Cows in the dairy industry, arguably, live more miserable lives than cows raised for meat. This is because they are exploited throughout their lives for their milk and then killed.
Given that cows produce milk only when they’re pregnant, the process begins with forced artificial insemination of cows. Farmers insert their arms into the sexual orifice of cows and pump bull semen into them. This is a necessary step for milk production and occurs in small family farms all the way to factory farms.
Once the cow gives birth, two things may happen. If the baby is male, he’s of no use for the farmers since he’ll never produce milk. Therefore, the baby is either killed at the farm, or sold to the veal industry for meat. If the baby is female, then she’ll endure the same future as her mother, going through several cycles of emotional and physical abuse. In both cases, the calves get taken away soon after birth, and mother cows tend to cry for days after their baby is stolen.
After about two or three milking cycles, the cow’s milk production rate becomes unprofitable, so the cow is killed. At this stage, the cow is usually six years old. The natural lifespan of a cow is around twenty years.