Canadian dairy propaganda is everywhere. It’s on buses, billboards, TV, TikTok, and even on jerseys of the Toronto Maple Leafs. While Canada’s dairy industry tries to paint a pretty picture of how cows are treated, it has a dirty secret.
On dairy farms, cows are artificially inseminated so that they will give birth and begin lactating. When the calves are born, they are torn from their mothers’ side, never to see each other again.
Mother cow and calf separation is standard practice in the dairy industry, so cows’ milk can be turned into products and sold in supermarkets. This causes tremendous distress for mother cows and their babies, who form extremely strong bonds, just like humans do.
Farmers admit that cows have been known to cry out for days in despair after their calves are taken away. Neighbours have even been known to report the cries of mother cows to police, concerned that something was wrong. Male calves are useless to the dairy industry, so a male calf may either be shot, or sold to the veal industry. Female calves will often stay on the farm, and be used to produce dairy once they’re old enough, enduring the same heartbreaking cycle of cruelty as their moms.
After only a few years, cows used for dairy are so depleted that their productivity declines, and they are shipped to slaughter—often while experiencing painful conditions that make transport even more agonizing. In Canada, these cows are often shipped long distances from auctions before being violently killed in slaughterhouses and turned into hamburgers.
Hidden Abuse in Canada’s Dairy Industry
Canada’s dairy industry has a hefty marketing budget and deep ties with politicians. A former Canadian finance minister once famously compared the Canadian dairy industry’s tactics to that of the U.S. gun lobby. Dairy Farmers of Canada reported an $80 million annual marketing budget and has invested up to $120 million in lobbying Parliament. It’s no wonder the industry is considered one of the most powerful lobby groups in Ottawa. It receives billions of dollars in subsidies and benefits from a complete lack of federal farmed animal welfare laws or oversight on dairy farms.
In 2021, Animal Justice released a shocking undercover exposé at Cedar Valley, an organic dairy farm in British Columbia. The footage shows workers beating cows with wrenches and pitchforks, newborn calves taken from their mothers and violently tossed into wheelbarrows, and botched euthanasia attempts. In 2014, Mercy For Animals released an exposé revealing sadistic abuse to cows which led to animal cruelty convictions, jail time, and fines for the company and workers.
Ag Gag Laws Cover Up Cruelty
In recent years, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and PEI have passed agricultural gag, a.k.a. “ag gag” laws that make it illegal to expose animal abuse in the dairy, meat, and egg industries. Ag gag laws prevent concerned citizens from going undercover to blow the whistle on illegal cruelty in farms, transport, and in slaughterhouses.
Animal Justice is currently suing Ontario over its ag gag law, and is mobilizing Canadians to stop a new federal ag gag bill from passing. Join us in speaking up against ag gag laws and demand stronger laws to protect farmed animals.
Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media