Hot weather can reduce milk output, so dairy producers have a financial interest in developing cows who are “resistant” to hot temperatures.
In July Smithsonian.com reported that scientists are working to genetically engineer cows resistant to the effects of climate change by altering DNA to lighten hair color and improve cows’ ability to shed their coats.
Now Animals Australia is highlighting another disturbing and cruel manipulation of animals’ bodies: heat stress studies.
In order to measure the impact of heat stress on dairy cows, the National Dairy Centre in Victoria, Australia, is conducting experiments that subject cows to high temperatures in isolated chambers for days at a time.
Animals Australia explains:
It's been nicknamed the “cow mootel,” though it's hardly a place anyone would want to check in to. Rather than being allowed to graze in a paddock, cows are put into individual “chambers” approximately four meters by five meters in size and three meters high. Each cow is isolated, with only the view of another cow suffering the same fate through a glass window. She's harnessed and made to wear what has been described as a nappy and then the temperature is turned up.
To make matters worse, media outlets covering the facility’s opening were asked not to take photos of the cows in the chambers for fear it might be “confronting for people to see animals in this situation.”
If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that efforts to hide animals from public view are cause for concern.
Luckily, compassionate people can withdraw their support from an industry that treats animals as unfeeling commodities by leaving dairy and other animal products off the menu.
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Photo: Laura Poole/ABC