By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


See how they run! See how they run! They all ran after the
farmer's wife, Who cut off their tails with a carving knife!


Dear Friends,

Imagine being in a position in which you are forced to
sentence a healthy family pet to a painful and torturous
death so that a stranger might eat her flesh. I would suffer
nightmares for a very long time. I am certain that those who
are in this position are often challenged by such moral

I read a haunting guest editorial in the most recent issue
of Hoard's Dairyman, the national dairy farm magazine.

The art of warfare dictates that one should keep his enemy
close. I subscribe to Hoard's in order to receive the latest
information from an industry that I abhor.

Today I print that letter contained in the August 10, 2001
issue, page 486. I have read this guest opinion over and
over, many times. It's painful.

I can feel the author's torment. I can touch the tears on
her face. I can see her eyes as she fights the thoughts
keeping her awake at night.

Through Hoards, I have learned what dairy people strategize.
I read the obituaries and discover that dairymen die at a
much younger age than the general population. Their rates of
cancer and heart disease are intolerably high. It is no
wonder. They use their own product.

A one year subscription to Hoard's will cost you $16. I
receive an unbelievable return on my investment, with 12
monthly issues filled with insider information.

To subscribe to Hoard's, call 920-563-5551.

Dairy farmers are the hardest working people in America. For
generations, they have been praised for their work ethic in
bringing what many describe as nature's perfect food for
Americans. I call it a deadly poison.

They hate me, for certain, for shattering their myth. I love
them, for sure, for that work ethic and set of values which
are the same values that made America strong.

Here is the column, written by a dairy farmer:

by Laurie Briggs, New York

"I was intrigued by the final line in the letter from Jean
W. Southack in the July, 2001 issue, page 446.

Her opinion was presented as a moral absolute. `Cows have a
right to keep full-length tails.' It's true, of course. Cows
have a right to keep full-length tails.

Cows also have a right to keep their horns and extra teats.
Cows have a right to breed naturally and to suckle their

Cows have a right to graze and to follow ancestral migratory
routes when the seasons change. Cows have a right to old
age. These are moral absolutes that farmers have always
struggles with.

It is not the scope of our business but the nature of our
enterprise which defines us as dairy farmers. There are
certain parameters which apply to us all.

We are in this business to harvest and market milk.

We have to establish a routine of pregnancies and calvings
to maintain milk production.

There is no place in a dairy operation for bull calves.

An unproductive cow is sold for beef.

We have a small, family-run farm. When our cows are not
grazing, they are lolling in our tie stall barn equipped
with tunnel ventilation. Stalls are bedded with pine
shavings and lime for fly-free comfort. We use no pesticides
or herbicides.

All of our heifers are home-grown, with calves bottle-fed
whole milk 3x. Our cows have names, and we know their family
histories through the generations.

None of this entitles us to feel morally superior to factory
farms, for we are bound by the same universal truths. Our
family harvests and markets milk. We work diligently to
maintain a 12-month calving interval. We put bull calves on
the truck on market day. And, when one of our cows stops
producing milk, she is sold for beef even if she is a 13-
year-old cow named Jenny who gave us a fine string of heifer

All of us are confronted with the paradox; trying to
reconcile universal truths and moral absolutes."

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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