The Life of the Dairy Cow

Voiceless's 2015 report, The Life of the Dairy Cow, offers valuable insights into the emotional stress and physical strain experienced by the modern Australian dairy cow. Through rigorous analysis of current scientific knowledge as well as the examination of the relevant legal framework, this report highlights the need for change in the way these emotionally complex animals are treated.

Many people believe dairy cows live idyllic lives, naturally producing enough milk to feed their young and provide for human consumption.

In reality, the dairy cow is subject to a perpetual cycle of calving, milking and impregnation. She has been bred to produce double the milk she could have thirty years ago, and to ensure her yield remains at its peak, she is forcibly impregnated every 13 months to produce a calf who is immediately taken away from her.

These factors all impact negatively on her welfare but remain mostly hidden from the view of consumers.

Published in January 2015, The Life of the Dairy Cow is the most comprehensive consumer focused report into the welfare of Australian dairy cows. This report, written by Voiceless with the help of contributing author Dr Deidre Wicks, contains recommendations for legislators, industry and consumers while lifting the veil on the silent suffering of the Australian dairy cow.

Download The Life of the Dairy Cow: A Report on the Australian Dairy Industry

The report has been reviewed by five leading animal welfare experts from Voiceless’ Scientific Expert Advisory Council.

The dairy industry has become one of the most egregious abusers of animal welfare among all of agriculture… All of these abuses are well chronicled in the Voiceless dairy cattle document, a far better document on dairy cattle welfare than I have ever seen in the US.

     Professor Bernard E. Rollin
     Professor of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University

The Life of a Dairy Cow has also been endorsed by the following organisations: