Target: Dairy farmers
Goal: End painful, inhumane practice of dehorning cows
Almost all cows are born with tissue that will develop into horns. Many farmers remove this tissue from the cows at a young age. However, this process is painful. Farmers often remove the tissue or the horns themselves with hot irons, chemicals, blades, or hand saws.
Animals often struggle violently and have to be restrained manually or in a head bail. A head bail is a metal device that restrains the cow by the neck. The dehorning process is sometimes done without the use of painkillers or anesthetics, which causes pain that can last for a long time, or even become chronic.
Some calves are just a few weeks old when their horn buds are burned or cut out of their heads. Dehorning in mature cattle usually requires amputation of the horn, which has already attached itself to the skull. Tools used for this procedure include saws, sharp wires, or gruesome guillotine dehorners, which also slice off the surrounding skin. Horn removal in older animals can lead to hemorrhaging, tissue necrosis, bone fracture, sinusitis, and even death. The wound caused by this amputation can take three months or more to heal.
There is a solution to this, however. Researchers have found a gene in cows that determines whether or not a cow will have horns. Many farmers breed for hornless cattle. If that breeding program could be widespread, dehorning would cease to be a problem. Urge farmers to stop dehorning their cattle, or breed for naturally hornless cattle.
Dear dairy farmers of America,
Please stop dehorning your cattle. It is a cruel and painful act for the cattle who suffer it. Dehorning also often leads to health problems for the cattle down the line.
There is a solution, if you want hornless cattle. Instead of dehorning, breed for naturally hornless cattle. A single gene determines whether or not a cow will have horns. It is fairly easy to breed for hornless cattle instead of subjecting cattle to the horrible pain of dehorning. This approach has proven to be successful in the beef cattle industry. Please stop torturing cows with dehorning.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dave Young via Wikimedia Commons