For most dairy cows, a life on the pasture, as adverts often plays it, is a distant reality.
The dairy industry has been promoting the consumption of mammalian milk for 60 years!
Millions of dairy cows only live their entire existence as dairy cows in the “stable”.
Millions of cows are still tied up in stables and cannot move freely.
Many people believe that cows give milk “just like that”.
But like humans and other mammals, they must first give birth to a child. After the birth, their child is taken from them. Cows are very emotional creatures and have a very strong mother-child relationship. After the separation, the child and mother cry desperately for one another for days.
A cow by nature only produces about 8 liters of milk per day and that to feed its own calf
The high-performance cows in the dairy industry produce up to 50 liters per day. For the cows, this means extreme physical performance.
Worldwide milk production is currently around 600 million tons per year, with cow’s milk accounting for almost 85 percent. In order to achieve these immense “yields”, the cows have to constantly produce milk.
And they can only do that if they are constantly artificially inseminated and give birth to calves that – regardless of the organic cow – are taken away from them shortly after birth because the milk is reserved for humans.
The unnaturally high milk yield is like a daily marathon and drains the animals’ strength.
They are inseminated again – artificially – just six weeks after the birth.
Dairy cows are used as milk machines for an average of 5 years before they are slaughtered. In a safe environment, cows would have a natural life expectancy of up to 25 years.
Nowadays, three to four births (= “calvings”) are considered sufficient for the desired amount of milk, with so-called high-performance cows apparently two births are sufficient.
Then the animals have had their day and end up in the slaughterhouse.
Many consumers are unaware of all of this. Or they don’t care how much suffering milk is associated with
We call for an end to human consumption of non-human breast milk.
WAV Comment – A few weeks ago we heard from Jill that there would soon be some very special news; so we waited. Today, 1/6/21, we have finally had the news we had patiently been waiting for; and that is; 101 moon (ex bile) bears have been rescued by Animals Asia from an ex-bear bile extraction and breeding facility in Nanning, China, to their bear rescue centre in Chengdu, 750 miles away.Safe now at their new home; free from abuse.
This unprecedented, historic and momentous event has been eight years in the making. It has been the most challenging, unpredictable and emotional journey we (Animals Asia) have been on as an organisation. But we are at last able to share the joyous news with our amazing supporters, that the Nanning bears are finally home.
Our story begins in 2013 at a huge bear breeding and bile farming facility in Nanning. Nanning is a beautiful, mountainous region of southern China.
The new owner of the land that the facility stood on, Mr Yan, was disturbed to find the then 132 bears in tiny, filthy and barren cages, having been used for bile extraction and breeding by the previous owner.
Mr Yan contacted Animals Asia to ask for our help, and there began a tumultuous eight-year journey to bring the bears home, with myriad legal and logistic challenges to negotiate and overcome.
But, today is a cause for celebration. We did it. 101 bears are home. And we simply couldn’t be happier or more grateful to all our loyal supporters for making this day a reality.
The final journey begins
Late on Friday 9 April, we received the news we’d been waiting for: the last permit allowing us to move the bears to our sanctuary in Chengdu had finally been signed!
In a huge feat of logistics, where Covid-19 could have disrupted plans at any moment, each bear was individually moved into a transport cage, loaded onto a truck and travelled the 750 miles from Nanning to Chengdu.
Animals Asia’s Founder and CEO Jill Robinson said:
“We’ve rescued hundreds of bears over the years, but no one has ever attempted anything on this scale before, bringing so many bears home to sanctuary in a single operation. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing Bear and Vet team in China, without the help of the local authorities and without the help of the local community too. But most importantly we could never have done this without you, our supporters, our donors, our family”.
The entire mission took place over three phases between 19 April and 27 May 2021, with the bears being transferred in three convoys of nine trucks, each carrying up to four transport cages.
Each leg of the operation took over 55 hours and was accompanied by Animals Asia’s specialist team of vets and bear carers to ensure the bears were kept safe and healthy along the way.
“We’re so proud of how the bears handled the journey,” said Animals Asia’s China Bear & Vet Team Director, Ryan Marcel Sucaet.
“Most of them have spent their entire lives in confinement. To be suddenly transported halfway across China could have been very distressing for them, but our team did an incredible job of keeping them calm, well fed, stimulated and comfortable along the way, as well as attending to their ongoing medical needs.”
Home at last
When we got the bears back to Chengdu, the real work began! Our sanctuary team has been preparing for the Nanning bears’ arrival, preparing enclosures and planning group integrations.
The bears were placed into quarantine to slowly introduce them into their new life with its new and unfamiliar smells, sounds and surroundings. We need to monitor the bears’ progress and ensure they are both mentally and physically ready before we integrate them into the main sanctuary with other bears. However some bears in one section of the sanctuary have been able to venture out into a specially prepared enclosure.
When we first arrived at Nanning, the bears were in separate cages. Over the years, we slowly introduced them to one or two other bears after getting to know their characters, needs and temperaments.
At the sanctuary they will live with several other bears, some from Nanning and some established residents, based on their personality, age, body weight, health condition and gender. It sounds easy, but it will take our beautiful bears time to build trust and settle into their new environment and become fully integrated into sanctuary life.
“We’re so excited to have them here,” said Ryan. “After nearly eight long years of waiting, and a lifetime of suffering, we can finally give these beautiful bears the lives they deserve.”
These bears need a lifetime of continual kindness and specialist care. If you’ve been inspired by their journey please consider becoming a monthly donor to help make every day special for a rescued moon bear.
We’ve just finished the move and we wanted to tell the world right away. We’ll be going into a lot more detail over the next month or so, introducing you to all of the bears who are now happily residing at our award-winning sanctuary in Chengdu and showing you how this massive undertaking was achieved!
This is it. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.
I’m overcome with excitement and relief to share this news with you. Animals Asia has just welcomed 101 former bile farm bears home to our China sanctuary!
As you know, for years, we’ve been caring for the bears at a closed-down bear bile extraction and breeding facility in Nanning, China, while we worked behind-the-scenes to get the permits needed to bring them to our sanctuary 1,200 kilometers away. That day finally arrived.
Never forget your important part in THE BIGGEST BEAR RESCUE EVER!
You’ve been with us on every step of this epic and tumultuous journey. These beautiful bears are finally home, ready to start the lives they deserve – and it’s all thanks to you.
We’ve rescued hundreds of bears over the years, but no one has ever attempted to bring so many bears home to sanctuary in a single operation. It’s a massive achievement, and we couldn’t have done it without you.
You were by our side through the highs and devastating lows. And your support has been the life force that’s kept us going.
These very special bears are now starting their new lives. Ones of happiness, joy and endless amounts of love.
Words simply can’t convey how grateful I am to you for your kindness. Without you, and the belief you have in Animals Asia, this incredible feat, quite simply wouldn’t have happened.
I’ll be writing to you again soon with more about this incredible rescue, but for now, please see this very special update on how you have saved 101 beautiful souls.
With endless love and gratitude,
PS To see more about the Nanning bears and how you made their journey possible, visit our website.
Donkeys to help re-establish rare wild flower in Devon
Animals will be used to tread in seeds of small-flowered catchfly at Donkey Sanctuary rewilding project
The donkey has performed many roles: carrying Jesus, giving seaside rides to children and being the butt of many jokes over thousands of years of domestication. Now an unfamiliar job can be added to the list: ecosystem engineer.
The hard-working animals will help re-establish one of Britain’s rarest wild flowers by trampling over specially seeded plots.
More than 20,000 seeds of the small-flowered catchfly have been sown on farmland at the Devon headquarters of the Donkey Sanctuary, the international animal welfare charity.
The sowing is part of the Colour in the Margins project led by the charity Plantlife seeking to restore rare arable plants such as the small-flowered catchfly, which has vanished from about 70% of its former range.
The seeds, which have been sown alongside other wild flowers and grains, will also help provide food for threatened birds such as the linnet, yellowhammer and skylark, which have been recorded at the sanctuary.
If they germinate successfully this summer, the Donkey Sanctuary will host a trial next spring to discover if donkeys can assist the germination process by walking across specially seeded plots, a technique known as “treading in”.
Ruth Angell, the ecology and conservation manager at the Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Increasing biodiversity is essential for an enriched and resilient environment which can support rare species as well as our resident herds of donkeys.
“It is important to us that our donkeys benefit from different types of activities and experiences. Our donkeys will be able to enjoy a walk with our grooms and benefit from one to one time while they walk over the plots.”
Other animals including wild horses and cattle are widely used as “conservation managers”, with their trampling and grazing helping wild plants to flourish and flower. Tamworth pigs have also proved extremely useful in “ploughing” wild turf with their snouts and making space for annual wildflowers to germinate at the rewilded farm of Knepp in West Sussex.
Cath Shellswell at Plantlife said: “We’re incredibly grateful to partners like the Donkey Sanctuary who are helping these fantastically rare wild flowers come back from the brink of extinction by giving them a helping hand in one of their original regional strongholds. We look forward to seeing small-flowered catchfly return and working with the sanctuary to ensure this tiny plant has a thriving future.”
Nature looks after nature; it is only the human that destroys it.
Artificial insemination (A.I.) is the most common method of breeding dairy cows in the United States, accounting for nearly 80% of all dairy cow pregnancies. (1) Like all mammals, cows must give birth in order to produce milk.
Around 10 months after calving, the quantity of milk that dairy cows produce decreases substantially. (2) In order to achieve profitable milk yields, dairy producers re-impregnate cows once a year after a short period of “drying off.” (Cows, like humans, carry their babies for nine months.) According to the USDA, “Reproduction practices on dairy operations are crucial to maintaining consistent milk production and creating replacement heifers…[C]ows should produce a healthy calf every 12 to 13 months (referred to as calving interval)…Decreasing the calving interval will result in more calves and greater milk production over a cow’s lifetime.” (3)
This constant cycle of impregnation creates a huge surplus of calves. Most female calves are used to replace the millions of still-young dairy cows slaughtered each year when their total milk yields decline, but male calves cannot produce milk and are sold to be slaughtered for veal or beef. In order for humans to take the milk that dairy cows produce for their babies, calves are stolen from their mothers and raised in isolation; 97% of dairy calves in the U.S. are permanently removed from their mothers within the first 24 hours of birth, and this is common practice worldwide. (4)
The typical dairy cow endures this cycle of sexual violation and traumatic separation from her baby at least 3, and up to 7, times in her short life as a milk producer. The following excerpt from an article entitled “How to Artificially Inseminate Cows and Heifers” explains the invasive procedure by which dairy cows are forcibly impregnated year after year. (5)
This diagram illustrates the process of artificial insemination. One arm is inserted into the rectum of the animal to position the uterus. The other hand inserts an instrument containing the semen and injects into the uterus
Inseminating the Female Bovine
Move the tail so it’s on top of your left forearm or tie it up so it will not interfere with the AI process. Raise the tail with one hand (preferably the right) and with the other (which should be gloved and lubricated), gently reach inside the cow to clean out any feces that may interfere with the process of feeling for and inserting the AI gun into the cow’s vagina.
Clean the vulva with a clean paper towel or rag to remove excess manure and debris.
Take the gun out of your jacket or overalls, unwrap it, then insert it at a 30 degree angle into the cow’s vulva. This is so that you avoid going into the urethral opening into the bladder.
With your left hand in the rectum of the cow (which should have been there to begin with), feel with your finger tips through the wall of the rectum and vagina the location of the end of the AI gun until you reach the cervix.
Grasp the cervix with the hand in the rectum of the cow (like you would hold a bar that is below your hand) and hold it steady while you thread the rod into and through the cow’s cervix.
When the rod is all the way through the cervix, check the location with your index finger. The rod should be only 1/2 to 1/4 of an inch into the uterus.
Slowly depress the plunger at the end where your right hand is so that 1/2 is deposited.
Recheck the location of the semen to make sure you are in the cow’s uterus and not in any of her “blind spots” (see tips below), and deposit the other half of the straw’s contents.
Slowly remove the AI gun, your hand and arm from inside the cow. Check for any blood, infection or semen “feedback” from inside the sheath.
Recheck the straw to see if you used the right bull semen for the cow.
Dispose the straw, glove, and towels in the proper place.
Clean the AI gun if necessary.
Record breeding information on any record keeping system you have on hand.
Release the cow (if necessary, depending on the breeding set-up you have) and restrain the next one to be inseminated.
Officer Abdul Mannan told the Dhaka Tribune that both the police and the forestry department had sought to arrest Habib Talukder for years.
“He secretly entered the Sundarbans and hunted wild animals despite being banned from entering the forest long ago,” he told the paper. “He has been carrying out these criminal activities even though there are multiple cases against him… some powerful gangs are involved in this.”
The paper reports the suspect was detained on Saturday morning.
Bangladesh tiger census data released in 2018 showed numbers in the Sundarbans had risen to 114 that year from a record low of 106 in 2015.