people are surprised to learn that nearly all cows used for milk are born with
tissue that will develop into horns. That's because most farmers remove the
sensitive horn tissue or the horns themselves from the cows' skulls using searing-hot
irons, caustic chemicals, blades, or hand saws.
violently and have to be restrained manually or in a head bail (a metal apparatus for restraining a cow by the neck) during
the painful dehorning process, which is frequently performed without anesthetics
or painkillers and results in severe pain that lasts for hours and can become
This procedure is extremely traumatic to young calves, who are often
just a few weeks old when their horn buds are burned or cut out of their heads.
Older cows fare even worse. Dehorning in mature cattle usually requires
amputation of the horn, which has already attached itself to the skull. Tools used
for this procedure include saws, sharp wires, or gruesome guillotine dehorners, which also slice off the surrounding skin. Horn removal in older animals can
lead to post-operative problems of hemorrhage, tissue necrosis, bone fracture,
sinusitis, and even death. The wound caused by this amputation can take three months
or more to heal.
Farmers are fully aware that dehorning is
painful, and it is up to the industry to phase out this excruciating mutilation.
One simple solution is to breed for naturally hornless cows. A single gene
determines whether or not a cow will have horns, and this approach has proved
effective in the beef industry.
However, the easiest and most effective way for
consumers to save cows from the misery of factory farms is to stop buying cow's
milk and other dairy products and choose instead from the dozens of vegan
milks, cheeses, yogurts, coffee creamers, and ice creams available in grocery
stores. Browse PETA's website for hundreds of free vegan recipes, and pledge to
be vegan today!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.