Happy cows

A herd of Holstein cows, just released from the winter barn. [YouTube via Metafilter] Previously.


  1. I first drank unhomogenized milk a few week ago, before I didn’t even now those exist, its like organic milk but more like nature intended not processed in a big blender. Basically it is the same rested breast milk from the look of it, the fat separating out to a top layer. Taste great!

      1. It’s OK. Nature enforces the purpose of raw cow’s milk by putting all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it that humans are unable to handle.

        Nature has an amazingly sharp sense of irony in that She thins the human herd at precisely those times when we are most obtusely herd-like.

          1. Raw Milk- Not Pasturised, Skimmed, Homogenised etc
            Unhomogenised- Pasturised, but hasn’t been processed to distribute the cream throughout the milk.  It sits on the top. Not very common anymore, generally only on for delivered or farmer supplied.

            Organic is completly unrelated to the above, and relates to use of Pesticides/Herbicides/Antibiotics etc. What actually counts as ‘Organic’ varies between countries. 

          2. @twitter-410326822:disqus  this is not a reply to you, just a reply to this whole mess here at the top of the thread:

            Thanks all for disobeying the first rule of the internet – don’t feed the trolls.. Now they’ve had a feed we could be here all night.
            And here is a good ground-rule for the trolls telling us all how to live: cite your claims or gtfo.

        1. “Nature enforces the purpose of raw cow’s milk by putting all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it that humans are unable to handle.”Actually the only thing people really have issues with is lactose, the sugar in milk. If you don’t have enough of the complementary enzyme, lactase, in your stomach, you’ll have a hard time. The bacteria in unpasteurised milk have been consistently shown to aid digestion, not least of the milk itself.Don’t mind what pseudo-scientist nutritionists say. 

          1. Sorry, puppybeard, but I have to disagree. The CDC says: 

            “Raw milk is a well-documented source of infections from Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, and other pathogens. In 1938, before widespread adoption of milk pasteurization in the United States, an estimated 25% of all foodborne and waterborne outbreaks of disease were associated with milk. By 2001, the percentage of such outbreaks associated with milk was estimated at <1%. During 1998–2005, a total of 45 outbreaks of foodborne illness were reported to CDC in which unpasteurized milk (or cheese suspected to have been made from unpasteurized milk) was implicated. These outbreaks accounted for 1,007 illnesses, 104 hospitalizations, and two deaths. Because not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with unpasteurized milk likely is greater.” 

            I got that info from this blog post:


          2. @Joshua Bardwell: Raw milk is a good breeding ground for salmonella, etc., but that’s not to say that raw milk contains it, any more than chicken breasts do. Both are good breeding grounds for salmonella (as are many other things), but that doesn’t mean we should be forced by law to avoid it, in my opinion.

          3. @wrybread: If some raw milk has salmonella in it, then raw milk can contain salmonella. You seem to be having a confusion of logic in your post.

            And the quote that you were arguing with merely said “Nature [puts] all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it.” No mention that they are somehow an inherant part of milk, just that they arrive there naturally and breed and thrive there naturally.

        2. “It’s OK. Nature enforces the purpose of raw cow’s milk by putting all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it that humans are unable to handle.”

          Are you serious?  What about all the crap that factory farming puts in milk, like growth hormones, antibiotics, feed that cows can’t even digest, like corn and animal products.  Naturally existing bacteria in milk from organically grass fed, hormone free, field frolicking cows is good for you once you get yourself used to it.  People can’t just start drinking non pasteurized milk, becasue their bodies aren’t used to all the bacteria and enzymes, it takes time.  I grew up on raw milk, but it’s been a while, so if I got my hands on raw milk again, I’d have to start in small doses.  Non homogenized milk is pasteurized, but doesn’t undergo homogenization, which basically breaks up the fat molecules and makes them uniform to prevent separating and thus significantly prolong shelf life.  I buy  unhomogenized milk, it’s hard to find in stores, but much easier than raw milk.  Pasteurization may be necessary for killing bad bacteria in milk from factory farms, because of the horrible conditions the cows are grown.  Goat’s milk doesn’t need to be homogenized.  Separating fat molecules is how cream forms, you can make your own butter.

          People in N America are way too germ-phobic, except when it comes to health professionals and food handlers (not) washing their hands.

          The Absurdity of Raw Milk Prohibition:

          Your comment sounds like you choose margarine over butter and fry in extra virgin olive oil, because it’s what the media tells you to believe is healthy.  Milk is not the problem, factory farming is what’s causing health and ozone issues. 

          1. Olive oil is good for you and tastes good. Margarine is inexplicable and inexcusable.

      2.  “Nature did not intend…”     Really?   If “Nature did not intend for humans to drink milk” did it also not intend for humans to eat cows, both babies and mamas?  And why is it okay for cows to eat living grass?  Did Nature intend grass to be food for cows, but not intend milk to be food for humans?  How do you know?  Why is Nature so arbitrary?
        It gets complicated very quickly.

          1.  you mean corn…. like the way factory farmed cows eat by the bushel here in the US.

        1.  It’s actually pretty simple, it’s just that people go to great lengths to deny any scepticism towards tradition based concepts. Take what ever single entity of nature you’d like, and see it the specific attribute you are evaluating has been developed by adapting, evolve, in concert with other entities of nature. If it has, it’s natural. It it hasn’t. it’s not.

          For example; if you’d find a cow climbing high up in a tree the conclusion would be that it is unnatural because neither have the bovines developed any noticable treeclimbing skills, nor have the trees developed any noticable bovine lifting abilities.

          And so no, nature did not intend for humans to drink milk as this concept stems from a fairly recent idea, and not molded by evolutionary mechanisms. 

        2. Nature also “intended” for apes to eat other apes, both babies and mamas of its own species. This argument is so old and worn out. People need to read up on what the actual issues are that are worth debating.

          1. I think that it’s tough to debate that drinking a liquid designed to turn a calf into a cow is a good idea for a person.

            But I agree, it’s a rather trivial argument.

          2.  “I think that it’s tough to debate that drinking a liquid designed…”
            Hold it right there, Nathan.

          3. @NathanHornby: And yet you would probably be happy to debate that eating leaves “designed” to do nothing more than capture energy from sunlight in order to create more seeds is a good idea.

            Salads did not evolve for our purposes.

          1. I think you nailed it. There’s so much naturalistic fallacy  in these comments, it’s actually kinda funny.

            Just-so stories and teleology do not science make!

        3. It’s not really very complicated at all, you just don’t understand it.

          Cows Milk has evolved over time to be the perfect foodstuff to turn a baby cow into an adult cow.

          In the same way that human milk is designed to turn a human baby into an human adult.

          Also, depending on who you listen to, there are plenty of arguments that support that fact that we as a species aren’t designed to consume any real quantity of meat (supported by our physiology, such as our teeth, gut etc.); and it was a reaction to an ice-age whereby much of the vegetation was killed off. It was likely a survival technique, not a default. This would be supported by the fact that we can get everything we need from fruit/veg pulses and nuts. Everything. Whereas most omnivores eat meat as a nutritional requirement, cats for example need meat. Dogs need it (but can metabolise certain other foods, so can deal without it with a specially controlled diet). Humans though, no need, whatsoever.

          The one thing most people can agree on though, is that cows milk is definitely an unnatural product for people to eat; and it might serve you well to remember that most of the health recommendations relating to milk are directly from the dairy industry.

          1. Your logic is putting the cart before the horse.  If humans started out on communal farms at the dawn of time, you would be correct.  But they didn’t.  Instead, they hunted, because that was the highest source of nutrition and the easiest obtainable.  They supplemented their meat diet with gathering berries, nuts, etc, but there was no real way to sustain themselves if they focused solely on gathering. Agriculture didn’t start until they figured out that fermented grains made a person feel good. I am constantly astounded that the internet so consistently proves that the ability to state a coherent, reasoned argument does not make it an educated one.

          2. “Comes from a different species, so we shouldn’t eat it” is not a serious argument against animal produce.If we follow that logic, our entire diet should be based on the produce of our bodies.

            Conversely, you argue that we should susbist on the produce of Plantae (plants) alone, and consume nothing which comes from Animalia, with the exception of Homo Sapiens.That we can live quite well on something which doesn’t have the same kind of cells as us is actually important. It means that genetic similarity is not par tof our dietary requirements. So milk being from a different species is a moot point.What about honey? Honey is from bees, evolutionarily adapted (NOT *intended*) for feeding baby bees. Where’s the anti-honey propaganda?

          3. Cow’s milk didn’t evolve; cows did. The fact that it’s perfect for a calf doesn’t preclude it’s use by other species.

            Human milk isn’t “designed”. Humans evolved with the ability to produce milk. Humans “as a species aren’t designed”, period. And cows milk is not “unnatural” either. If one species figures out how to farm another, that is your “nature” at work. We farm cows. Ants farm aphids. No difference.

            You keep talking about evolution as if it has a goal. It doesn’t. It isn’t “designed” either. Evolution is whatever works. There isn’t any right or wrong to it. If your genetic material gets you successfully thru reproduction, it’s won. That’s all. Whether you get there by eating plants, animals, or any combination is irrelevant. And once you’ve reproduced, you are unimportant to evolution as anything more than a potential food source.

            I think you are confusing evolution with long-term dietary health. They are two different things. You speak of nature’s intent. If you mean evolution, we can talk. If you mean a deity, I think we’re done here.

      3. Cattle have been domesticated and selectively bred for meat and milk production since the early Neolithic. Should we be talking about nature or 12 millennia of nurture? 

      4. We made cows, not nature.  They don’t exist as a “natural” and wild animal anymore, only in a domesticated and thoroughly altered (for our use) form.  

        Moreover, we evolved right alongside them, with milk drinking human cultures evolving lactase persistence so that we could drink animal milk long after we stopped drinking our mother’s.  

        1. Funny enough, if you go to Japan they consider milk-drinking to be disgusting (culturally speaking). What makes that interesting is that they have almost no lactase in their digestive system, so it would be bad for them to drink it.

          On the other-hand, they have the capacity to break down seaweed, due to a region-specific stomach bacteria.

          1. Well, most human cultures seem to feel a need to declare some kind of food as taboo – usually those they can’t make the best of use of. (How convenient, this God guy  can be quite sensible at times.)

          2. While east Asians are highly likely to be lactose intolerant — unlike northern Europeans — Native Americans are virtually 100% lactose intolerant.  Interesting, considering their genetic origins.

          3. Lived in Japan for quite a while.

            Milk in all its forms is readily available and widely consumed in Japan, including whole milk (which you buy in one-liter cartons, just like in Europe) in cereal, tea/coffee with liberal amounts of milk, whipped cream etc. I haven’t heard anyone describe it as “disgusting,” but then again, I’ve never seen anybody drink milk straight, either in Europe or in Asia.

            In fact, lactose intolerance has decreased quite a bit over the last few decades in Japan. Ever since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has been striving to become more “Western” in some respects and this includes food (meat and dairy).

            Edit: in fact, a Vietnamese co-worker was the odd man out at my company in Japan because he couldn’t digest any amount of lactose.

          4.  But some Japanese buy used “schoolgirl panties” from vending machines, so I’m not taking any dietary cues from those guys.   Just sayin’

        2.  Might as well stick this in here: lactase persistence is mostly genetic, but it’s also a function of how much milk you consume. That is, once you stop drinking milk regularly, your body tends to up-regulate its production of lactase, and you will become intolerant. This means that milk-drinking cultures in general will have lower levels of lactose intolerance as a result of drinking milk.

      5.  How do you define intent?  Did nature intend for ants to raise and milk aphids?   You seem to be falling into the “humans are not part of nature” trap. 

        We are not gods.

    1.  All milk was unhomogenized when I was growing up. As a kid I’d drink whole pint bottles all to myself, sticking my tongue into the thick cream on the top and sucking it out before going on to drink the rest. (Yes, you’re right, I wasn’t what you’d call a thin child …) Oh but it was good.

      Then we spent a summer holiday on a dairy farm one year, and at the breakfast table each morning the farmer’s wife would produce a great big jug – one of those old-fashioned ones with blue and white stripes – full of warm, frothy milk, straight from the milking shed. Not only was it non-homogenized; it was also non-pasteurised. Such a different flavour. I can still remember it to this day. Absolutely fresh milk, the way the calf would taste it. If you ever get a chance to try it, do.

    2. Yep, nothing compares to fresh milk. I’m lucky enough that I’m from a farm where the milk is at the highest level of richness (milk is tested for it’s nutritional content, and is used for different products accordingly, ours is routinely used for baby food). The stuff you get in the shop, yeah it might be lower in fat, and it lasts longer, but it’s nowhere near as tasty.

      1.  “Yep, nothing compares to fresh milk.”  Oh, c’mon!  What about a Seven and Seven?  Or Benedictine and orange juice?

  2. Can you imagine how bored they must be, standing/lying in an indoor stall all winter?  No wonder they’re jumping!

    1. It reminds me of some of my “first day of summer vacation” antics back in elementary school…

  3. Guys and gals, I hate to spoil the cute video but I have to point out this is from the milk industry, an industry with a very long history of using every blackhat PR tactic known to man. Please don’t think that this is how most modern milk is produced. Most milk is absolute torture and misery for the cows. I won’t make a gigantic comment post about this but I do encourage you to watch a more realistic film about the ways your milk and meat are produced:  http://www.earthlings.com

    1. I hate to spoil the cute video but I have to point out this is from the milk industry

      As opposed to your video, which is from the vegan industry.

      1.  Not to take advantage of all the straw men being knocked down here, but one thing you CAN do is drink organic milk.

      2. Vegan “industry”? I do not think industry means what you think it means. Where’s the American Vegan Council, for instance, and its billions of dollars spent to embed, say, the image of broccoli mustaches on celebrities?

        Industrial milk is gross because it’s unhealthy, unsanitary, cruel, deceptive, disease inducing and more. 

        There is no comparable vegan industry.

        1. here’s the American Vegan Council, for instance, and its billions of dollars spent to embed, say, the image of broccoli mustaches on celebrities?

          You are unaware of PETA’s, “I’d rather go naked than wear fur,” campaign? Or, “All animals have the same parts”?

          I’ll give PETA this: at least they put hot, naked women in their propaganda, unlike those prudish milk people.

          (That was sarcasm.)

          EDIT: Okay, you got me. PETA has only spent tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, compared to billions for the milk industry. You’re right. It’s totally different.

          1. I haven’t seen nor heard that. A link would be helpful.

            Is he promoting veganism, or exposing animal cruelty?

            People are vegans for more reasons than not wanting to harm animals, and some don’t place that priority especially high on their lists.

          2.  This is a very clear, very obvious straw-man argument. There is no Vegan Headquarters sending forth Joaquin Phoenix commandments from ivory towers. Conflating a for-profit Hollywood movie with millions and millions of people is not cool.

            I’ve never seen the movie, but I’d be interested in seeing some citations and references as to where they’re lying.

        2. Joshua and others,

          Is PETA explicitly pro-vegan, or are they instead explicitly anti-animal cruelty?

          You may conflate the two in your minds, but I don’t. And FWIW, I hate PETA.

          1. I think not, Joshua. Maybe in some of their ancillary places, like that page, but not in their primary, attention-getting (and obnoxious) activities. Their primary organizational thrust is anti-animal-cruelty, not “vegan.” Even the page you linked to promotes vegetarianism as much as veganism, oddly conflating the two in the process (a lot of vegetarians consume cruelty-inducing milk and other animal products, while vegans don’t).

            The argument that there’s a “vegan industry” that’s at all comparable in size, influence, and so on to the dairy industry remains specious at best.

      3. The difference being the milk industry is hiding something, whereas the vegan industry one is showing something that the milk industry one wants to hide. There difference is an important one. 

        Abuse in a prison? Cop PR video shows nothing wrong, Hidden camera shows abuse. Are you going to say we should ignore the hidden camera one highlighting the abuse just because it might have been filmed by people who might get paid to work for better prisoner rights?

        Looking forward to you mentioning that Wikileaks pays Julian a salary next time you post about something they’ve done.

        1. Looking forward to you mentioning that Wikileaks pays Julian a salary next time you post about something they’ve done.

          Since the only thing I’ve ever posted is the Comment Policy, you’re likely to be disappointed.

          1. haha, sorry mate. Been reading the site so long but never really paid attention to who posts what.

    2. At YouTube:

      “Cows belong in fields. We have known it for a long time. And the cows agree!”

      It’s a UK farm, BTW.

    3. Well, I won’t dispute it is from “the milk industry” in the sense it is from a commercial organization which produces milk, but it is from an organic milk collective. If you have information that the member farmers of that particular collective do not treat their animals well, by all means let’s see the data.

      1. “Organic milk collective” shouldn’t automatically buy them any credibility, regardless of how slick their website is and how many cows they can photograph standing on post-saturated grass.

        Nothing in my original comment implicated that farm directly but I do want people to stop and really evaluate what they’re looking at when they watch a video like this. Imagine this is one of those “We love the environment” videos from Exxon. When capitalism mixes with animals (human or otherwise) who have no or little legal protection, you can bet on capitalism winning and the animals losing. This “collective” has 500 farms. I’m curious to know from watchdog groups how consistent their ethical standards are across such a wide variety of producers.

        1. Yes,but it’s not just capitalism controlling the industry, there is  government oversight. In the U.S., The USDA has set specific guidelines for the treatment of cows in organic dairies. In order to be certified organic, the cows and calves must have at least 120 days of pasture time per year, and even more if the weather permits.  The milk is regularly tested for the presence of antibiotics and pesticides.  If a dairy fails inspection, it can lose its certification.

        2. This video is from the UK, where we don’t really have the industrial scale dairy farms like the US, and the agricultural lobby is nowhere as influential. Most dairy farms are run by one or two people with around 100  cows.

  4. Hahahaha! It’s good to see that some farmers treat their livestock well these days. I still can’t drink milk though.

    1. Is milk some kind of activist hobby horse? You’d think Ron Paul got called names from the sharply off-topic comments.

      1. Not a moral or political issue for me, it just doesn’t agree with me. If my life depended on drinking milk I probably wouldn’t die, but I’d be pretty miserable. And that is the “miracle” of evolution at work. Doesn’t matter how I feel, I just have to stay alive. 

        There is truth to the way that dairy cattle are treated in some massive farms though, and that should be of concern for everyone. However, this video shows cattle behaving very much like the cattle friends of my family raised to sell for meat. I’m not sure what people want to do with these animals though other than raise them as food and/or pets … they don’t belong anywhere. Their ancestors are extinct. They have no natural habitat.

        1. Yes, most humans develop lactose intolerance as they grow older, and some have never been tolerant. 

  5. These are just regular well looked after cows.  When they are fat and happy all cows do is frolic, try and eat mice, chase kangaroos and scare the local paratroopers…on second thoughts my parents farm might be a little weird.

  6. Ha, you go girls!

    A couple of weeks ago I went to the dog beach. It was 70 degrees F after a couple of weeks of 40 F.

    Those dogs ROCKETED for the dog pack as soon as they were let through the gate into the park, and it all looked like a dog rugby game. Ha ha!

  7. I’ve wondered a long time how a cow feels towards the forced insemination they have to go through every year or so so that she can start produce milk, and then have her child taken away from her to be made into veal and that ingredient that makes cheese possible.

    Even though probably much more abstract, I bet it’s not very happy feelings.

    Seems like a pretty reasonable reaction for individuals who have been locked inside cramped spaces for a couple of months. This doesn’t mean that the cows are happy in general though, just that this moment gives them joy.

    Future’s unwanted child  is indeed tradition.

    1. You seem to be assuming that cows are sentient. I’m not aware of any evidence that there’s even a self there to have feelings, “happy”, “not very happy”, or otherwise.

      Sure, these cows *look* happy, but that’s just anthropomorphising their behavior. Keepons ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g-yrjh58ms ) tend to act happy, too — and one could equally be set up to act traumatised — but that doesn’t mean they can suffer.

      1. Sentience != sapience.

        Your argument against cows having subjective experience is a non-starter. Do you have an explanatory framework that accounts for the cows’ behaviour more economically than simple joy?

          1. what is the differece, clinically, between joy and overstimulation? Are you sure your equipment can differentiate?

          2. I’m not sure if you’re being serious or not.

            “The cows were happy and so they jumped around.” A young child in any culture in the world would understand the cause-and-effect here, immediately, perfectly and thoroughly.

            I’m not sure you could explain the epiphenomenal properties of neural networks and sensory channels in quite so simple a way.

    2. “I’ve wondered a long time how a cow feels towards the forced insemination they have to go through” – they don’t seem to mind.

      “have her child taken away from her” – it definitely goes against their instincts, both animals will try and reunite, some cows will be on the lookout for their calf for weeks. They all get on with it eventually, though.”to be made into veal and that ingredient that makes cheese possible” – veal isn’t really that profitable, most animals will be grown and built up for a year or two, even if they are intended for eating. A bullock makes you more money than a calf.

      Rennet can be made a number of ways, as my vegetarian brother can tell you, he loves his cheese, but won’t eat the stuff that uses calf rennet.

      As you infer, we have no idea of what emotions cattle might have. All we can really do is address the needs of the animal, as befits the process.
      Fear is one example. Most animals show obvious fear responses and cows are no exception. So you can eliminate fear by providing them with an environment in which they don’t feel threatened. This can be anything from noise control to how you behave towards the animal.
      Comfort is another, most mammals seek to be comfortable in some way. So they like a warm, dry bed, and to be free of parasites.
      Space: they seem to seek out space, and don’t like to be packed in. Feedlots, etc, are bad (IMHO) for this reason.
      Health: veterinary medicine.
      Nutrition is an obvious one.

      If you do all those things right, you’ll have animals who show no outward sign of distress. Sure, when it’s over you send them off to be slaughtered, and fair enough if some people don’t like that. But they can have a decent life before that.

      1. “‘have her child taken away from her’ – it definitely goes against their instincts, both animals will try and reunite, some cows will be on the lookout for their calf for weeks. They all get on with it eventually, though.'”
        This made me think of another area where mothers are valued only as long as they are pregnant: original (birth) mothers.  They are also told that they will “get on with it” soon enough.  It’s incredibly painful to read their accounts, decades later, about how they still mourn the baby taken from them.

        Not that I think cows have the ability to grieve for so long, but as you say, it is evident that cow mothers *do* feel their loss for at least some amount of time.  I don’t think it’s anthropomorphizing to recognize that mammals have evolved to care for their young over an extended time, and any break in that process is going to register with them.

      2. So, because cow animals don’t feel the exact same emotions that human animals do, then they don’t feel any emotions worth our caring about?

        This logically invalid attempt to maintain an artificial, self-justifying boundary between animals and humans reminds me of the ones constructed by white Europeans and Americans to justify their decimation and abuse of non-whites. The claim of the former that the latter just can’t feel and express the “full range” of “human” emotions, like Europeans supposedly can, was in fact one of the common European justifications for white theft, abuse, enslavement, and so on. Thomas Jefferson’s “observations” about Indians and Africans (in Notes on the State of Virginia) are a particularly stark and famous example.

        1. Nope, can’t see anywhere where I said that.  As for equating dairy farming with slavery, saying that animal rights should be equal to human rights, you’re free to your opinion, but that’s your own philosophy, nobody else has to live by it.

          The point I was making is that we can only take care of animals mental health to the same extent that they can convey their mental state to us. That goes for any interaction with an animal. Dairy farm, monkey sanctuary, flea circus, take your pick.

          Is the zookeeper a bad person if they blithely assume the elephant doesn’t want to eat lasagna? No, they can only use what they’ve learned through observation. In the absence of inter-species telepathy, that’s the best anyone can do, regardless of their motivation.

          I respect vegetarianism, veganism, etc and I know people can live quite well as such. However the boundary between animals is, in my experience, irrefutably natural rather than artificial. The lion does not lie down with the lamb. Farthing Wood Friends is a great cartoon, but it’s not reality.

  8. I can’t wait for part 2 of this series, where they take the happy cows and shoot a rod into their skulls, hang them from hooks, bleed them dry, rip their guts out, and chop them into pieces for fat people to chow down on.

    1.  That was one of my favourite episodes of River Cottage. Mind you they used a steer, not dairy cows. I hope you’re a vegetarian based on your comment.

    2. Since I eat meat, I prefer to eat meat that used to be a happy animal.

      You say, “bleed them dry, rip their guts out, and chop them into pieces,” like it’s a bad thing.

      1.  Mmmmmm steak!

        These are actually dairy cows though, so more like Mmmmmm cheese!

        If nobody in the world consumed dairy products, the cattle in that video would not be alive. Why do vegans want to murder all the cows?

        1. An interesting fact is that these cattle in particular were bred to produce 4x as much milk as they need. So even if they were left with their offspring, their health would really suffer, they’d get really bad mastitis (don’t look it up, it’s a bacterial infection of the mammaries) in a short space of time.

          1. Holsteins in particular have been bred to the point where they will do very poorly on pure pasture (not starve to death, but damned near). The nutrient density simply isn’t high enough to keep up with the metabolism.

  9. I sincerely enjoyed this clip of animals frolicking and do not have to attach any stigma or political/economical concerns to it. Look, cows!

  10. Um, this is what cows do all the time. It’s just set to music. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was set to music in a nice way and all. 

  11. Why were cows cooped up in a barn all winter?  My family has raised cattle for decades, you don’t put them in a barn in the winter.

    1. Reasons from a dairy farm in Ireland:

      1. The animals would need a certain amount of shelter in winter, which cultivated pasture (ie: flat areas of just grass) doesn’t provide.
      2. The ground is wet all winter, so their hooves would really churn it up, you wouldn’t have the coverage back to what it was for a year, and that’s if you re-sow it.
      3. Banshees

  12. @Joshua Bardwell
    You are aware that PETA is a not-for-profit organisation?
    Exactly how not-for-profit can be equated to ‘industry’ is beyond me.

    1. Exactly how not-for-profit can be equated to ‘industry’ is beyond me.

      Well, that’s a bit naive. “Non-profit” is generally considered to be an industry. An industry with wildly varying standards for corporate responsibility, just like every other industry. Many non-profits have executives who make enormous salaries and many pass on an embarrassingly small percentage of funds once they’ve paid their “overhead.”

      1. (Edit: doesn’t matter. Above comment ‘feels’ true anyway for some people, hooray for truthiness!)

      2. @Antonius:disqus Exactly. If you’ve got a $27MM budget and a director who gets paid six figures, you can spin it any way you want, you’re just as much a lobbying and propaganda organization as the milk board. You’re not an “industry” in the sense that you’re trying to sell me a product, but you are equivalent in the sense that the paycheck of everyone you employ depends on you getting your message into my brain.

    2. Yeah, a non-profit… ie, *not* a charity. $34M turnover a year.

      In other words, a political lobbying group — and a big one, at that; they spend more than even, say, Exxon Mobil does ($27.4M pa) on trying to influence public attitudes and government policy.

      1. how you can try and group exxon, a company who has committed terrible acts against the environment, with PETA, a group who has done more to reduce suffering than almost any other group in the world, is beyond me.

        I get the feeling people just hate PETA because they target the young and impressionable. This is true, but what else should they do?  Companies target these people because it has the biggest effect.

        1. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1979.  People (ESPECIALLY veg*ns and animal rights fans) hate PETA because it’s obnoxious and makes all of us look bad.  I think they’ve done at least as much harm to the cause as help.

        2. One of the reasons I hate PETA is that they are willing to sexualize and objectify human women in the furthering of their cause. If their goal is the ethical treatment of all animals, I wish that they would look a little wider at the social context of their advertising.

    3. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4314

      They have a 44 out of 100, which is pretty shitty. Mostly on account of their lack of transparency and awful ROI with funding drives.

      But anyway, they could be completely transparent and all-volunteer, and they’d still be a bunch of nasty, misogynistic people who seem to do whatever they can to turn people off of the cause. Activists tend to view PETA as the Westboro Baptist Church of animal righs. And for good reason.

  13. I still love seeing animals going back out for the first time since winter. I grew up on a dairy farm, and for the curious, yes, cattle really do go nuts the first time they go out on grass for the year. They sometimes go nuts when they’re put in a new (to them) field too.

  14. I cannot begin to explain how happy this video makes me. Go Cows!

    They have the same kind of inexplicable joy that kids at birthday parties exhibit.

  15. As a meat eater I always feel quite uneasy whenever I see this kind of display of intelligence and awareness. And they are just cows….

  16. The production of milk, as all food is a demand pressure for population growth, market entry of countries that were previously beyond such as China.

    There are milk production elements harmful to health, such as hormones that causecancer.

  17. Sadly, this is a scene that’s disappearing in Wisconsin as farms that actually pasture their daily herd are being replaced by what amounts to milk factories.  These are places where the herd never leave large “barns” (what we locals would call a ‘pole shed’) and never taste fresh grass.

    It’s argued that the cows feel more secure in these rather than being exposed to potential predators, etc.

    I just miss seeing herds of cows in fields.

  18. I’d like to interrupt all this squabbling about milk to say:

    YAY!  Happy cows!  GO! GO! GO!

    [cow drinks vanilla almond milk with cereal, but does enjoy Ben & Jerry’s FroYo sometimes]

    1. One person is letting us know that they can’t drink milk, a few are talking about cows on farms being a bad idea in general, and the rest are lamenting this grim display of abject slavery.

    2. Yeah, I miss the days when I had my own bovine happiness transmogrified into a grilled patty topped with tomato, cheese, lettuce and sandwiched between a bun slathered with mustard and mayo.  Nowadays, those things just give me stomach cramps.  

  19. 1. I was hoping to see comments about how happy the cows were. Silly me.

    2. Milk tastes nice. Cheese tastes nice (here in Europe, anyway). Unpasteurised cheese is really nice.
    3. Beef tastes nice too.
    4. OK so it was just a commercial for an organic farm, but the cows were still really happy.
    5. Cows’ taste in music is a bit iffy
    6. Pedant- If these are UK cows (which I believe they are), then they would be called Friesians, not Holsteins, although they are the same breed.
    7. …and the cows were really happy

  20. My friend told me one interesting thing. His family has dairy cows and they spend the winter indoors. When they they are released to fields they are are quite happy.

    But surprisingly their cows are even more happy when they can go back inside in the autumn. They don’t hesitate much when the doors are opened. I guess cows are a bit lazy animals and enjoy to have their food with minimal effort. Tasty fresh grass is still probably worth some effort…

  21. People who can’t drink store bought milk because of lactose intolerance, may actually be able to drink raw milk, because raw milk contains all the enzymes necessary to break milk down, which is what lactose intolerant people are lacking.  When you buy pasteurized and homogenized milk, which is the majority of cows’ milk in stores, you’ll notice all the added nutrients and minerals.  They have to add them, because pasteurizing and homogenizing destroys the naturally occurring heath benefits in milk.  Goat’s milk does not need to be homogenized, and is much more widely used around the world vs cow’s milk.

    I can’t believe all the empty comments on here.  I read BoingBoing fairly regularly, and majority of you folks seem to know a lot about technology, but when it comes to health and nutrition, a lot of you sound incredibly mislead.

    Someone mentioned the CDC stating that milk has bacteria and disease and has to be pasteurized.  Again, this applies to factory farming.  How is it that people can and do buy raw milk in Europe, just as they can buy blood at the grocery store, and they’re not all dying from these diseases.  Mass production is ruining everything, including people’s abilities to appreciate the hard work that goes into small scale farming, and why those items cost more.

    There was a study from Harvard recently, regarding red meat consumption, and to me it made no sense, since it didn’t differentiate between factory farmed meat and organic pasture fed meat.  It suggested people cut back on red meat, and instead of eating it every day, eat it every other day.  Cutting back on meat that is unhealthy regardless of how much is consumed seems like a temporary band aid solution, which will still cause heart disease, it may just take a bit longer.

    I could write pages on this topic, because there is so much to it, and even though all this info is so readily avaibalbe online, it looks as if too many of you are choosing the wrong sites for your info, or possibly just making stuff up based on bits that you hear here and there.

    1. You know, even here in fabulous Europe (EU) almost all (all?) store-bought milk is pasteurized (you’ll have to get raw milk from a farmer; like in a couple of US states); now in some countries you can buy cheeses made from raw milk and yes, it’s somewhat risky: I can remember a couple of deadly outbreaks over the last two years in my country alone. There’s a reason this Pasteur guy (a Frenchman, European even!) invented the process.

      Now you can argue if government should get involved in your milk; when you look at the difference before and after widespread pasteurization and see thousands of people dying vs. virtually nobody dying it’s not hard to see why somebody would think that this is a sensible public health measure.

      Also, hygiene standards have risen remarkably because farms are cleaner overall and automated milking means fewer chances to get bacteria in your milk. Still, farms selling raw milk have to maintain a much, much higher standard than ordinary dairy farmers (who, again, already run a much cleaner operation than the average farmer back then).

      Not everything you don’t like is a conspiracy.

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