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8 Photos That Show You Where Cheese Comes From

1. 

This photo shows the deplorable conditions in which cows on dairy farms are forced to live. Puddles of waste cover the floors and often run off into local streams and waterways, polluting nearly one-third of rivers in the U.S.

2. 

In order for cows to produce milk, they must be pregnant or have recently given birth. This photo shows a cow enduring artificial insemination. This is a highly invasive and stressful procedure that is repeated approximately every 12 months. Cows used for dairy are kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy, birth, and lactation.

3. 

This image shows a cow getting her tail docked. Outlawed in a few states, this relatively common practice involves cutting through the sensitive skin, nerves, and bones of calves’ tails usually without any painkillers. 

4. 

Here you can see this cow’s painfully infected udder. Subjected to intensive genetic manipulation, cows produce abnormally large quantities of milk. This unnatural production, combined with the physical damage inflicted by the milking equipment, contributes to severe udder inflammation, or mastitis, often due to infection.

5. 

In this image you can see a newborn calf being taken away from his mother. This happens within hours of birth. After forcible separation from their calves, cows often bellow for hours or even days, pacing and searching for them.

6. 

This male calf was just born. Unfortunately, he’ll be taken away almost immediately and sent to a veal farm. Because male calves don’t produce milk, they’re of no use to dairy farms. Veal is a direct by-product of the dairy industry.

7. 

This poor cow is considered “spent. She is physically exhausted and can no longer produce milk. Because she is unable to walk, she is being dragged to a transport truck bound for slaughter. The average lifespan of a cow used for dairy is only four years. A cow’s natural lifespan can be as long as 25 years.

8. 

This cow is being dehorned. Dehorning is when farmers burn or saw off the horns of cattle. This cruel practice often leads to infection and is usually carried out without anesthetics. 

While these images are difficult to look at, there is good news. Consumers are withdrawing their financial support of this cruel industry and dairy consumption is on the decline. You, too, can help these innocent animals by choosing plant-based foods.

Click here for our definitive guide to vegan cheeses.