In a heartbreaking video posted on Facebook by Glass Walls, young children are seen giving milk rations to dairy calves. The calves are locked in tiny crates, devoid of anything that is natural to them. What’s worse, the children in the video seem completely desensitized to the horrific practice.

The dairy industry is often seen as the lesser of evils, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In order for a female cow to produce milk, she has to have recently given birth. In nature, the milk produced by the mother would go to feed her baby, but in the dairy industry this milk is diverted to humans and the baby seems to disappear from the equation.

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In the U.S. alone, dairy farms produce about 196 billion gallons of milk a year. To reach these high yields, the dairy industry has transformed into an industrial operation where cows are kept in small, confined areas, continuously impregnated and milked. Today’s factory-farm raised dairy cow produces around 100 gallons of milk a day – that is nearly 10 times more than the average cow would naturally.

Most cows in the dairy industry are sent to slaughter by the age of five years old (their natural lifespan is 25 years old), either because their milk production has slowed down or because they are too ill to be productive. Around 40 percent of cows will be lame by the time they reach slaughter. These cows are typically used to make low-grade beef, pet food, or soup. As to the calves, they are raised in plastic hutches like these and either sent to the meat industry, males to become veal and killed at a young age, and females sent to replace their mothers.

Cows are sentient, intelligent and emotional beings that experience pain and fear in life in a similar manner to humans. The life of a calf in the dairy industry is vastly different from that of a cow who is allowed to experience life as nature intended. We have genetically manipulated and manufactured the life of a dairy cow for our own gains and when you look at the sad product, it seems this industry is hardly free from the cruelty associated with meat production.

Lucky for us, there is no reason that we can’t remove our own contribution to this cruelty. Although the dairy industry tells you that humans need cows milk for calcium, this is hardly the case. Check out these awesome non-dairy sources of calcium and share this video to inspire others to think about their food choices.

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