One of the most well-known and widely-discussed arguments for veganism is the horrific treatment the animals have to endure, every day. The facts are rough, and the videos are heart-breaking, but without this information to hand it is so hard to convince people to make that change.
Well, I’ve waded through the facts and the figures (and the footage) to bring you the Welfare Archive. Here you’ll find everything documented and annotated. Incidentally, this is the hardest part of doing Keeper Vegan, and if you want to support me in having to go through this stuff day in and day out, $1 on Patreon would make all the difference.
To make things easier, I have listed a bunch of quotes from these sources, and some I’ve highlighted like this so you can pick them out quickly.
‘Our Food Our Future‘, by Earthsave International
This leaflet showcases a number of facts, and quite succinctly sums the argument for going vegan.
“Length of time that baby calves will suckle from their mother in a natural situation: 8 months”
“Age at which US dairy calves are routinely taken from mothers: Less than 24 hours”
“U.S. dairy calves taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth: 90%”
“The way veal calves are raised: in a dark stall, separated from their mothers, unable to see light, often unable to lie down, for their entire lives”
“Percentage of commercial laying hens that spend their entire lives in wire cages, with seven or eight of them typically crammed into an 18 by 20 inch cage: 99%”
“U.S. broiler chickens killed in 2004: more than 9 billion”
“Pigs are much smarter than dogs and even play video games better than some primates”
“U.S. pigs raised for meat: 90 million”
“U.S. pigs raised in total confinement factories where they never see the light of day until being trucked to slaughter: 65 million”
“U.S. pigs that have pneumonia at time of slaughter: 70%”
“Amount of veterinary care a farmed pig receives every 4 months: about 12 Minutes”
‘The Case Against the Veal Crate‘, by Carol McKenna
Compassion in World Farming, 2001
This report, looking to suggest alternatives to veal crates, lays out a number of the issues with the use of these barbaric rearing methods.
“Veal is the name of the light-coloured meat from young calves, produced since ancient times by using surplus cow’s milk to rear a fattened calf for special occasions”
“Calves began to be confined individually in rows inside farm buildings and fed on an all-liquid diet of milk replacer, severely restricted in iron to ensure white meat and denied the solid feed necessary for normal development”
“Partial stalls (open at the rear) in which the calf is tethered by the neck to the front of the stall and secondly, enclosed boxes, sometimes called pens, in which the calf is confined but not tethered. However, some producers may tether calves in these for the first few weeks in order to prevent them turning around. After about two weeks they would have difficulty doing so because of their size”
“Since 1998 EU welfare legislation has made it illegal to build or rebuild a veal crate unit and has required farmers to provide calves with a diet “adapted to their age, weight and behavioural and physiological needs, to promote good health and welfare”.viii They therefore receive a minimum daily ration of fibrous food containing a certain amount of iron. ix. This legislation, the 1997 Directive laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves, will ban the use of all veal crates from 31 December 2006”
“Most calves reared in veal crate systems are denied access to any solid feed and are fed a liquid milk replacer – a mixture of milk, tallow and vegetable fats and other types of proteins from cereal, vegetable or fish sources. this “completely distorts the normal development of the rumen” and predisposes the calf “to infectious enteritis” (scouring or diarrhoea) and “chronic indigestion””
“Calves whose rumen does not develop normally are more likely to be found to have hairballs in the rumen at slaughter. One reason given by the SVC for this is that hair that is ingested is not passed on down the gut but remains in the rumen. A further reason may be that calves denied solid food show more preference for self-licking and hair ingestion”
“Over 60 per cent of calves reared for veal slaughtered at 3 – 4 months of age show lesions, small ulcerations and erosions, of the abomasum.”
“A young calf may spend up to 80 per cent of its time lying down. Ethological studies have been carried out into the lying postures of calves to assess the space they need in order to adopt normal resting and sleeping postures and stand up and lie down normally”
“Calves need to exercise in order to ensure normal bone and muscle development. At pasture calves not only walk but also run about, jump and play. Calves confined in veal crates cannot turn around let alone walk or run”
“A calf’s first instinct is to seek its mother. They soon form a strong bond. Le Neindre (1993) states that in natural conditions a cow would continue to suckle its calf 3 – 6 times a day for up to 5 months. Comparison of mothered and motherless calves reveals that mothered calves stand earlier, drink more colostrum and are more active”
“The incidence of enteric and respiratory diseases is unacceptably high in calves kept in crates” and “is often kept under control only by liberal and repeated administration of antibiotics”
‘Mastitis in Dairy Cows‘, by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
The AHDB is a not-for-profit that helps the UK dairy industry grow. Here, they talk about what mastitis is, and how it sucks for dairy farmers. Poor dairy farmers.
“Mastitis is most often transmitted by contact with the milking machine, and through contaminated hands or other materials, in housing, bedding and other equipment”
“Mastitis treatment and control is one of the largest costs to the dairy industry in the UK, and is also a significant factor in dairy cow welfare. Losses arise from: Milk thrown away due to contamination by medication or being unfit to drink. A reduction in yields due to illness and any permanent damage to udder tissue. The extra labour required to tend to mastitic cows. The costs of veterinary care and medicines. The cost of reduced longevity due to premature culling.”
‘What the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know’ by Neal Barnard MD
Dr Barnard talks in depth about dairy, and its profound (negative) effects on the human body.
‘The calf goes into a wheel barrow, if male it will be veal, if female she will go to a hutch to grow big enough to inseminate. They are chained by the neck and inseminated non-stop so they are always pregnant, until the age of four when they are past their prime. They will then be replaced by a younger cow’
‘Strange noises coming from the High Road near Sunshine Dairy Farm one night prompted local police to inform residents that there is nothing scary going on, the the noises are coming from mother cows who are lamenting the separation of their babies. If you go to a dairy farm, you will see the mother licking the calf, the farmer will stop this and the mother will try to follow. The farmer always wins and the cow cries out. They call it a reflex’
‘There is no greater bond than between mother and baby as that’s how the species survives.’
‘The females are then dehorned to avoid farmers getting hurt, without anaesthesia. This is called dis-budding when they are young enough’
‘In May 2015, 214000 dairy cows were sent to slaughter’
‘Understanding the Basics of Mastitis’, by Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia Cooperative Extension
This VCE article looks at what bovine mastitis actually is, and the effects it has on the industry.
“Mastitis occurs when the udder becomes inflamed because leukocytes are released into the mammary gland in response to invasion of the teat canal, usually by bacteria. These bacteria multiply and produce toxins that cause injury to milk secreting tissue and various ducts throughout the mammary gland. Elevated leukocytes, or somatic cells, cause a reduction in milk production and alter milk composition”
“The teat end serves as the body’s first line of defense against infection. A smooth muscled sphincter, which surrounds the teat canal, functions to keep the teat canal closed, prevent milk from escaping, and prevents bacteria from entering the teat. The cells lining the teat canal produce keratin, a fibrous protein with lipid components (long chain fatty acids) that have bacteriostatic properties. This keratin forms a barrier against bacteria. During milking, bacteria may be present near the opening of the teat canal, either through dirty and wet conditions at the teat end, through teat end lesions or colonization, on contaminated surfaces of milking units (liners or claws), or cow prep procedures. Trauma to the teat renders it more susceptible to bacterial invasion, colonization, and infection because of damage to keratin or mucous membranes lining the teat sinus. The canal of a damaged teat may remain partially open. Conditions which contribute to trauma include: incorrect use of udder washes or cleaning compounds, wet teats, improper mixing or freezing of teat dips, frostbite, failure to prep cows or pre-milking stimulation for milk ejection, overmilking, and insertion of mastitis tubes or teat cannulae. Conditions that are associated with high impact force against the teat end propel bacteria through healthy teat ends. This includes liner slips caused by excessive temporary vacuum losses, low vacuum reserve or level, and abrupt milking unit removal without shutting off vacuum, as well as vacuum fluctuations caused by inefficient vacuum regulation, blocked air vents, restrictions in the short milk tube, poor cluster alignment, or poor liner condition. After milking, the sphincter muscle in the teat canal remains dilated for 1-2 hours and bacteria present during this time can enter the teat canal. Examples would be dirty housing or environment, or failure to use teat dipping properly.”
“An inflammatory response is initiated when bacteria enter the mammary gland and this is the body’s second line of defense. These bacteria multiply and produce toxins, enzymes, and cell-wall components which stimulate the production of numerous mediators of inflammation by inflammatory cells”
“Contagious mastitis pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae) are spread from infected udders to “clean” udders during the milking process through contaminated teatcup liners, milkers’ hands, paper or cloth towels used to wash or dry more than one cow, and possibly by flies”
“Sixty to 70% of environmental pathogen infections exist for less than 30 days and are not easily detected”
“Mastitis costs the U.S. dairy industry about $1.7-2 billion annually or 11% of total U.S. milk production. Much of this cost is attributed to reduced milk production, discarded milk, and replacements which are estimated at $102, $24, and $33 per cow per year”
‘But fish don’t feel pain…’ by Veganuary
This myth-busting article from Veganuary deals with the common misconception that fish don’t feel pain.
“[Fish] have pain receptors”
“They produce substances known as enkephalins that mediate pain in the same way that they do in vertebrates”
“Aquatic species have an aversion to noxious substances”
“Scientists also found that crabs will trade a great hiding place for a mild electric shock but abandon it for an inferior place should the shock be increased”
“Like us when we bang a limb and rub the affected area, prawns rub their antennae when they have been pinched with forceps”
“Since no one knows for sure if anyone other than themselves can feel pain in the same way they do, scientists rely on these two criteria to determine whether fish can feel pain. The answer to ‘do they have the necessary equipment to do so?’ is ‘yes’, and the answer to ‘does their behaviour suggest they do?’ is ‘yes’ again”
“Farmed fish have very few legal protections and wild-caught fish have none at all”
“Billions of these sentient beings are hauled out of the water and left to asphyxiate in the air, or are crushed under tonnes of their shoal mates”
“If welfare regulations relating to the treatment of wild-caught fish were introduced, the trade would end overnight because there is no humane way to catch and ‘dispatch’ that number of fish”
“Shrimps and prawns, for example, are deliberately blinded because those reared in captivity often aren’t able to reproduce, and having their eyestalks cut off triggers the maturing of their ovaries. Eyestalk ablation, as it is called, has been labelled ‘cruel’ and ‘traumatic’ by numerous scientists but it won’t stop – it is an intrinsic part of shrimp farming and more than half of all shrimps consumed globally are farmed”
‘Animal Models of Alzheimer Disease:
Historical Pitfalls and a Path Forward’ by Sarah E. Cavanaugh, John J. Pippin and Neal D. Barnard
This really interesting document written up by the PCRM outlines methods for moving away from animal testing to make Alzheimer’s research more beneficial. I’m not going to write up and quotes, but if you have some time to go through it, it’s well worth a read.
‘Animal Welfare Act 2006’
This is the UK’s most recent legislation on Animal Welfare. You’ll note that every single reference to offences would make any one involved in the meat and dairy industries criminals, but for a single sentence – ‘Nothing in this section applies to the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner’ We know what they mean by this, but that doesn’t make it not horse-shit.
“In this Act, except [where scientific proof that the animal concern can feel pain and suffering is available], “animal” means a vertebrate other than man”
“An animal is a “protected animal” for the purposes of this Act if— (a) it is of a kind which is commonly domesticated in the British Islands, (b) it is under the control of man whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or (c) it is not living in a wild state”
“4 Unnecessary suffering A person commits an offence if— (a) an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer, (b) he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so, (c) the animal is a protected animal, and (d) the suffering is unnecessary”
“A person commits an offence if— (a) he is responsible for an animal, (b) an act, or failure to act, of another person causes the animal to suffer, (c) he permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening, and (d) the suffering is unnecessary”
“Nothing in this section applies to the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner”
“5 Mutilation (1) A person commits an offence if— (a) he carries out a prohibited procedure on a protected animal; (b) he causes such a procedure to be carried out on such an animal”
“A person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice. (2) For the purposes of this Act, an animal’s needs shall be taken to include— (a) its need for a suitable environment, (b) its need for a suitable diet, (c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, (d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and (e) its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.”
‘Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes’
These are the supplementary recommendations for breeding birds for ‘game’ purposes.
“Gamebirds should not be handled more than is strictly necessary; they are nondomesticated species and therefore may be more prone to stress than domesticated farmed poultry”
“Expert advice should be sought from veterinary surgeons and other suitably qualified advisers whenever necessary”
“All gamebirds must have access to adequate supplies of clean, fresh drinking water at all times, unless advised otherwise by a veterinary surgeon”
“All captive birds must be provided with a nutritionally balanced diet. Feed should always be of the correct particle size and type appropriate to the age and species, to maintain them in good health and to satisfy their nutritional and foraging needs”
“The use of management devices or practices that do not allow birds to fully express their range of normal behaviours should not be considered as routine and keepers should work towards the ideal of management systems that do not require these devices. Such devices and practices include mutilations such as beak trimming, procedures to prevent or limit flight such as brailing (placing a band on a wing to prevent extension of the wing), trimming of non-sensitive flight feathers and the use of bits, spectacles and hoods to prevent feather pecking, egg eating or aggression”
“Beak trimming should not be practised in gamebirds except in circumstances where there is an overwhelming need to protect the welfare of the birds”
“Outer primary feathers may be clipped to restrict flight but trimming growing feathers (“blood quills”) must be avoided if it constitutes interference with a sensitive tissue and would, therefore, be a mutilation”
“Brailing one wing to restrict flight should only be done with extreme care by a skilled operator or under his supervision and brails should be of the correct size for the birds concerned”
“Housing should be capable of being maintained in a clean and hygienic condition to avoid the risk of disease transfer. For temporary housing, clean ground and a location away from poultry or livestock should be selected and both housing and equipment used should be kept in good repair to avoid injury, escape and predation”
“Release pens should be well prepared prior to the arrival of the birds, by ensuring they are of sufficient size, provide shelter and have adequate feeders and drinkers of a type familiar to the birds available on site. The siting of release pens should take into consideration the need to minimise the risk of subsequent harm or injury, for example by predators or vehicles”
‘2007 No. 2078 ANIMALS, ENGLAND – ANIMAL WELFARE’
These are the rules and regs for farming animals in the UK
“These Regulations apply to farmed animals only. (2) In these Regulations, a “farmed animal” means an animal bred or kept for the production of food, wool or skin or other farming purposes, but not including— (a) a fish, reptile or amphibian; (b) an animal whilst at, or solely intended for use in, a competition, show or cultural or sporting event or activity; (c) an experimental or laboratory animal; or (d) an animal living in the wild”
“All non-cage systems of production for keeping laying hens must comply with the requirements of this Schedule. 2. All systems must be equipped in such a way that all laying hens have— (a) linear feeders providing at least 10cm per bird or circular feeders providing at least 4cm per bird; (b) continuous drinking troughs providing at least 2.5 cm per hen or circular drinking troughs providing at least 1 cm per hen; (c) at least one nest for every seven hens and, if group nests are used, there must be at least 1 m² of nest space for a maximum of 120 hens; (d) perches without sharp edges and providing at least 15 cm per hen, which must not be mounted above the litter, and the horizontal distance between perches must be at least 30 cm and the horizontal distance between the perch and the wall must be at least 20 cm; and (e) at least 250 cm² of littered area per hen, the litter occupying at least one third of the ground surface”
“Subject to paragraph (9), the stocking density must not exceed nine laying hens per m² of usable area.”
“[In Schedule 3] Cage systems must have at least 550 cm² per hen of cage area, measured in a horizontal plane, which may be used without restriction, in particular not including non-waste deflection plates liable to restrict the area available unless they are placed so as not to restrict the area available for the hens to use”
“[In Schedule 3] Cages must be at least 40 cm high over at least 65% of the cage area and not less than 35 cm at any point, the area being obtained by multiplying 550 cm² by the number of birds kept in the cage”
“[In Schedule 3] Cages must be fitted with suitable claw-shortening devices”
“[In Schedule 4] Laying hens must have— (a) at least 750 cm² of cage area per hen, 600 cm² of which must be usable; the height of the cage other than that above the usable area must be at least 20 cm at every point and the minimum total area for any cage must be 2000 cm²; (b) access to a nest; (c) litter such that pecking and scratching are possible; and (d) appropriate perches allowing at least 15 cm per hen”
“The width of any individual stall or pen for a calf must be at least equal to the height of the calf at the withers, measured in the standing position, and the length must be at least equal to the body length of the calf, measured from the tip of the nose to the caudal edge of the tuber ishii (pin bones), multiplied by 1.1”
“For calves kept in groups, the unobstructed space allowance available to each calf must be— (a) at least 1.5 m² for each calf with a live weight of less than 150 kg; (b) at least 2 m² for each calf with a live weight of 150 kg or more but less than 200 kg; and (c) at least 3 m² for each calf with a live weight of 200 kg or more”
“The dimensions of any stall or pen used for holding individual pigs must be such that the internal area is not less than the square of the length of the pig, and no internal side is less than 75% of the length of the pig, the length of the pig in each case being measured from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail while it is standing with its back straight”
“Farrowing 23. Pregnant sows and gilts must be thoroughly cleaned before being placed in farrowing crates. 24. In the week before the expected farrowing time, sows and gilts must be given suitable nesting material in sufficient quantity unless it is not technically feasible for the slurry system used. 25. During farrowing, an unobstructed area behind the sow or gilt must be available for the ease of natural or assisted farrowing. 26. Farrowing pens where sows or gilts are kept loose must have some means of protecting the piglets, such as farrowing rails”
‘The Therapeutic Efficacy of Allyl Isothiocyanate in Cows with Bovine Digital Dermatitis’ by Kanako CHIBA, Tamako MIYAZAKI, Yasushi SEKIYAMA, Masao MIYAZAKI and Keiji OKADA
The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 2017
This study looks at bovine digital dermatitis, a painful condition common in cows held captive for their milk, and how to treat it without using antibiotics, which get in the way of them making money.
“Bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) is an important infectious foot disease of cattle; this illness affects the skin above the coronary band between the heel bulbs of the feet, resulting in lameness”
“Because the prevalence and recurrence rates of BDD are high among cows, BDD not only decreases animal welfare but also causes serious economic losses for the dairy industry due to a reduced milk yield and low reproductive efficiency”
“The same veterinarian (K.O.) evaluated the lameness, which was scored according to Sprecher’s locomotion score as follows: Score 1, the cow walked normally with her back flat and without any sign of lameness, uneven gait, or head bobbing; Score 2, the cow exhibited mild lameness with a slightly arched back while only walking; Score 3, the cow showed moderate lameness with the back arched during standing and during walking; Score 4, the cow was obviously lame, with the back arched at all times during both standing and 9 walking, and the head bobbed during walking; and Score 5, the cow was severely lame and unable to bear its weight on the affected leg”
“Disinfectants such as calcium hydroxide and chlorine, which 209 are popular disinfectants among dairy farms, may be insufficient for removing Treponema species from heavily contaminated solutions, such as slurry”
‘Clinical trial of local anesthetic protocols for acute pain associated with caustic paste disbudding in dairy calves’ by Winder CB, LeBlanc SJ, Haley DB, Lissemore KD, Godkin MA and Duffield TF.
This study looks at ‘minimising the pain’ of dairy cows when they are disbudded – when their developing horns are gouged out. Not really interested in their results here – this just serves to underline the callous and unfeeling attitude of the industry to the animals in their charge.
‘ASA Ruling on Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary t/a Go Vegan World’ by Advertising Standards Authority
This is the ASA’s statement on their Go Vegan World ruling. This decision was important because complaints from people with connections to the dairy industry were rejected on the basis that the evidence points to milk being inhumane.
“Seven complainants, some of whom had experience of working in the dairy industry, and who believed that the ad did not accurately describe the way that dairy cattle were generally treated in the UK, challenged whether the claim “Humane milk is a myth” and the accompanying claims “The mothers, still bloody from birth” and “their daughters, fresh from their mothers’ wombs but separated from them” were misleading and could be substantiated”
Also check out GVW’s statement on the ruling; https://goveganworld.com/landmark-judgement-animal-rights/