In order for a cow to produce milk, she must have a calf. “Dairy” cows are impregnated every year in order to keep up a steady supply of milk. In the natural order of things, the cow’s calf would drink her milk (eliminating her need to milked by humans). But dairy cows’ babies are taken away within a day or two of birth so that humans can have the milk that nature intended for their calves. Female dairy calves may be slaughtered immediately or raised to be future dairy cows. Male dairy calves are confined for 16 weeks to tiny veal crates too small for them even to turn around in so that their flesh, sold as veal, will be atrophied and nonmuscular. Then these weak, 4-month-old youngsters are sent to the slaughterhouse.
The current high demand for dairy products requires that cows be pushed far beyond their natural physical limits, genetically engineered and fed growth hormones in order to produce huge quantities of milk. Even the few farmers who choose not to raise animals intensively must both eliminate the calf (who would otherwise drink the milk) and send the mother to an early death when her milk production wanes.