Animal Cruelty Is a Clear Predictor of Future Violence, So Why Are Perpetrators Merely Slapped on the Wrist?


We need stronger animal cruelty laws to protect both animals and people.


Bella deserved better.

One afternoon just before Christmas last year, 56-year-old Michael Gallagher tried to strangle his elderly rescue dog Bella by tying plastic zip ties tightly around her neck. Then Gallagher put Bella into a black plastic bag and beat her mercilessly with a shovel.

Gallagher’s horrified neighbors in Levittown, Long Island, witnessed the vicious attack. They begged him to stop and called the police. Gallagher stopped attacking Bella and fled.

When Gallagher’s wife arrived home she found Bella hanging onto life, still tied up in the bag. His wife cut the zip ties from around Bella’s neck and rushed the dog to the veterinary hospital. But Bella was too severely injured, with blood and tissue coming out of her head. She was euthanized to prevent further suffering.

Gallagher was picked up later that evening at a 7-Eleven. He was charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, and three misdemeanors—and faced up to two years in jail.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office emphasized the seriousness of the crime. “This defendant is accused of truly despicable cruelty that fatally wounded his innocent and helpless11-year-old dog, Bella,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “We know from studies and experience that those who commit crimes against animals are more likely to perpetrate violence against people, and my office is committed to prosecuting these heinous offenses aggressively.”

But on Nov. 28, 2017, Gallagher received a distressingly light sentence, amounting to a mere slap on the wrist. After pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty charges, Gallagher was sentenced to just four months in county jail, plus five years probation and a ban on owning animals for two decades.

As District Attorney Singas said in response: “These types of inhumane actions against animals are heinous and unjustifiable, and should serve as a rallying cry for the state to finally enhance penalties for those convicted of felony animal abuse.”

We at the Animal Legal Defense Fund could not agree more. Animal cruelty must be taken more seriously and the penalties should reflect that seriousness. This is both for the sakes of the animal victims and for the safety of our communities more broadly.

There is a clear and well-established link between abuse of animals and abuse of humans. One oft-cited statistic, from a landmark 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University: Animal abusers are five times as likely to also harm other humans.

In the last couple of years, the FBI began tracking incidents of animal cruelty in the the National Incident Based Reporting System. The agency made this important change in part to better understand the relationship between animal cruelty and violent crimes against humans. It’s expected this data will begin to show important and revealing patterns within the next three years.

“If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting a human,” John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association, said in a statement published on the FBI’s website. “If we see patterns of animal abuse, the odds are that something else is going on.”

Animal abuse portends violence toward people. This was made painfully clear by Devin Patrick Kelley, the man who shot and killed 26 people at a Texas church in November. Before Kelley committed what’s been called the worst mass shooting in Texas history, he was cited for animal cruelty in Colorado. In fact, nearly every notorious mass murderer had histories of torturing and killing animals.

In 2014, Kelley was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty by the El Paso County Sheriff, for abusing a brown and white husky. A witness said the dog had failed to come when called, so Kelley jumped on the dog and “began punching the dog with a closed fist near the head and neck area,” according to a sheriff’s report.

The witness saw Kelley punch the dog four or five times, before he dragged the dog away. Another witness described seeing Kelley throw the dog on the ground. Coming to Kelley’s trailer home, police officers found the dog so skinny and malnourished they could feel every rib.

Kelley was given a deferred probationary sentence and ordered to pay $368 in restitution, according to court records obtained by local media outlets. The charge was then dismissed in 2016, after Kelley completed his sentence—and a year and a half before he killed 26 people, and injured 20 more, at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

There were other acts of violence against animals beyond what Kelley did to his own dog. A former Air Force colleague of Kelley’s told CNN he’d said to her that he’d also bought dogs off Craigslist to use as target practice.

Of course, Kelley was also known to have committed brutal acts of domestic violence against his human family members, as well, prior to the church shooting. He was kicked out of the Air Force for beating his first wife and his toddler stepson, cracking the young boy’s skull.

This is a tragic illustration of the well-known fact that those who commit acts of violence against animals rarely stop there. It also shows why animal cruelty must be taken more seriously under the law.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is asking those who agree to sign our petition: It states that “I believe animal cruelty should be taken seriously and the punishment should fit the crime—abuse an animal, go to jail.” Find the petition at aldf.org/Bella.

New York’s animal cruelty laws are insufficient. New York does not perform well on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s annual ranking of animal protection laws in all 50 states shows. Last year, New York was number 41 on the list — the bottom tier. This year’s rankings, which have not yet been published, show New York to have dropped further still, to number 42.

No one can think justice was delivered, with Michael Gallagher’s four-month sentence for strangling Bella then bashing her in the head with a shovel. Moreover, this cruelty and violence seems like a clear warning sign of a dangerous individual. If someone like Gallagher kills a person next, can anyone say we heeded the warning signs?

Bella deserved better. New Yorkers deserve better. We will work with the state’s lawmakers to strengthen the state’s animal protection laws.

All 50 states have felony animal cruelty laws on the books. And increasingly, the law is evolving to recognize animals as legal victims — not mere property. But, as these tragic recent cases show, we aren’t doing enough. Stronger animal cruelty laws, and stronger enforcement of those laws, are essential to all our safety.

Not slaps on the wrist, but real accountability. This is the only way to protect animals, and people. This should be Bella’s legacy.

 


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The Movement to End the Use of Wild Animals in Circuses Secures Its Biggest Win Yet


New Jersey lawmakers voted to ban nearly all wild animal acts in their state.


The movement to end the use of wild animals in circuses secured its biggest win yet, with New Jersey lawmakers, in the waning days of their lame-duck session, voting nearly unanimously yesterday to ban almost all wild animal acts in the Garden State. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Senator Raymond Lesniak sponsored the bill that would make New Jersey the first state in the nation to enact such a ban. It passed the Assembly by a vote of 66-2 with two abstentions, and the Senate by a vote of 31-0.

The coalition of animal protection groups that pushed for this bill, including The HSUS, is optimistic that Gov. Chris Christie, who will end his second term in days and turn over the chief executive’s post to Governor-elect Phil Murphy, will sign the bill. An extraordinary champion of animal issues who caps his 40-year state legislative career with this victory, Sen. Lesniak dubbed the bill Nosey’s law after an arthritic elephant carted around the nation for years and subjected to unending misery and privation.

In 2016, California and Rhode Island became the first states to ban the bullhook, a cruel elephant training tool. In 2017, Illinois and New York became the first states to ban the use of elephants in traveling shows. And now New Jersey has rung in 2018 by becoming the first state to pass an outright ban on most traveling wild animal acts—elephants, lions, tigers, primates and all manner of other creatures who, for a century and a half, have been conscripted to do silly stunts in three-ring circuses.

With Ringling Bros. shuttering its operations in May 2017, legislation to restrict the use of wild animals in circuses has started to ricochet across the nation. The goal of stopping the use of wild animals in entertainment—an idea that the iconic circus company had so successfully resisted for years—is now being widely embraced across the country. In addition to state laws, numerous cities and counties, including New York City, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh; Portland and Bar Harbor (Maine), and Montgomery County (Maryland), have all recently passed various restrictions on wild animal acts, joining more than 135 communities in 37 states. The idea that wild animal acts no longer have a place in our society has moved from the margins into the mainstream, and reform efforts are springing up everywhere.

Elephants and other wild animals used in traveling shows are subjected to violent and inhumane training and prolonged confinement as they are hauled from city to city. They are often chained, tethered, or caged, and typically denied medical care or even clean food and water.

Last year, The HSUS conducted an undercover investigation of a tiger act that performs for Shrine Circuses. We found that the eight tigers featured in the act were trained and handled through the violent use of whips and sticks, forced to perform tricks that could lead to physical ailments, left in cramped transport cages when not performing, and fed an inappropriate diet. The tigers exhibited classic signs of fear and behavioral stress. They squinted, flinched, flattened their ears back, sat with hunched shoulders, snarled, cowered, moaned in distress, and swatted at Ryan Easley, the trainer, and the abusive training tools he used.

Last year, a tiger being transported by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus escaped from a trailer while traveling through Georgia. The tiger was shot and killed by police as she roamed a residential neighborhood. And an elephant performing at Circus World in Wisconsin escaped from a barn and wandered through nearby backyards. In both cases, the circuses were unaware that the animals had escaped.

Italy and Scotland recently joined so many other nations in banning all wild animal acts. And major entertainment hubs, such as Las Vegas, have largely gotten away from wild animal acts in favor of human acrobatics and theatrics, so well represented by Cirque du Soleil.

With additional focus and determination from The HSUS and other advocates throughout the nation, we can fortify the national legal framework against wild animal acts and close out a 150-year era of treating wild animals as props in frivolous spectacles where we ignore the backstory of animal suffering and torment.

P.S. New Jersey residents can call Governor Christie at 609-292-6000 or email him, and urge him to sign the bill. Several states, including Maryland and Massachusetts, are looking to pass legislation to address this issue. To get involved in your community to help, and to get our circus toolkit, email us at wildlife@humanesociety.org.

This article was originally published by Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.



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Why Are So Many of Our Pets Overweight?

As with humans, obesity in our companion animals is a global epidemic.


When I looked at my appointment book for the day, I thought something must be wrong. Someone who worked in the fitness industry was bringing his cat in to the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals. Did he confuse us for a different kind of weight management clinic? Is he looking to get muscle on his cat or maybe kitty protein shakes?

I was utterly surprised when I called for my appointment in the lobby and an athletic man stood up with an almost 20-pound cat! I asked if I could speak bluntly with him. Why does someone who clearly knows a lot about keeping healthy need to bring his cat to a veterinary nutritionist? What would he say if the cat was one of the people he helps to keep fit every day? Our conversation then went something like this…

“Well, I’d tell her, suck it up, buttercup. Do some kitty pushups and no more treats!”

“Well, I have to ask, then, what’s stopping you from doing this with your cat?”

With a worried look of guilt on his face, he replied, “Well, Dr. Linder, I mean… she meows at me…”

This was the moment I realized that I was treating pet obesity all wrong. I needed to focus less on the pet and more on the relationship between people and their pets. That’s what’s literally cutting the lives short of the dogs and cats we love so much.

An obese pet isn’t a happy pet

As with humans, obesity in pets is at epidemic proportions. Over half of the dogs and cats around the globe battle the bulge.

Don’t fall for those puppy dog eyes. Liliya Kulianionak/shutterstock.com

While overweight pets may not face the same social stigma as humans, medical and emotional damage is being done all the same. Obesity in animals can cause complications in almost every system in the body, with conditions ranging from diabetes to osteoarthritis.

Owners often say they don’t care if their pet is “fat” – there’s just more of them to love! It’s my job to then let them know there’s less time to provide that love. A landmark lifespan study showed Labradors who were 10-20 percent overweight – not even obese, which is typically defined as greater than 20 percent – lived a median 1.8 years shorter than their trim ideal weight counterparts.

Another study shows that obesity indeed has emotional consequences for pets. Overweight pets have worse scores in vitality, quality of life, pain and emotional disturbance. However, the good news is those values can improve with weight loss.

Furthermore, humans struggle to succeed even in the best conditions – and so do pets. In one study, dogs on a weight-loss program were only successful 63 percent of the time.

Showing love through food

So where exactly is the problem? Are foods too high in calories? Are pets not getting enough exercise? Is it genetics? Or do we just fall for those puppy dog eyes and overfeed them because they have in fact trained us (not the other way around!)? From my experience at the pet obesity clinic, I can tell you it’s a bit of all of the above.

It seems veterinarians and pet owners may be a little behind the curve compared to our human counterparts. Studies show that it doesn’t really matter what approach to weight loss most humans take – as long as they stick to it. But many in veterinary medicine focus more on traditional diet and exercise plans, and less on adherence or the reason these pets may have become obese to begin with. (This should be easy, right? The dogs aren’t opening the fridge door themselves!)

However, the field is starting to understand that pet obesity is much more about the human-animal bond than the food bowl. In 2014, I worked among a group of fellow pet obesity experts organized by the American Animal Hospital Association to publish new weight management guidelines, recognizing that the human-animal bond needs to be addressed. Is the pet owner ready to make changes and overcome challenges that might slow down their pet’s weight loss?

One interesting editorial review compared parenting styles to pet ownership. As pet owners, we treat our cats and dogs more like family members. There’s a deeper emotional and psychological bond that was not as common when the family dog was just the family dog. If vets can spot an overindulgent pet parent, perhaps we can help them develop strategies to avoid expressing love through food.

A healthier relationship

Managing obesity in pets will require veterinarians, physicians and psychologists to work together.

Many veterinary schools and hospitals now employ social workers who help veterinarians understand the social aspect of the human-animal bond and how it impacts the pet’s care. For example, a dog owner who has lost a spouse and shares an ice cream treat every night with their dog may be trying to replace a tradition they used to cherish with their significant other. A social worker with a psychology background could help prepare a plan that respects the owner’s bond with their pet without negatively impacting the pet’s health.

The Conversation, CC-BY-ND (Source: Tufts Clinical Nutrition Service)

At our obesity clinic at Tufts, physicians, nutritionists and veterinarians are working together to develop joint pet and pet owner weight-loss programs. We want to put together a healthy physical activity program, so pet owners and their dogs can both improve their health and strengthen their bond. We also created a pet owner education website with additional strategies for weight loss and pet nutrition.

The ConversationPrograms that strengthen and support the human-animal bond without adding calories will be critical to preserve the loving relationship that is the reason why we adopt our pets, but also keep us from literally loving them to death by overfeeding. Hopefully, we can start to chip away at the notion that “food is love” for our pets.

This article was originally publishedonThe Conversation. Read the original article.

 

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Why Are So Many of Our Pets Overweight?

As with humans, obesity in our companion animals is a global epidemic.


When I looked at my appointment book for the day, I thought something must be wrong. Someone who worked in the fitness industry was bringing his cat in to the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals. Did he confuse us for a different kind of weight management clinic? Is he looking to get muscle on his cat or maybe kitty protein shakes?

I was utterly surprised when I called for my appointment in the lobby and an athletic man stood up with an almost 20-pound cat! I asked if I could speak bluntly with him. Why does someone who clearly knows a lot about keeping healthy need to bring his cat to a veterinary nutritionist? What would he say if the cat was one of the people he helps to keep fit every day? Our conversation then went something like this…

“Well, I’d tell her, suck it up, buttercup. Do some kitty pushups and no more treats!”

“Well, I have to ask, then, what’s stopping you from doing this with your cat?”

With a worried look of guilt on his face, he replied, “Well, Dr. Linder, I mean… she meows at me…”

This was the moment I realized that I was treating pet obesity all wrong. I needed to focus less on the pet and more on the relationship between people and their pets. That’s what’s literally cutting the lives short of the dogs and cats we love so much.

An obese pet isn’t a happy pet

As with humans, obesity in pets is at epidemic proportions. Over half of the dogs and cats around the globe battle the bulge.

Don’t fall for those puppy dog eyes. Liliya Kulianionak/shutterstock.com

While overweight pets may not face the same social stigma as humans, medical and emotional damage is being done all the same. Obesity in animals can cause complications in almost every system in the body, with conditions ranging from diabetes to osteoarthritis.

Owners often say they don’t care if their pet is “fat” – there’s just more of them to love! It’s my job to then let them know there’s less time to provide that love. A landmark lifespan study showed Labradors who were 10-20 percent overweight – not even obese, which is typically defined as greater than 20 percent – lived a median 1.8 years shorter than their trim ideal weight counterparts.

Another study shows that obesity indeed has emotional consequences for pets. Overweight pets have worse scores in vitality, quality of life, pain and emotional disturbance. However, the good news is those values can improve with weight loss.

Furthermore, humans struggle to succeed even in the best conditions – and so do pets. In one study, dogs on a weight-loss program were only successful 63 percent of the time.

Showing love through food

So where exactly is the problem? Are foods too high in calories? Are pets not getting enough exercise? Is it genetics? Or do we just fall for those puppy dog eyes and overfeed them because they have in fact trained us (not the other way around!)? From my experience at the pet obesity clinic, I can tell you it’s a bit of all of the above.

It seems veterinarians and pet owners may be a little behind the curve compared to our human counterparts. Studies show that it doesn’t really matter what approach to weight loss most humans take – as long as they stick to it. But many in veterinary medicine focus more on traditional diet and exercise plans, and less on adherence or the reason these pets may have become obese to begin with. (This should be easy, right? The dogs aren’t opening the fridge door themselves!)

However, the field is starting to understand that pet obesity is much more about the human-animal bond than the food bowl. In 2014, I worked among a group of fellow pet obesity experts organized by the American Animal Hospital Association to publish new weight management guidelines, recognizing that the human-animal bond needs to be addressed. Is the pet owner ready to make changes and overcome challenges that might slow down their pet’s weight loss?

One interesting editorial review compared parenting styles to pet ownership. As pet owners, we treat our cats and dogs more like family members. There’s a deeper emotional and psychological bond that was not as common when the family dog was just the family dog. If vets can spot an overindulgent pet parent, perhaps we can help them develop strategies to avoid expressing love through food.

A healthier relationship

Managing obesity in pets will require veterinarians, physicians and psychologists to work together.

Many veterinary schools and hospitals now employ social workers who help veterinarians understand the social aspect of the human-animal bond and how it impacts the pet’s care. For example, a dog owner who has lost a spouse and shares an ice cream treat every night with their dog may be trying to replace a tradition they used to cherish with their significant other. A social worker with a psychology background could help prepare a plan that respects the owner’s bond with their pet without negatively impacting the pet’s health.

The Conversation, CC-BY-ND (Source: Tufts Clinical Nutrition Service)

At our obesity clinic at Tufts, physicians, nutritionists and veterinarians are working together to develop joint pet and pet owner weight-loss programs. We want to put together a healthy physical activity program, so pet owners and their dogs can both improve their health and strengthen their bond. We also created a pet owner education website with additional strategies for weight loss and pet nutrition.

The ConversationPrograms that strengthen and support the human-animal bond without adding calories will be critical to preserve the loving relationship that is the reason why we adopt our pets, but also keep us from literally loving them to death by overfeeding. Hopefully, we can start to chip away at the notion that “food is love” for our pets.

This article was originally publishedonThe Conversation. Read the original article.

 

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Don’t Let Pets Starve: USDA Should Include Pet Food in SNAP Benefits

SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy pet food, leaving poor families with pets in a difficult position.


Each year, over 40 million low- or no-income people in the United States rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help purchase food for themselves and their families. It is the most wide-reaching program in the domestic hunger safety net, helping keep millions of families from starving.

But what about their pets? Unfortunately, SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy pet food, leaving poor families with pets in a difficult position. 

Some argue that people should not keep pets if they cannot afford them, but the fact is that an individual or family’s financial status can change at any time.

Should someone be forced to give up a pet they’ve had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch? Or should they be able to utilize federal aid to continue feeding their pet? 

For most people, pets are considered family, not property. Being forced to give up a pet because you can’t afford to feed it would be devastating. 

Sign the petition urging the USDA to expand SNAP benefits to include pet food.

 

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Don’t Be Fooled by These 5 Misleading Dairy Ads Peddling the Preposterous Myth of the ‘Happy Cow’


Happy cows are just an advertising ploy.


For most of my life, I genuinely believed the false advertising used to sell dairy. When I learned the truth—that nearly all cows used for dairy are kept inside, locked up, forcibly inseminated, and hooked up to painful milking machines—I was heartbroken. How had I never put two and two together: that for humans to consume cow’s milk, mother cows must have their calves taken?

I had been duped by dairy brands, whose misleading ads have never been regulated, despite truth-in-advertising laws. This discrepancy prompted a 2003 lawsuit involving the “Happy Cows” campaign, but the case was thrown out over a technicality. “The state’s false advertising law simply doesn’t apply to the government,” explains Mercy For Animals lawyer Rachel Faulkner. The ‘Happy Cow’ ads were run by the California Milk Advisory Board, a marketing arm of the California Food and Agriculture Department.

It’s troubling that you can’t sue the government for false advertising, but the case presents another issue that needs unpacking: how the dairy industry uses advertising to sell a false narrative about the lives of cows.

Here are common myths in dairy advertising, and the truth behind them.

A disclaimer: The images of actual cows used here are from MFA undercover investigations into dairy farms. While they are not from the following brands’ facilities, the images show the standard conditions and abuses at typical factory farms, where such products are manufactured.

The Advertisement:

The Reality:

Cows used for dairy do not spend their lives on open green pastures, grazing in the sun. Nearly all cows live on factory farms, which make up 99 percent of farms, and they spend their lives almost entirely indoors.

According to a recent study, fewer than 5 percent of the 10 million lactating cows in the United States have access to pasture during grazing season. The most common type of housing is the stanchion barn, where cows are tied up and have little freedom of movement, usually without access to natural light.

Equally heartbreaking, their young are repeatedly taken from them. Much like humans, cows naturally nurse their young for six to nine months, weaning their babies gradually. Female calves stay with their mothers for life. But on dairy farms, calves are taken within hours of birth so that their mother’s milk can be consumed by humans. This is the case even at organic or local dairy farms.

These mother cows know their babies are being taken from them, and they have been known to cry for hours after the separation. Case in point: In 2013, locals in Newbury, Massachusetts, called the police because of crying they’d heard from a nearby dairy farm. Upon investigation, authorities discovered that the cries had come from mothers whose newborns had been ripped away.

The Advertisement:  

 

 

 

The Reality:

The image of the happy cow is everywhere. “Not only do we not listen to cows, we also replace their story with one we feel comfortable with: cows want to give us their milk, they want to get pregnant and give us their calf,” says Elise Desaulniers, author of Cash Cow: Ten Myths About the Dairy Industry. “A term has been coined to describe those advertising images produced to make us feel good: suicide food. Animals that are delighted to be killed, and sometimes robbed and tortured, for you.” 

In reality, the dairy industry forces a cow to produce around 6.5 gallons of milk per day—at least 10 times the amount she would naturally produce for her calf. As a result, cows often develop mastitis, a potentially fatal mammary gland infection. Imagine the unbearable pain of producing 10 times the milk your body naturally makes, for almost your entire life.

Cows raised for dairy are slaughtered after their milk production decreases or their bodies give out, usually around age four (under natural conditions, they could live as long as 25 years). Slaughter awaits all cows and steers, but there is arguably more suffering in a glass of milk than in a hamburger.

The Advertisement:

The Reality:

If your milk claims to be humane or ethical, beware. “There is no regulation for the word ‘humane’ in advertising,” Faulkner says. Terms such as “natural” also aren’t regulated. And “free-range” doesn’t mean animals live outdoors; it just means they must have some access to grazing (and it’s usually very little).

A dairy brand’s use of the name “Fairlife” is both audacious and offensive. There’s nothing fair about it.

The Advertisement:

The Reality:

We’re told we need milk to grow up big and strong, but milk actually makes us sick. An astonishing three-quarters of people lack the enzyme to properly digest cow’s milk, causing an array of digestive issues. Dairy is also linked to cancer. Studies show that one connection is through dietary hormones, especially estrogen, as dairy accounts for 60 to 80 percent of estrogens consumed by humans today.

Milk is high in estrogen even if it is labeled “hormone-free”; you can’t omit the cow’s naturally occurring pregnancy and lactation hormones. Low consumption of milk and other dairy products, on the other hand, is linked to significantlydecreased risks of lung, breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers as well as a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Dairy is also connected to acne,asthma and migraines.

And calcium? That’s another myth we’ve been sold. Many nutritionists argue that dairy products are an inferior source of calcium. While we absorb about 30 percent of the calcium in milk, our absorption rate with other foods, especially kale, broccoli and bok choy, maybe twice as high.

We can get all the calcium we need from plant-based foods, without the cholesterol and saturated fat in dairy products. Ironically, high consumption of cow’s milk is also associated with increased risk for bone fractures, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. Women who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day had a 60 percent increased risk for hip fractures and a 16 percent increased risk for other fractures.

The Advertisement:

The Reality:

The dairy industry is built on theexploitation of female bodies. Cows are impregnated and their babies are taken. The argument “that’s what they’re designed for” is no more true than when it’s used against women. No living creature wants to be used solely for her reproductive system and denied the right to motherhood, bodily autonomy and freedom.

Cows are intelligent, sensitive beings who experience pain and develop social bonds, just like we do. They hold grudges against other cows for months or years, feel joy after they solve a complex problem, and even seek out human help in anticipation of a difficult birth.

Cows’ bodies, their offspring and their milk are their own. Cows don’t exist for our consumption any more than a woman’s body exists for a man’s pleasure. By leaving animals off our plates, we can help create a world where happy cows are more than just an advertising ploy.



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