Cow and calf, mother and baby in intimate togetherness on the pasture, that is what we like to be shown in connection with milk. But the truth is completely different. Fortunately, the fate of the male calves on the transport ships ElBeik and Karim Allah is currently going through all the media. More than three months ago, both ships, the ElBeik with 1,800 and the Karim Allah with 900 calves, left the port of Cartagena. Despite the veterinary certificates, both the Turkish and Libyan authorities rejected both ships after an outbreak of bluetongue was discovered in Spain. What followed was a three-month odyssey of the two ships across the Mediterranean. Last week the Karim Allah returned to the port of Cartagena without having achieved anything. All surviving calves had to be slaughtered because their health was so bad that they could not be transported any further. The same will happen to the remaining 1,600 cattle on the ElBeik. 200 of them have already died on board. However, it is not ruled out that these animals are classified as „fit for travel“ and transported further. The picture that was leaked to the Animal Welfare Foundation shows the conditions under which these baby animals have had to endure for three months. You can tell that they are standing close together that they cannot even lie down. It must also be doubted that they could be properly looked after, given that it is a ship that was originally intended for the transport of cars and the ceiling height is just 1.60 m. It is one of the most outrageous injustices that have been committed and continue to be committed.
But where does it come from that we send our male calves around the world for days, weeks or – as in this case, even months? Why is it actually the male calves? The reason is so succinct and simple that it’s actually frightening again: Because nobody wants them. They do not give milk and do not properly cook meat.
Then why were they even born? One would think that if there are too many calves, then we should just stop impregnating the mothers. It’s just stupid that we want their milk and they only give milk when they become mothers. If the calf is now a girl, it is allowed to follow in its mother’s footsteps, separated from her immediately after birth and penned in so-called calf igloos, they look forward to a life of exploitation and abuse full of hope.
In contrast, the male calves are of no use. That is why they are taken away by their mothers who cry out for them for days. But it’s useless, the logic of the market economy knows no mercy, not even with babies. Sometimes, when possible, cows chase after their babies until they collapse from exhaustion.
Cooped up in narrow vans, unsupervised, as there is no way to feed them in these trucks, because after all it is still babies who should suckle their mother’s breast. These journeys, during which the babies are exposed to all weather conditions, go helpless and defenseless over many hours and thousands of kilometers. Frostbite occurs in winter and heat collapse in summer.
And what is it all for? So that we can keep drinking their mothers‘ milk. Anyone who really wants to do something about this mismanagement actually has to ensure that the product that is produced in this way is no longer consumed. The end of the consumption of milk from dairy products is the end of animal torture. There’s no way around it. However, those who continue to indulge in the consumption of cow’s milk support and promote this way of dealing with helpless living beings.