Vancouver animal-rights group protests dairy industry

A group of animal-rights activists staged a demonstration in downtown Vancouver to highlight complaints about how cows are treated by the dairy industry.

Several demonstrators gathered at the bustling corner of West Georgia and Granville streets for the noon-hour protest today (May 9).

They handed out leaflets to passersby, and one protester who was dressed in a cow costume held a sign.

With Mother’s Day coming up, protest organizer Sophie Middleton said the goal was to raise awareness about cruelty toward dairy cows and their offspring.

“People don’t always realize, they think milk naturally comes from cows at all times,” said Middleton, who is with the Vancouver-based group Liberation B.C.

“They’re kept in a constant state of pregnancy, and their babies are taken at birth and they grieve them. They cry and moan,” she told the Straight at the protest.

“They are milked constantly during their adult lives, and then after a few years when their milk production goes down they’re sent to slaughter.”

A spokesperson for the Dairy Farmers of Canada, a national organization that represents producers, defended industry practices.

Thérèse Beaulieu said there is a national code of practice in place for the handling and care of dairy cows with guidelines for milk producers.

“Farmers are the primary caregivers of cows. They care for their cows very deeply,” Beaulieu told the Straight by phone from Ottawa today.

“They work with the animals every day. They certainly do everything to make the cows comfortable and healthy and happy,” she said.

Beaulieu said dairy farmers are open with the public about their practices and in some cases have set up webcams in barns.

In Canada, the dairy industry is worth billions of dollars annually, according to the federal government’s Canadian Dairy Information Centre website.

There are around 1.4 million dairy cows in Canada, and around 80 percent of the farms are located in Ontario and Quebec.

Middleton argued that the dairy industry has no place in a green economy.

“To raise cows costs a huge amount of energy in terms of grains and water, and so it doesn’t make sense. Despite the fact that it’s a huge industry, times change, you know?” she said.

“It’s clearly bad for our health, and it’s bad for the environment. I think it’s time to look at greener alternatives.”

Middleton encouraged people to buy alternative products like soymilk or almond milk instead of dairy.

“Choose compassion over cruelty and look at alternatives,” she said. “You can substitute something so that cow mothers aren’t losing their babies at birth and aren’t suffering and grieving for those babies so that we can enjoy somebody else’s milk.”

Comments (29) Add New Comment
Gimmeabreak
Set the cows free! Let them run wild in their natural habitat! Why not go vegan so the cows can be free? Oh, then a poor plant would have to die just so you could eat.
4
7
Rating: -3
Amanda
Interesting demo--saw it on my lunch break. Didn't know until now that veal only exists because of the dairy industry and I've refused to eat veal for years without thinking of the connection. Something to think about I guess.
10
16
Rating: -6
GimMEabreak!
If you think that plants have the same capacity to feel pain and grief as a mammalian animal does, you've got some reading to do.
Dairy is not necessary to human health. And it causes physical and emotional suffering. If something causes suffering, and it is not necessary, then how is it ethical to do it? I don't believe it is. Whether it's the suffering of a cow, a dog, a human, a monkey, a bird...if something causes someone to suffer, and it's not necessary to do it, then we shouldn't do it. CAUSES SUFFERING + ISN'T NECESSARY = ISN'T ETHICAL
7
9
Rating: -2
JL
A piece of cheesecake might taste good, but not so good that I would kill for it. Cheese, milk, dairy in general...it's not necessary, and it's not good for us. So why should we kill other individuals just so we can have it? Would you take a life for something you don't need?
10
6
Rating: +4
Oh Brother
You're kidding right? Being sarcastic? No, that's you're serious response? It's such an incredibly stupid response it's almost not worth commenting on, however, for all those who would venture to share a similiar sentiment. Cows are mammals, they are intelligent sentient beings who have complex social structures among their herds, experience a vast arrary of emotions, feel pain and suffering, love their young and grieve loss. Plants are not in this category, they are not sentient, do not have a brain or a central nervous system etc etc...ad nauseum. Please have something intelligent to say.
5
6
Rating: -1
Sandra Grose
Good on them!! I hope to see more of this to come.
9
6
Rating: +3
Gentleman Jack
The inherent value of man is due to his relation to God---our first father is Adam, whose father was God. It has nothing to do with our ability to feel pain, nor our "sentience." It is a non-sequitur to suggest that cows suffer, therefore they should not be eaten. It is not the human capacity to suffer from being eaten that precludes us eating one another: it is that God commanded we not kill one another.

This is another example of the intellectual degeneration of the species---eating cows is a serious issue? Really?
8
6
Rating: +2
Natalie
That's wonderful! I love almond milk and I can't imagine ever going back to dairy, cows milk is for baby cows.
8
9
Rating: -1
Moo
Yummy, I love ice cream and yogurt and milkshakes and cheese cake and creamy pudding and...
10
7
Rating: +3
Uh
^ Gentleman Jack, I am a little weirded out that your only reason for not eating other people is that the Bible apparently forbids it. I wouldn't go around announcing that if I were you.
5
6
Rating: -1
Alissa
Kudos to Liberation BC for organizing this eye-opening Mother's Day event. With so many tasty alternatives to dairy products, there's never been a better time to make the compassionate switch. Daiya is a great melty non-dairy cheese, Amande is a new delicious almond yogurt, and there's a plethora of non-dairy milks to choose from!
6
6
Rating: 0
dave dignard
its unfortunate that such uninformed people are able to get this much press. I guarantee you none of these protesters have ever set foot on a farm of any sort, let alone a dairy farm. Likely learned about farms from PETA propoganda, such a group has alot to gain by getting people to buy into their misinformation.
5
6
Rating: -1
Barb E
I have no relation to God. Feel free to come eat my rump roast Jack.
7
5
Rating: +2
Kim Ward
I think if more people knew what goes in the dairy industry they wouldn't buy cow milk.
8
9
Rating: -1
Tyler
I have set foot on a dairy farm and at first glance it may not seem too bad...that is until you see the mother cows in the rape rack being impregnated for the 7th time. The babies being taken away from their bellowing mother at just minutes to days old. Older dairy cows past their "prime" being herded onto a truck to be sent to slaughter as they are no longer profitable. It's pretty depressing stuff. And for what? A product that causes all sorts of health problems for humans.
8
20
Rating: -12
dave dignard
Ok tyler if you have set foot on a dairy farm, what is this rape rack you refer to? There is no point to breeding a cow unless she us in heat, and if she is in heat she will stand for breeding. There is no point to breeding a cow that is not in heat, or rape as you say, she will not become pregnant anyways. If you have seen this as you say, how are the cows bred? From your comment it is obvious to anyone familiar with the dairy industry that the closest you have come to a dairy farm are the propoganda videos from peta. The calves are not yanked from their mother either, the mothers nurse them until they eat solid food, the mother produces way more milk than the calf can consume, so the excess is "milked". Once the calf is weaned off of the cow, she continues produceing milk for a number of months and this is also "milked off". The cows are actually put in quite a bit of discomfort if not milked. Next time you want to have a debate bring some facts and not heresay or something you have read on a peta website
BTW, I am not a dairy booster, I am opposed to the supply management system that exists for the dairy sector. This makes me quite unpopular with that industry. While I can not agree with the supply management aspectn I can not deny that dairy farmers take better care of their cows than most do of their family dog. I know first hand as I have worked in a large animal vet clinic.
7
7
Rating: 0
Ken Again
I'm searching for a true statement in this article, but there are so few... constant state of pregnancy? rubbish, milked constantly? impossible to do! Why do people make this stuff up? and why do others believe it???
It seems today, that every animal kept by any farmer, is suddenly a bad thing. It's just not always the case!
If you don't like dairy cows, don't drink milk. Pretty simple. No protest necessary. Of course then it's hard to fund-raise for your animal-rights organization...
9
8
Rating: +1
RK
I really like milk, cheese, and yogurt. There's nothing better than a good steak or hamburger on the barbecue.

I really don't appreciate a bunch of self-righteous animal “rights” fanatics giving me their holier than thou rant about how I should live my life.

You should understand that most people feel that way, and your attitude and tactics aren't going to change anything.
12
10
Rating: +2
joshua chavez
Gentleman Jack - Does your God say humans should interfere and part-take in sexual and reproductive activities of animals? I sure hope not. However, in today's farms, humans are the instigator and participant in all animal mating activities. In all animal agriculture, a human being stimulates the male animal to retrieve semen, while another human being takes that semen and shove it inside a female animal. I highly doubt that your God approves of bestiality. And I would hope anyone who has faith in God would disapprove of sexual acts between a human and an animal. All farmed animals are born as a result of bestiality. To consume products from farmed animals is to say you are okay with humans mating with animals.

Bestiality is a serious issue. REALLY!
5
2
Rating: +3
greggron
"Rape racks" lol Are you for real? Do you think a cow and a bull are supposed to go out on a date to see if they feel compatible? They are animals. Every spring they go into heat and the cow accepts any bull that can subdue her, and the bull fends off any other that gets in his way. That is how nature intended. A human concept like "rape" applied to cattle is PETA insanity. If anything, the farmer protects the cow from very real danger the bull can present.
8
4
Rating: +4

Pages

Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.