Suffering in the Dairy Industry

A cycle of cruelty exists in every glass of milk. Our goal is to help expose it.

Dairy's Dark Secret

“Cows in the dairy industry suffer their entire lives. From the moment they enter this world they are treated like commodities. Special bonds are routinely broken and cows often develop painful medical conditions.

Just like humans, cows only produce milk for their offspring. Therefore, they are forcefully impregnated every year. A female and her offspring are forced through a cycle of cruelty that ends with their slaughter.”

Broken Families

“Much like humans, cows have strong maternal instincts but a mother’s bond with her calf has no place on dairy farms. Shortly after birth, male calves are dragged away from their mother never to be seen again. Female calves are eventually used for milk. A cow will have to go through this painful process every year of her life. The milk she produces for her calf is instead taken from her and sold to consumers.”

Cruel Cycle

“Each stage in the dairy industry is filled with cruelty. Semen is collected from bulls who are kept in dark sheds, almost always out of the sunlight. Cows are forcefully impregnanted their whole lives. Often, inexperienced men do not bother to wear gloves or other safety equipment when inserting the semen into the cow. This can lead to infections. New born calves were separated from their mothers within one hour from their birth so that they don’t drink their mother’s milk. Male cows are often left to starve to death since they cannot produce milk. Dairy cows are literally kept tied their entire lives. They sit in their own faeces and urine for days. Workers brutally prod and poke the cow’s gentials to make her move. This causes the cow’s genitals to bleed.”

Brutally Killed

“Cows in the dairy industry have a sad fate. After being repeatedly impregnated, their bodies eventually can no longer produce milk and they are sold for slaughter. No cow is allowed to live out their natural lifespan of up to 25 years. The animals are slaughtered in front of each other leaving the animals waiting in line in fright. Before they are killed, they are not stunned and they die painful deaths. They languish in pain for several minutes before they die. Sometimes, they are killed by repeated blows to the head with a hammer.”


14 and 5: life span of a cow in the wild, life span of a cow used for dairy
1 year old: the age a female cow is artificially inseminated


Number of hours a calf is allowed to spend with her/his mother after birth every day.

372 million

cattle were exploited for their milk in India in 2014-15

beyond the cruelty

Cruel dairy has devastating effects on the environment and can be damaging to our health.

Dairy and the Environment

“Raising cows for their milk contributes methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide – all of which are toxic greenhouse gasses – to the atmosphere. In fact, nitrous oxide and methane are 296 and 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide respectively. In some places, the dairy industry contributes to the conversion of natural habitat to agricultural land – a leading cause of deforestation. Local water resources are under threat due to the poor handling of manure and fertilizers.”

Dairy and Your Health

“Consuming dairy products puts you at an increased risk of several serious health conditions. Dairy has been linked to higher risks of various cancers, especially to cancers of the breast and prostate. This is due to milk’s high levels of insulin-like growth factor. Though it’s true we need calcium to keep our bones strong to prevent osteoporosis, milk is not the only nor best source of this. Green leafy vegetables and fortified plant-based drinks are excellent cruelty-free sources of these necessary nutrients.”


Cruelty is standard practice in the dairy industry. The public deserves to know the reality inside this secretive industry. Animal Equality conducts investigations and education campaigns that help reduce animal suffering.


India Bans Sale of Cattle for Slaughter at Meat Markets

In a monumental decision, India announced new rules after an Animal Equality investigation stating that cows and buffaloes raised for milk could no longer be sold for slaughter at markets.

Farm Worker Convicted of Animal Cruelty

An Animal Equality investigation led to the conviction of a worker caught on camera abusing cows and their calves on a U.K. dairy farm.

What Can I do to Help?

Helping cows is now easier than it has ever been. Today, we have access to a variety of plant milks, from coconut milk to peanut milk. These are also easy to make at home. Reducing your consumption of dairy products is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce their suffering, help the planet, and improve your health.