Animal Aid

FOOT AND MOUTH - Phoenix: the farming industry's nauseating hypocrisy

Posted 27 April 2001

The following statement has been issued by Animal Aid:

The 'reprieve' of Phoenix the calf - rescued from the ashes of the foot and mouth cull - has been widely celebrated as a victory for a caring farmer over the unfeeling brutes working as part of MAFF's foot and mouth slaughter team. In reality, Phoenix was brought into the world to be exploited and killed as a waste by product of the dairy industry. The scenes of widespread rejoicing whipped up by spokespeople for this industry have been nauseatingly hypocritical.

The routine suffering of dairy cows and their calves - animals such as Phoenix - is one of the biggest and dirtiest secrets of the modern farming industry. Just like human females, cows produce milk only after giving birth. In order to produce the vast, unnatural milk quantities demanded by the modern dairy industry, they are subjected to a constant cycle of pregnancies, with their calves stolen away usually within 24 hours of birth. Separation for both mother and infant causes acute suffering for both. Cows will bellow for their lost young for days.

Calves such as Phoenix are then fed an insipid milk powder rather than their own mothers' milk, which ends up in the daily pinta or as other dairy products. Many of the offspring are killed within weeks for cheese, or baby food. Others are slaughtered after a few months and their bodies turned into cheap meat products. Those who go on to be milk producers, like their mothers, suffer multiple pregnancies and loss of young. Mastitis, lameness, early infertility and other diseases are endemic within the national dairy herd.

By the time they are four or five years old, dairy cows are spent. They used to be made into cheap burger or pie meat. But because of BSE they are now simply killed and turned into waste. Some are in an advanced state of pregnancy when destroyed. This is the industry Phoenix was produced to serve. A truly happy ending would be if Phoenix were handed over to a sanctuary whose animals don't end up shackled and slaughtered, unlike farmed animals. Animal Aid will happily help place Phoenix in a suitable location.

The answer to the more widespread calamity of farm animal disease, exploitation and slaughter is for the public to adopt the veggie diet. Animal Aid will supply a free information and recipe pack for anyone ready to take this sane and humane step. Call our Veggie Hotline: 01732 354032.

Animal Aid has produced a special eight-page Question & Answer guide to foot and mouth disease - also a campaign flyer and sticker.

Notes to Editors

  • For further comments contact Andrew Tyler or Yvonne Taylor on 01732 364546.
  • We have an ISDN line for Broadcast-quality interviews.

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