Dairy cows:
violence and abuse

An undercover investigation by Essere Animali has revealed the appalling conditions for cows and calves on some intensive dairy farms.

Watch the investigation

The images come from the hidden cameras of two undercover investigators from Essere Animali who worked on farms in northern Italy.

Abuse in violation of the law is only part of the problem. In fact, even when the law is respected, the industrial production of milk still leads to suffering and death for cows and calves.

Of all the violence that I witnessed, what affected me the most were the exchanges of looks, often with the same calves who came back to greet me day after day, looks that only I experienced and will never see again. Calves who, happy to have dry straw, celebrated by jumping; the smallest of things made them happy because no one was present to share that joy except them, in the solitude of their tiny box. I watched them try to play with the other calves, but the bars of the cages kept them from each other.
You can’t be loved in these places. There, far away and invisible to our eyes, there is no chance of loving.

Paolo our investigator

Everything and anything is done to the cows: they hit them to make them move, they fertilise them with one arm up the rectum, tear newborn calves away from their mothers… and I have seen them do all these terrible things with a violence that has become routine, making them appear legitimate.

Alberto our investigator

Did you know that

Milk is for calves

Cows are mammals and produce milk only after pregnancy and birth, so they can feed their young.


When the time comes to give birth the cows move away from the herd, isolating themselves as much as possible.

Social animals
They establish hierarchies and form a group with well-organised rules.

Emotional bonds
They make very strong connections and usually select a favourite partner, with whom they spend most of their time.

They need us!

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