New Dairy Investigation: Babies Scream After Separation from Mothers

A brave Mercy For Animals investigator recently went undercover at an 8,000-cow dairy farm in Brazil. The newly released footage reveals cows violently kicked and punched, newborn babies separated from their mothers, and cows suffering from larvae infestations.

Pregnancy and Birth

Like humans and other mammals, cows must first give birth to produce milk. The video shows a worker artificially inseminating a cow by sticking his entire arm inside her—without any anesthesia. This is standard practice in dairy farms around the world. 

Stealing baby calves away from their mothers minutes to days after birth is also routine. Our investigation shows newborn babies, still wet from birth, roughly carried away from their mothers and tossed into pens. One calf struggles to stand on fragile legs, the umbilical cord still hanging. The male calves are sold for veal, while the females are forced to live alone in cramped spaces. Our investigator said:

Of all the terrible scenes I witnessed, the most impactful were the separation of the mothers and the calves. Soon after they were born, they were carried and thrown as if they were objects inside small containers. Afterwards, the females were taken to an area where dozens of frightened newborn calves were confined. They were isolated from each other and screamed all the time. I think they were calling for their mothers.

But not all mother cows are separated from their babies—the farm’s veterinarian told our investigator about one cow who was painfully killed in the night by an injection of formaldehyde after enduring a six-hour failed delivery. According to the veterinarian, the cow “got up in terror and struggled violently until she dropped dead.”

Living Conditions

Our new footage shows the abysmal living conditions at the dairy farm, including cows struggling to keep their balance on floors slick with feces and standing water. A loose cow falls into an open-air manure tank. Employees dragged the visibly desperate cow out with a tractor and left her covered in urine and feces. The footage also reveals cows being punched and kicked during milking entry and exit, as well as hit with pocket knives, scissors, broom handles, and metal bars.

Physical Afflictions

Many cows suffered painful afflictions, such as lesions on their tails, lameness, and larvae infestations. The new footage documents blood running down a cow’s leg as she is milked. In another scene, our investigator reveals that a cow’s udder is covered in pus. This is likely the result of mastitis, inflammation of the udder tissue caused by physical trauma or infection.

It’s time to stop the dairy industry’s cycle of abuse. Stand up for cows today by choosing dairy-free foods and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Download our free How to Eat Veg guide to get started.