As we gain a greater awareness of the previously unknown depths of animal psychology the practice of battery farming and unethical treatment of farmed animals is being proven increasingly barbaric. Multi-national meat and dairy companies have overlooked animal welfare in order to increase profit for decades.
Recent scientific research shows that this short-sighted and cruel way of operating has negatively affected the nutrition of the milk they’ve been selling. The study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison used serotonin (the compound responsible for happiness in humans and cows) injections to test if the boost would increase calcium output.
Over the course of the study 12 Jersey cows were injected and the results were conclusive that the level of calcium in each cow was increased, which leads to healthier milk. The findings also showed that the calcium levels were maintained across the whole lactation period. In fact the calcium levels increased every day until the 30th day of the study, ensuring nutritious milk was produced consistently.
This isn’t the first time a study has shown that increasing the happiness of cows increases the quality of the milk they produce. In 2001 the University of Leicester, England, found that playing slow music to cows relieved the animals’ stress levels and caused them to produce 3% more milk than the average cow. This milk production increase is evidence that improving animal welfare can also increase the profitability of a farming enterprise.
The effects of the music and the serotonin injections were both used to show that the lowering of stress levels could increase the yield and quality of a cow’s milk. Stress levels among cows in battery farms are extremely high. This stress has terrible consequences on the cow’s health and can change its metabolism.
This change is linked to the cow’s ingrown fight or flight instinct which releases masses of adrenaline into the blood. This increase in adrenaline at the time of milking causes the cow to produce less milk, as well as reducing the calcium levels in the milk that is produced. The stress caused by inhumane farming practices affects the health of the cow, the health of the consumer and the health of the farmer’s bank balance.
To ensure that the milk that you’re drinking is good for you and for the cow, it is crucial that you seek ethically farmed dairy products. Usually, the farmers who employ the best practices are small, local farmers who understand the individual requirements of their animals.
The findings from the University of Wisconsin-Madison study are further proof that the systemic cruelty that exists in the dairy industry is harmful for all those involved – except the conglomerates who run it. Take the time to look after your own health and support local farmers by buying milk produced by happy cows.