the Farmgirl up above, back in the days when she worked for us here at OARDC giving tours of our campus. She's the amazing blogger over at Farmgirl Follies, and she's the one who inspired our cool butter making tutorial last week. If you check out her blog (do, do!) check her post where her hubbie named his cows after ex-girlfriends. :)
So anyway, we have a dairy operation here at OARDC. Our cows are Holsteins (black and white). They are well-cared for and valued...they are a big investment to us not only as livestock but also for the research we do to improve dairy production operation and efficiency along with animal health and welfare. We even have some unusual cows...like the one shown above with the fistula or "hole" in her side. She's even more valuable to us, because she allows us to do specialized digestive research. People always ask us about the cow with the window in it's side (apparently we used to be well-known for that). But as you can see, it's not really that exciting to look at. And no, it doesn't hurt her...it's really no different than a body piercing on a person, except that the fistula provides an invaluable research tool for our dairy scientists.
I'd like to suggest that before accepting that the video footage filmed and promoted by Mercy for Animals is standard operating procedure for dairy operations you take a moment to check out what some real-life dairy farmers and professionals have to say about how their cows are treated. I'm sure any of them would welcome questions and love to talk to you more if you have concerns.
1) Here's a link to an article by Dr. Donald Sanders, one of our own Ohio State University large animal vets who has actually made on-farm calls to the farm in question. He's been there, done that and actually knows about Conklin Diary Sales personally. The article shares his thoughts on the video and what he has seen in his real-life visits to that farm on other occassions.
2) Check out the girls over at Two Maids a Milking. These real-life, college-educated, Indiana farm girls tell it like it is when it comes to talking about life on their dairy farm. They'll tell you their cows are ladies and that the cows always come first, even before Thanksgiving dinner on occasion!
3) The Dairy Mom is a California transplant but third generation dairy producer who is dairying with her family right here in northeastern Ohio. She has great real-life farm pics and does a great job showing and explaining how the cows and calves on their farm are cared for each and everyday. She talks about antibiotic use and environmental concerns.
3) Right now there's a milk mustache contest going on over at The Dairyman's Blog. This Alabama dairyman gives regular updates on life at his farm...everything from his heifers getting into trouble and the quick rescue that ensued to field work updates.
4) Stop by to meet the farmers behind the Borden Milk brand (a 100% farmer-owned cooperative) as they show you around their farms. Several of them are even from Ohio, like the Pfeifer family of Bucyrus and the Griffith family of Bethel.
5) And if you're looking to add a little fun to your Twitter, follow the dozen cows from Ontario that are tweeting about their life on the farm at the Teet Tweet Dairy Diary. From their daily milk production to poetic quotes, you never know what these cows will be tweeting about.
Hope you enjoy the reads!