6 min read

Baby Cows Are Torn From Their Moms, And Everyone's Lying About Why

It's not only healthy to separate mother cows and their babies, but it would be cruel and dangerous not to.

That's one of the bogus claims from an outrageous new ad campaign called The Udder Truth, which is paid for by a coalition of dairy companies.

The campaign comes in a time of desperation for the dairy industry. Sales have faced years of steady decline and, recently, leaked footage has documented cruel and abusive treatment of farm animals at major suppliers.

In this video from The Udder Truth, a dairy farmer makes the claim that separating calves from their mothers isn't just good for farmers: It's also good for the animals' health and safety.

"Crazy," Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, told The Dodo. "Agribusiness rationalizes its behavior and mistreats animals, then tries to spin it as if it's for the animals' own good."

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Over the past three decades, Baur himself has gone undercover to document such inhumane conditions. While such outrageous cruelty certainly isn't present in every situation, the practice of separating calves from their mothers is more or less an industry-wide standard.

"The idea of taking babies for their mothers for their own good is completely bogus," Baur said. "These calves nurse on their mothers. They have a strong maternal instinct. Tearing them apart is stressful for both the mothers and calves."

Baur spent a few minutes with The Dodo to talk about the absurdity in The Udder Truth's claims.

"With those kinds of animals in the same kinds of space, you can imagine there might be some danger of collisions." (The Udder Truth)

Baur responded to the campaign's claim that the calves are in physical danger when in the presence of their mothers. "I have not seen it happen, and I spend a lot of time on dairy farms," he explains.

Even if the calves were in danger, it wouldn't be because they were with their mothers, according to Baur. It's because farmers insist on keeping the animals confined to such small spaces.

"They want to control every aspect of the animals' lives. They want to prevent them from moving very much," Baur said. "It just makes the industry's job easier."

Bauer added that by keeping the animals under such confinement, the farmers cause the animals' health to decline.

The side effects of confinement

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"When you have cows in pens that are too small and you have calves who may have difficulty walking, because many dairy cows are lame and weak," Baur said, "they don't have as much control of their bodies as they would if they were in an outdoor pasture."

But Baur has hope for the future of these animals. He believes the public has been paying more attention to these cruel practices.

"The fact that this industry has put this [campaign] together is an indication that people have grown more aware that the industry is causing harm to the animals and it needs to defend its practices," he said.

Learn more about the work being done by Baur and the rest of the people at Farm Sanctuary to help farm animals everywhere.

Below, watch a mother and her calf who, after being tragically split apart, have a joyous reunion.