retire. Thanks

        • Just you wait. Dairy Guy ( read Snake Oil Salesman ) is going to tell you they retire to Fort Cowderdale By The Sea ( read Slaughterhouse). Dude’s a joke with a pickup truck and a cattle prod.

          • I do care about cows and if that hurts your feelings, then stop trolling my page and insulting me.

            • Dear DG, I don’t troll your site. Never even think about it. The only time I return to your site is when my email tells me someone’s added to my original “conversation ” with you. Only at that point due I feel compelled to write something. On a truly personal level I can only be concerned about how I live my life and try to live by example. I am passionate about doing the right thing in life , as I see it , as you apparently do with your life. You are very smart and you have the gray matter necessary for jabbing and punching, which I think you enjoy immensely. Conversely, I do not . That said , I will bid adieu to you. Live well and prosper, just please try not to do it on the back of defenseless animals.

              • Yeah I understand we have different viewpoints, but we can keep our comments respectable – no need to call names

        • While I do enjoy your back and forth with Rick, are you going to answer my questions? I am interested in hearing your response. Thanks.

          • It was in response to your post in the thread about male dairy calves on April 12, 2017
            “Curious about this statement you made “Cows live on average 7-8 years on dairy farms until they are retired.” Wouldn’t a dairy cow living to 7 – 8 years have been impregnated 6-7 times by that age? I’ve read that most dairy cows are used up by the 5th impregnation, some only 4 times. Also would like to know where dairy cows go to retire. Thanks”. So to clarify, how many times do you impregnate your dairy cows before they are no longer useful to you? Do you impregnate them yearly? I’ve read that most dairy cows stop producing enough milk to make it worth the farmers time and money at about age 5 or 6. You say they live to be 7 to 8 years old on your farm. Also, you mention that dairy cows go on to be “retired”. Just wondering what tpye of retirement a dairy cow is looking forward to. Thanks!

            • Cows have their fist baby anywhere from 24-36 months of age – 9 month pregnancy like people. The older cows are more productive than the younger ones so there is good incentive to keep the older ones around- for example a younger cow will give 70 lbs milk/day while an older cow will give 100 lbs of milk/day. That is why dairy farms try to use bulls that give longevity. With herd records and DNA testing, we can find the bulls that will give the cows offspring a longer, more healthy life. Retirement plan includes free admission to the big green pasture in the sky

            • Sorry – your reply didn’t go to my notifications and I’ve been busy at the farm. I try to answer all though

  14. Thanks for this article and taking the time to respond to everyone. I’m 55 with a vegan teenager so I’m hearing a lot of the other side of the story. Been drinking milk all of my life its hard to imagine changing now, although I am switching to lower fat. I look for the middle ground, “moderation in all things” like the Greeks. I’m OK with almond milk sometimes, although almonds use a lot of water too. But I do want to avoid supporting veal and have never eaten veal. Is there any way to tell whether a milk product comes from a farm that supports veal? Does “organic” do it? Thanks

    • Yes, moderation in all things – Everything is about balance i think. Veal is popular in Europe but not so here in the U.S. Organic or not, most dairy farms here in the U.S. do not do veal. There isn’t a indirect way to know without talking to the local farms

  15. It is true that God permitted man to consume meat after the flood. But He also gave man certain laws which pertained to the killing of animals. Read Jewish 101 to see the details. Animals were to be killed painlessly, and the consumption of meat was to be approached in a reverent way. Even when God ordered the sacrifice of a lamb, He did so because He knew the power that was there in blood, be it in the physical or spiritual realm. But in today’s world it is mainly mass production for mass consumption. No one really cares about the animals that are bred for food. Studies might show that the evolutionary growth of the brain is largely credited to the consumption of meat, which is just the pros of the matter. What about the cons? Climate change is probably the most important environmental issue of our time. Raising animals for food contributes to the production of greenhouse gases implicated in the global warming that is causing climate change. There are many animal welfare issues associated with commercial farming practices, especially in industrial agricultural production systems, where animals are often confined indoors at high stocking densities. The conditions in which the animals are kept are a matter of serious deliberation in legislative, corporate, investment and trade organizations, among many others around the world. Overarching calls to increase animal productivity, by, for example, pushing animals (either genetically through selective breeding, with hormone drugs, or through feed changes) to produce more milk or meat, or to produce more offspring faster, can also be considered in light of potential health and welfare consequences. We have been taught from a very young age that there is a balance to all things, what we haven’t been taught is that, the only species known to abuse this balance is the Human species. It is our moral obligation and responsibility to take care of all things put under our care. But if we still choose to stay confined to our greed, gluttony and arrogance etc we have doomed ourselves and the generations ahead, and there is nothing else left to look forward to but the destruction of this earth for the birth of a new one. Think about it!

    • Very well said ! Please,don’t be discouraged by the looney tuners who are going to respond to your remarks negatively or out of ignorance . It’s sad enough that most won’t comprehend or be able to appreciate ” all those words ” and will fall back on their bibles to misinterpret the true meaning of their religion. After all, WWJD concerning animal abuse and the slaughterhouses that welcome billions of animals in their “retirement ?

        • Jesus didn’t “harvest” ( indeed, a cow is NOT broccoli ) animals for the almighty buck ( you could’ve been a plumber instead of a “farmer”, what the heck do you grow anyhow, except skyscraper sized utters ?) and then when they were no longer cash registers for him , cart them off to slaughterhouses for even more ca$hing in. All the rhetoric aside, you’re complicit in pure evil. DG meet Goebbels , Geobbels meet DG . Hope we’re still debate buddies .

    • Dan -If you are calling for national welfare for cows- social security, food stamps, etc. I am on board. However don’t let the anti-farm folks trap you in their frame. Animals are treated better today than anytime in history, they have indoor access because the world has harsh environments. With climate controls, you can reduce the drastic affects of weather and reduce death loss. Most every practice done at a farm is done because it has proven to be the most effective at reducing death and stress on the animals. Cows still have access to the natural world, they can go in the barn if they’d like. Is that a bad life for a cow. If you think climate controlled environment or shelter is wrong, then get outside your air conditioned/ heated home and live underneath the stars. Live in nature, the way our ancestors did. You will find it a little uncomfortable and will probably be stressed out. As to stocking densities, visit LA – what a nightmare

  16. I found your article very interesting – it definitely puts the whole dairy industry a different light than that of PETA or other animal-rights groups. That being said… the comments on this are ridiculous. I applaud you for keeping a logical perspective amidst some of the crazy accusations. Although I DID laugh at how often the Bible was brought back into this, especially since the Bible says nothing against eating meat (besides that of animals with hooves, like pigs). 🙂

    • lol yeah it is interesting – If you actually read the bible, you find it is not pro-vegan.

      • “lol – yeah”

        The bible is not pro-vegan true, but i don’t think we can ignore the facts that Eden and heaven will not include meat eating, as that involves death, and there is no death or suffering in either. So God’s original perfect plan was eating fruits and vegetables. After the flood, when God allowed the eating of meat, he did also state that animals would be filled with “fear and dread.” Not such a positive thing. Oh and about animal sacrifice, that actually puts a lot of value on an animal. Think about it, what is it replacing? Plus, God says a few times he does not really want sacrifice, but obedience. And even though Jesus ate some fish and lamb (both really used for symbolic purposes) does that justify what happens in today’s meat and dairy industries? I really believe that all compassionate Jesus Christ, the last sacrifice, if given the opportunity to eat an abundance of food without any death or suffering involved, he would. And lastly, eating meat is NOT a commandment. We can still make our own compassionate choices.

        • That is only your idea, you’re reading your beliefs into the bible. Why would it say this- Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Why would God say to kill and eat. How do we know the ideal is eating plants, maybe the perfect plan is to get your sustenance from the Lord. We cannot know what heaven is like, but from the bible you cannot assume veganism because its clearly not in there that people should be vegan.

  17. I find it funny you call it a “career” like the male/female calfs have a choice on their body’s being used to make money. I do believe that some or even most dairy farmers take well care of their calfs HOWEVER it is still all done for money. Not for the love of the animal. I love my dog, I would never use her to breed her and sell her puppies to make money off of her. She is my family member and I will treat her as on by giving her the love and respect I do to any other family member.

    • Everything in this world has a purpose. And while money plays a role, it actually incentivizes people to give the animals better care to animals. I’m sure you have a job and love it, but at the end of the day you are just doing it for the money. If you weren’t getting paid, you wouldn’t be doing it. Why though- probably because you need to pay for the necessities of life. Same on the farm- if there is no money you can’t buy the necessities the animals need.

      • Yeah but my job is different because I help people. Not make money off of an animal which feels physical and emotional pain. I just personally think it’s selfish because it’s 2017 and there are many other options for dairy products. Why harm and use animals if it’s not necessary?

        • Well then you’re cashing in on other peoples suffering. See how things can be framed differently. As a farmer, I feel that feeding people is a great work and that motivates me. The animals on most farms are more comfortable and cared for better than they would be in the wild. It is often the lack of money on farms that causes problems. If I had all the money in the world, I would build a palace for our cows. But people would never help pay for it..

          • That is exactly my point! It’s all about money and if whatever you’re doing for the cows isn’t profitable for YOU then you’re not going to do it! also as I stated before, there are other ways of feeding people. Especially in this day and age. If it can be done without harming an innocent animal then why not do it?! Not to mention it’s healthier and better for the environment.

            • I’m not understanding your point. If there is no money, how do you feed the cows and give them good care! If you didn’t get paid at your job, you wouldn’t take care of people.

          • Circular argument here. If you weren’t raising the animals you wouldn’t need money to do that.

            “Well then you’re cashing in on other peoples suffering. ”

            And where the heck did this come from???

            “The animals on most farms are more comfortable and cared for better than they would be in the wild”

            well they might not even be here if it wasn’t for farmers breeding them

            • So better that no animals exist in the world?? This is where veganistic thinking leads, to self and species destruction

              • I’m sure they enjoy being cows. They probably don’t enjoy being impregnated in order to be milked so that humans can drink their milk or having their babies taken away from them after birth OR the fact that they’re sent to slaughter after they stop producing enough milk. You’re obviously a man and don’t understand the energy it takes to be pregnant and raise a being. Doesn’t matter what species, it takes a lot of the body. especially to only have the baby taken away. And no one wants to die before their time. If your cows were able to fight for life they would. Actually, I’m sure they do.

                • If you have the genetics to be a long distance runner, running is not torture. If you have the genetics to be a weightlifter, lifting weights is not torture. Cows have the genetic ability to produce milk, it is not torture. They are like athletes and it is easy for them. Also, think that a cow would be pregnant more often in the wild, a bull will breed at any opportunity and doesn’t ask. So more calves in the wild with zero additional care. I don’t think that life on a farm is a bad deal for the cows since they live longer and with less stress compared to living in the wild. The cows are quite happy on the farm and that’s why they don’t leave when they get out of their pastures.

  18. “Everything in this world has a purpose.”

    yeah but you have the freedom to figure our your own.

    And who defines those purposes? Seems like you have done that for the animals yourself.

    So they would freely come to you and into your barn and fulfill their purpose??? lol

    • Yes.. they do enjoy milking and they do not stray far from their pens when they get out. They are happy and comfortable. and while you cannot coMOOnicate with them directly, my cow sense feels they enjoy being cows

      • Your girls only enjoy being milked because it alleviates a small amount of pressure and discomfort from the “utter” pain of their unnaturally inflated teats.

              • Yeah, natural to drink their mother’s milk. It’s not natural to drink another mammals milk, especially after they’ve been weaned off of their own mother’s. If drinking a cows milk were natural for humans then 1. it wouldn’t begin with artificial insemination and 2. We’d all be calfs being fed to turn into large cows!!!

  19. This article is nothing but lies. Dairy farmers are not animal lovers and they do not do it because they love cows! They do it for the money and most of them don’t give a damn about the animals. I think by now most people know the fate of male calves. Most of them don’t live beyond a couple of weeks at most. They are shot or sent to slaughter because dairy cattle are not beef cattle! Why does Cadbury pay Prince Charles’s marksmen to shoot their male calves. Why was there a news feature on TV recently with farmers explaining why they need to shoot the male dairy calves? And that’s not even scratching the surface of this vile and cruel industry.

    Stop with the lies and BS ‘Dairy Guy’!

    • Dairy farmers do love animals. Working with animals is hard work and there is little money in it. Much easier to do something else in life. It is passion that motivates most dairy farmers. The male calves can be used for beef and they are raised until they are full grown. You’ve clearly been reading sensationalist vegan propaganda rather than discussing with real life farmers.

  20. BB This has been interesting. I can see the ones who believe in our creator and who co not. Let me share with you my studies. You say meat was allowed after Noah and the flood. Not entirely correct. In Gen God did put Adam and Eve in the garden and gave them fruit and veggies to eat. BUT when they ate the wrong one, what did He do? He make a sacrifice of an animal and made them clothes. Of what? Animal skin, the animal was sacrificed fir the sin. We know that most of the time only the fat was sacrificed and the rest was eaten. Here the animal was eaten as a feast unto the Lord God.
    Look too at the sacrifice of Cain and Able. Able’s was a lamb or meat sacrifice and Cain’ was of the rruit of the land. Able’s was accepted and Cans was not.
    God accepted sheep, goat, oxen, and grain offerings later in the laws of Moses.
    So my conclusion is that do what ever you chose now God is ok with either. The only thing He says in Romans is do not use things that are sacrificed to idols as praise to Him.

    • Interesting points, yes I think if God thought eating meat was a sin, he would have just came out and said so- somewhere anywhere in the Bible.

      Also many of the character in the Bible were herdsmen tending herds and flocks.

  21. This may be true for the “family farms”, but what about “milk factories” run by corporations?

    • 99% of dairy farms in CA are family owned and operated and the USDA found that 98% of dairy farms are family owned and operated in the U.S. Check out my post about factory farms

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