A Sentience Article from All-Creatures.org

Are Cows Inherently Bad Mothers? Debunking Dairy Industry Myths

From Dairy-Truth.com
June 2024

Challenging the prevailing narrative requires us to acknowledge the inherent maternal instincts of cows and consider the ethical implications of an industry built on their exploitation. 

Cow and Calf
Cow and Calf, flickr.com

In the heart of dairy farming lies a paradox: the revered symbol of motherhood, the cow, is cast as both nurturer and neglecter. How can this be?

In this blog post, we delve into the ‘bad mother’ propaganda perpetuated by many farmers on social media. We explore why this narrative exists, examining research papers and the true nature of cows. Additionally, we present real-life examples from animal sanctuaries and trending, 'calf-on-foot' dairies that challenge this conventional wisdom by keeping calves with their mothers.

The Dairy Industry and the ‘Bad Mother’ Narrative

In commercial dairy farms, the practice of separating calves from their mothers shortly after birth is standard. These farms argue that cows used for dairy are not inherently maternal, and the separation is necessary for several reasons. “We don’t like to take any chances,” explains Nyfarmgirls, “so we get the baby to safety as soon as she licks it off.” They assert that this practice helps build the calf's immune system and ensures its well-being. (1)

Workers on such operations often contend that cows don't share the same kind of maternal love as humans do, and that separating them is essential for the safety of both the cow and the calf. “Some cows aren’t great mothers,” reflects Jennifer from Heim Dairy Farm, a dairy northwest of Kansas City. “They might not even clean off their own calf before we separate them, and once out of sight, most don’t give a second thought to their calf's well-being.” (2)

But, if cows were truly incapable of nurturing their young, one might question the survival of the species. This paradox prompts a closer examination of the natural behavior of the cow outside the farm context.


Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE, including:

  • The Dairy Industry and the ‘Bad Mother’ Narrative
  • Are Cows Naturally ‘Bad Mothers’?
  • Does Dairy Farming Impact Maternal Behavior?
  • The Dairy Industry and the ‘Good Mother’ Narrative
  • What Is Milk If Not the Liquified Essence of Motherhood? A Conclusion.

Posted on All-Creatures.org: June 29, 2024
Return to Sentience Articles
Read more at Meat and Dairy Articles