Daisy was snatched from her mother at birth birth, the farmer took her off in a wheelbarrow just a few hours after being born, slammed into an isolation hutch, 3 hours out of the womb. She knew nothing but loneliness and suffering. She spent the first months of her life alone in a small hutch without any company or loving touch. Her mother she never knew. She walked back and forth, back and forth to the gate and back inside the kennel sized hutch. As she grew bigger her back scraped across the plastic hutch roof, leaving her with painful wounds. She suffered so much but was too young to work out why. At 3 months, she met with other calves and shared a small space with them. At 14 months she was forcibly impregnated by a farmer, Daisy was broken but the growth inside her made her feel comfort for the first time, still an infant herself but warmed by the kicking of her baby, Daisy had hope again. She disliked the faeces ridden floors she walked upon and the grains she was fed, still, she had a warm growth inside her. She anticipated their arrival, and the suffering of the past seemed to fade away. When Daisy’s calf arrived after a long and painful labour, she felt love for the first time, her pitiful life now made sense, she licked her calf, moved them to comfort, they suckled, they touched and nuzzled and Daisy felt alive and full of purpose. She was a mother.
The farmer arrived wheeling a cart. Daisy’s calf was dragged away, and the gate was slammed shut on her. Daisy watched as her calf was disappearing into the distance and had no idea what was happening next. As Daisy waited patiently for her calf to be brought back, she began to lose hope, a feeling she had felt so much before in her life. She bellowed, she mooed, she paced, she collapsed – she despaired. Daisy’s calf had been taken away from her. Daisy’s grief was not heard. She was marched to the milking parlour coerced and prodded by an electronic stick, whilst frozen inside from confusion and shock.
Each day she cried for her calf, and each day she was milked by machines. Her udders so sore, she waded through faeces and stood on concrete floors. Her bed where she slept was filthy and barren.
Day in day out she waded through the filth ridden floors, stood all day on concrete and remembered her calf. Two months on and Daisy is impregnated again by the farmer, she feels the kick and knows what’s coming, this time will be different. Innocently, she anticipates their arrival and feels that sense of purpose and belonging again, all the pain from the past subsides. Nine months on and Daisy is a mother once again, her calf is wet, vulnerable, but hers. Daisy licks and caresses and her new calf and it makes the pain go away and again, she feels joy and hope. Daisy has a purpose and her calf is with her.
The farmer arrives with the cart. He drags her calf away from her bosom and slams the gate shut. Daisy watches and bellows for her calf to be returned, bellowing louder and louder as she watches her calf disappear into the distance. Daisy never sees her calf again.
The truth is, I can’t continue this recount of Daisy’s life, as it’s even too painful to write. This is only the second time, but this cycle continues for at least two more pregnancies and abductions. Daisy’s life is not an exception in the dairy industry, but the absolute norm. Every bit of dairy we consume is at the expense of this agony.