Saving Lives & Not Slaying Lives

Cows are gentle giants, large in size but sweet in nature. They are curious, clever animals who have been known to go to amazing lengths to escape from slaughterhouses. These very social animals prefer to spend their time together, and they form complex relationships. Like all animals, cows form strong maternal bonds with their children, and on dairy farms and cattle ranches, mother cows can be heard crying out for their calves for days after they are separated. These sensitive animals suffer and die for the meat and dairy industries every year. When they are still very young, cows are burned with hot irons (branding), their testicles are ripped out of their scrotums (castration), and their horns are cut or burned off—all without painkillers. Once they have grown big enough, they are sent to massive, muddy feedlots to be fattened for slaughter or to dairy farms, where they will be repeatedly impregnated and separated from their calves until their bodies give out and they are sent to die.

Calves raised for veal are kept in stalls so small that they can’t even turn around. Millions of old, spent cows, exhausted bullocks, and young male calves are driven on foot up to 300 miles, or are crammed into trucks for transit into Kerala, or in railroad cars to West Bengal, the two sates where cattle slaughter is legal. Their often bleeding, worn down hooves make hardly any sound as they pass by. Often entire hooves of these animals are snuffed out and gunny bags are tied around the wounded stumps and this way they walk. Many sustain injuries being loaded and off-loaded during part of the journey or die in transit. Some collapse on the way, are beaten, and even have salt and hot chilies rubbed into their eyes and have their tails hammered, twisted, and broken to make them get up and keep walking. Some of those being transported get trampled and suffocate, or have an eye gouged out by another's horn. Water and fodder are rarely provided during their long journeys, and even at rest stops. An estimated one million cattle are taken every year into Kerala from other southern states to be slaughtered.

Throughout the length and breadth of this birthplace of Ahimsa, the tragic march of the condemned continues unchanged -- a poignant symbol of our callousness, in even denying the last comforts and dignity of those who lived their lives serving us.

Cattle raised for beef are usually born in one state, fattened in another, and slaughtered in yet another. They are transported hundreds of miles in all weather extremes to the slaughterhouse. Many cows die on the way to slaughter, and those who survive are shot in the head with a bolt gun, hung up by their legs, and taken onto the killing floor, where their throats are cut and they are skinned. Some cows remain fully conscious throughout the entire process—according to one slaughterhouse worker, “they die piece by piece.”