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Dairy's decline

Dear Editor,

Having grown up on a dairy farm, I understand the hardships faced by today’s farmers who are forced to move out of the industry as the price and demand for milk continues to fall. The struggling dairy farmer is not a new phenomenon. Dairy Australia figures show that the number of registered dairy farms fell from 22,000 in 1980 to 5,700 in 2018, meaning that 75% of dairy farms have closed down. The number of cows has only fallen by 17 percent in that time, indicating that the industry continues to be taken over by huge corporations.

One farmer was quoted recently as saying "It's like losing my right arm" as his cows were driven off to slaughter. But let’s not forget: while it’s painful to lose an arm, those cows are losing their lives, after losing their calves shortly after birth every year, so that humans can steal the milk they produce to nurture their babies. The calves are either raised separately for the same cycle of pregnancy, birth and loss or, if male, shipped off to slaughter or shot or bludgeoned to death on the farm.

Farmers are tough and resourceful. The ones I knew, who got out of dairy decades ago, diversified into more ethical products. Those losing their livelihoods now to the giant conglomerates will hopefully do the same, as the market for these vile products continues to shrink.

Desmond Bellamy
Special Projects Coordinator
PETA Australia
PO Box 2352
Byron Bay NSW 2481
0411 577 416