Language is awesome. You read that correctly. It's awesome! Because of language, we enjoy our favorite novels, share memorable stories with friends, and connect with family members near and far. Without language, I wouldn't be able to share my message with all of you right now. Awesome, right? Yet, rarely do we give it much thought. We misuse it constantly and toss about words and phrases, often with untended consequences. To misuse language seems harmless to most, but doing so can cause significant harm, and while it can cause harm to anyone or anything, non-human animals are often hurt the worst by our poor choice of words.
Let's consider the use of the term "dairy cow." The word "dairy" leads us to believe that cows are magic milk-making machines - constantly producing milk for humans to drink and turn into products like cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Not so. Cows, just like every other mammal (humans included), only produce milk for their babies. A "dairy cow" is a cow who is in a constant state of impregnation and birth. A "dairy cow" is a cow who has her baby ripped away moments after birth. There is no such thing as a "dairy cow," just a mother cow.