Dairy farms depend on female cows to produce milk, so when male calves are born, they are surplus to requirements and farmers are currently faced with few options.
The problem in South America is of particular concern. More than 100 jaguars – a species whose numbers are dwindling – may have been killed in less than a year to supply a trade in their body parts with China. As tiger parts – which are prized by practitioners of Chinese traditional medicine – are becoming scarcer, so a market is opening up for organs from other big cats, including the jaguar.
Recent reports reveal that our (mis)treatment of animals is harming not only the specific species we exploit, but the planet as a whole.
In reality, the daily practices of most dairy farms are more distressing than those of meat production.
They are the last of the Georgian cruelty shows, yet the public seems unmoved by the suffering they cause.
People devalue ‘food animals’ particularly when they are of non-mammalian species.
Half of the world's farmed fish have hearing loss due to a deformity of the earbone. Producing farmed animals with deformities contravenes two of the "Five Freedoms" that forms the basis of legislation to ensure the welfare of farmed animals in many countries.
Children’s tales bear no resemblance to the cruelty of most modern farms, yet this image enables us to turn a blind eye to animal welfare.