Target: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Require dairy farmers to apply anesthetic when dehorning cows and calves
Dairy cows are rarely seen with full-grown horns, but no cattle, male or female, naturally grows up without them. Rather than allow their horns to develop naturally, an overwhelming majority of dairy farmers violently remove horn tissue from their cattle, often when they are only a few weeks old. More than nine out of ten dairy farmers in America dehorn their calves, either burning off horn tissue with abrasive chemicals or hot irons, or hacking away at developing horns with sharp blades and hand saws. And due to a lack of regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers are not legally required to administer painkillers during the process.
Farmers claim that dehorning is necessary to minimize the risk of injury for cows kept in close proximity to one another. While cows with fully developed horns may present a threat to farm workers and other animals, dehorning without the use of anesthetic is an unnecessarily cruel practice that must be stopped. Young calves struggle and bellow as workers forcefully burn or cut off their horn buds. Without painkillers, the process of dehorning is akin to torture–yet it remains entirely unregulated throughout the United States.
Other countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Sweden mandate that all farmers must use anesthetic while removing horns from their cows. It’s time that the U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed regulation on the process of dehorning to save cows from excruciating and unnecessary pain. Stand up for the right of cattle to live free from torture by signing the petition below today.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
Dehorning may be a standard procedure on dairy farms, but allowing farmers to remove the budding horns of young calves without anesthetic ought to be considered an illegal form of torture. Calves as young as a few weeks old are held down by farm workers as their horns are sawed off or burned with hot irons. Farmers are not legally required to administer anesthetic for the procedure, causing calves and cows to suffer unduly.
This barbaric practice has no place in the dairy farms of America. Countries such as Australia, Denmark, and Sweden have already made it a crime to dehorn cattle without the use of anesthetic. I demand that you join them in outlawing this cruel and inhumane form of animal torture. Impose regulation on dairy farm dehorning and ensure that all cattle who must have their horns remove are at least given the dignity of avoiding excruciating pain.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: John O’Neill via Wikimedia Commons.