More Cows from American Dairies Are Being Slaughtered for Hamburgers

As the COVID-19 pandemic causes a decline in demand for milk and a rise in demand for cheap beef, more cows from U.S. dairy farms are being slaughtered for hamburgers.

Restaurant and school closures have resulted in a surplus of milk, much of which is dumped. To deal with this overproduction, American dairies could end up reducing the number of cows in their herds by the thousands, Bloomberg reports. According to financial services company INTL FCStone, in the past month the number of cows sent to slaughter has risen 2.3 percent. This is in spite of slaughterhouse shutdowns across the country due to unsafe working conditions and mass on-farm killing of animals.

While it’s heartbreaking to think of so many cows sent to their deaths, this has always been the fate of cows used for dairy. They are typically sent to slaughter at less than five years of age—a quarter of their natural life span.

During these five years, a cow will be forcibly impregnated four times, have her babies stolen from her shortly after birth, suffer numerous painful procedures, and produce nearly 10,000 gallons of milk for human consumption.

Many cows are sent to slaughter even earlier if their milk production drops, they are sick or injured, or they otherwise become a financial burden. The dairy industry also directly supports the veal industry, as most male calves born at dairy farms are sold for beef and slaughtered when they are less than a year old.

But people have been learning more and more about the cruelty of dairy. And the industry has been facing tough competition from the growing varieties of delicious plant-based milk. In fact, even before COVID-19, dairy was going through a decades-long decline. In Wisconsin, for instance, falling dairy sales and low milk prices have led to bankruptcies, with dairy farmers leaving the industry at a rate of three a day.

With so much tasty plant-based milk, cheese, ice cream, and more on the market, there’s no reason to support the cruel dairy industry. Get plant-based meal ideas by ordering a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today, and check us out on Pinterest for even more recipes.