On Monday there was a followup story on last year’s undercover investigation that Mercy for Animals conducted at Chilliwack dairy farm, one of the suppliers of cow’s milk to Saputo Inc., a major dairy company here in Canada. The main announcement was that as a result of last’s year undercover video – footage which included a cow being strung up by a chain from her neck and left to hang by a tractor while the workers jeered at her – Saputo will no longer be accepting milk from dairy farms that abuse its animals.
Although this is good news and a step in the right direction (Saputo is “one of the three biggest milk buyers in Canada,” and certainly has influence) there’s still a long way to go. I wrote about this last year when the story first broke: even if the over-and-above abuses stop, factory farming by its very nature is still abuse. Confinement, artificial insemination, dehorning, tail docking, mechanized milking stalls, and babies being taken away from their mothers hours after birth still remain business-as-usual practices for dairy farms. While I’m glad the cows aren’t being beaten with sticks and kicked in the face on top of their already-miserable daily lives, they are still very much enslaved by an industry and a consumer market that sees them as nothing more than product. As my friend often points out, any group that is oppressed and is asking for their rights never says, “Could you just oppress us a little less?” What they ask is to be free from their oppressors altogether: absolute liberation is the goal and so it must also be with animal rights. Continue reading