Practical Issues > Factory Farming > Cows
Separating a Cow from Her BFF Makes Her MOOdy

"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 'Pooh!' he whispered. 'Yes, Piglet?' 'Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. 'I just wanted to be sure of you.' - A.A. Milne

Guess what? Cows have feelings too. A revelation for those who maintain lifestyles which always end in a tragic and horrific death for each gentle dairy cow. Cows do not eagerly give up their filets. Neither do pigs nor goats. Drink their milk or clutch your knives and eat their bacon, and you are responsible for their painful deaths.

A Northhampton, England graduate student has discovered that dairy cows form relationships with other cows when out to pasture, and suffer stress when separated from their best friends. Krista McLennan's dissertation:

"Social Bonds in Dairy Cattle: the effects of dynamic group systems on welfare and productivity."

Cows have BFF's too. (Best Friends Forever.)

McLennan observed that cows often paired off with the same partner while grazing. She monitored their heart rates every fifteen seconds, and when BFF cows were separated, they suffered stress. Stressed cows traditionally give less milk.

The point of this all is that cows are sentient creatures. They have feelings and emotions and know both physical and emotional pain.

There are many cultures and societies on this diverse planet of ours which worship bovine-like creatures as deities. Is there balance in the universe, and would it be right for any one creature to cause so much pain to another? A simple slight such as separating one BFF from another is one in which anguish is created. The feelings might even be more intense when a mother is separated from her newborn calf, which is the rule and not the exception on dairy farms.

Such cultures practice "harmlessness" as their central tenet.

The hurt we give to one race of creatures for our nourishment becomes their holocaust. Multiply that affront by ten billion, for that is the number of farm animals who will die by a knife to the throat in America this year.

When so many food alternatives now exist to feed one's appetite, how can any man of wisdom and ethic and compassion continue to be a part of this death and abuse chain?

Let BFFs continue to be just that.

Robert Cohen

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