Cruelty and neglect of dairy cows globally is an animal welfare crisis.
Dairy cows globally are affected by heat & cold stress especially during summer & winter months. The comfort zone for a dairy cow is 5-20°C, much lower than the comfort zone of a human.Temperatures outside these zones create cold or heat pain which can negatively affect the welfare of the animals often leading to high levels of mortality, especially among newborn, young, pregnant and elderly cows.
What are some of the effects of prolonged exposure outside of a dairy cows comfort zone?
- Organ Failure
- Sudden Death/Heart Failure
- Compromised Immune System
- Respiratory Disease
- Fetal loss & Embryonic development
- Embryonic development
- Increase in mastitis,
- Disease causing agents (parasites, vectors)
Above a THI threshold of 72 there is a causal relationship between THI and body temperature which leads to increased cattle mortality with increasing THI: Most cattle deaths in summer are heat stress related
- Methane gas traps 25 times more heat than CO2. Cows release approximately 600 litres of Methane gas per day. (note: there are approximately 1.5 billion cows on earth today).
An increase in milk production has reduced the ability of a cow to deal with HEAT PAIN
60 years ago when the THI was first introduced cows were producing 30=35 pounds of milk per day
“Selective breeding and, more recently, genetic manipulation, has resulted in the selection and production of cows who produce enormous amounts of milk. The modern dairy cow can produce about 35-50 litres of milk per day—about ten times more milk than her calf would need.”
Source Animals Australia: https://www.animalsaustralia.org/factsheets/dairy_cows.php