Stop IFFCO mega-dairy
What are mega-dairies?
A mega dairy is a western concept. They are high profit yielding units for the entrepreneur but have an adverse impact on the wellbeing of the animals.
(Image above: A feeding scene in Indiana mega dairy Oak Farms, which houses 32,000 cows)
Why are mega-dairies bad for cows?
There is enormous suffering inside those closed quarters where a cow is not allowed to live or behave naturally for years till the time it gets economically unproductive. It suffers endlessly from lameness due to lack of movement and from bloated and painful udders due to over production of milk. In such artificial confinement, a cow is prevented from grazing and exploring naturally in fields and pastures and from forming groups with other animals. For those who speak of freedom and liberty, should take a note of this and have mercy on this life which is confined in such intensive systems just to provide us milk.
(Image on the right from a mega-dairy in the west)
Such intensive farming is a cruel, inhumane and greedy way to conduct business where the animal just serves the purpose of a high milk yielding machine till the time it get exhausted and spent. To maximise milk production, a large number of animals are kept in confined spaces and are fed on specialized feed and fodder. Calves are removed from their mothers before their natural weaning. The fate of male calves is uncertain and they are generally slaughtered for meat in any such business model. Modifications in feeding and socialising patterns lead to abnormal behaviour in cows. Moreover, the use of artificial reproduction techniques in such dairies causes distress in cows. Animals also suffer from their own body heat, which is very particular when such a mega plant is set up in tropical conditions like India.
What are the environmental costs of such factory farms?
Besides being harmful for animals, mega dairies are bad for the environment. They require huge amounts of water and produce unmanageable quantities of waste.
Additionally, the digestive process of cattle release large amounts of methane, ammonia, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide causing local air pollution and global warming.
The huge amount of feed that is required in such factories is grown either by displacing food crops (grown for human use) or by clearing forest land. Such fodder cultivation also consumes large amounts of water and energy.
How do such factories affect livelihoods?
In many places, factory farms have severely hit livelihood of local farmers – many of whom are women. Such factories tend to displace traditional agriculture as farmers are unable to compete.
In India keeping livestock has been a key livelihood support activity, particularly for rural women.