They shoot horses, don’t they?

In today’s Guardian

After years of decline, France’s taste for horsemeat is showing signs of a revival. Brigitte Bardot, the film star-turned animal activist, has devoted 2007 to halting the consumption of “the noble beast”, but she faces a difficult task – a marketing drive has increased sales.

But in the US a campaign by another cinema icon, Bo Derek, is threatening French supplies of the meat. The US is one of the biggest suppliers of horsemeat to France, but the state of Illinois has ordered the country’s last working horse slaughterhouse to stop operations.

I just figured I would not let the hypocrisy go unremarked.

As with any mammal, cows produce milk only when pregnant and stop after their calves have been weaned. When a dairy cow delivers a female calf, the calf becomes a dairy cow herself, born to live in the same conditions as her mother. But when a dairy cow delivers a male calf, the calf is sold to a veal farm within days of birth, where he is tethered to a stall, deprived of food and exercise, and soon slaughtered for meat. Life is only a few years longer for the mother. Because it is unprofitable to keep cows alive once their milk production declines, dairy cows are usually slaughtered at 5 years of age. Thus, a cow’s normal lifespan of 25 years is cut 20 years short just to cut costs and maximize production.

The average productive life of a dairy cow is short (approximately 3 – 4 years). Many cows are culled primarily because of reproductive failure, low milk yield, udder breakdown, feet and leg weaknesses, and mastitis.

Do I seem angry? I’m a little angry. Do I seem like I’m on a moral high horse? I am. Watch me care.

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