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Pages 6 - 7

Why Veg?

Dairy Cows

The amount of milk produced by each Australian cow more than tripled between 1950 and 2005(1),(2), and farmers keep pushing for higher yields.

(1)   National Farmers Federation (1997) "Australian Agriculture (6th ed)" Hawthorn East: Morescope

(2)   Lubulwa M & Shafron W (2007) “Australian Dairy Industry Technology and Farm Management Practices 2004-05” Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE)

To keep the milk coming, dairy cows endure pregnancy and milking at the same time, placing enormous demands on their bodies(3). They produce a calf a year until too exhausted to continue, then they are sent to slaughter, at around a quarter of their natural lifespan. The strain makes them susceptible to painful foot disorders(4),(5) and other ailments.

(3)   Delany M (1982) “Mammal Ecology” Glasgow: Blackie & Son Ltd

Excerpt: “A dairy cow weighing 500kg and producing 20kg of milk expends 70% of its assimilated energy on milk production.  Energy demands are less on the pregnant female than during the peak of lactation.” (p106)

(4)   McLennan M (1988) "Incidence of lameness requiring veterinary treatment in dairy cattle in Queensland" Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 65 (144-147)

(5)   Harris D et al (1988) "The incidence, cost and factors associated with foot lameness in dairy cattle in south-western Victoria" Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 65 (171-176)

Their calves are taken away on the day they are born, causing deep distress to mother and calf, who will bellow for one another for days. Male calves are killed as babies for veal; their sisters are reared on a milk substitute, away from their mothers(6).

(6)    "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Cattle 2ed" (2006) by Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC).  Source: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=4831

The most common disease of Australian dairy cows is  mastitis, a painful bacterial infection of the teats and udder. Many cows have low level infections, causing blood cells and bacteria to contaminate milk(7),(8),(9).   Millions of blood cells are in each teaspoon of milk sold to consumers(9)

(7)   Watson D et al (1996) "Field trial of a staphylococcal mastitis vaccine in dairy herds: clinical, subclinical and microbiological assessments" Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 74 (447-450)

(8)   Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (1988) "Management & Welfare of Farm Animals" London: Bailliere Tindall

(9)   Butler J (2006) "White Lies: The health consequences of consuming cow's milk" Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF).  Source: http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/campaigns/whitelies/whiteliesreport.pdf

Despite clever campaigning by the dairy industry, animal milk is not a necessary or desirable part of the human diet(9).

“Dairy milk is a perfectly balanced food for calves but for nothing else.”(10)

“Don’t believe the myth that you need dairy for calcium as there are other less harmful ways to get it in your diet.”(11)

Greg Chappell
Australian Cricketer, author

(10)   Chappell G (1998) “Health and Fitness Repair Manual: A Book for Men” Sydney: Hodder & Stoughton

(11)   From interview with Greg Chappell by Claudette Vaughan, January 2001. Animal Liberation NSW. Source: http://www.animal-lib.org.au/activists/celebrities/greg-chappell.htm

Cow with swollen udder on a modern dairy farm.(12)

(12)   Photo from original Vegan Outreach booklet

Feedlot Cattle

Many beef cattle are sent to barren feedlots to be fattened for the last few months of their lives. They are fed grain, an unnatural food for cattle, which causes digestive problems.  Large amounts of antibiotics are added to their feed in an attempt to correct the problem. This is a human health issue, as harmful bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics.(13)

(13)   Australian Dept of Health & Aged Care (2000) "The Commonwealth government response to the report of the Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance (JETACAR)" Canberra


Crammed together, often terrified and disorientated, animals stand in their own excrement while being transported to the abattoir.  They are deprived of food and water and most are forced to stand for the duration of the trip due to crowding.  By Australian guidelines trips can be up to 24 continuous hours for chickens and pigs, and up to 48 hours for cattle (14),(15),(16).  These conditions often result in 'downers' – animals too sick or weak to walk.

(14)   "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Land Transport of Poultry 2ed" (2006) by Primary Industries Standing Committee (PISC). Source: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=5391

(15)   "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Land Transport of Pigs" (2003) by Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM).  Source: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=1502

(16)   "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Land Transport of Cattle" (2002) by Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM).  Source: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=2483

A downed cow with her calf looking on.(17)

(17)   Photo from original Vegan Outreach booklet


Eating fish and seafood means pain and stress for millions of animals every year.

Industrial fishing is seriously damaging ocean ecosystems. Overfishing has already destroyed the natural balance of many ecosystems around the world to the point of collapse.

A conservative estimate of 60,000-97,000 tonnes of non-target animals – bycatch – are caught in Australian waters each year, including dolphins, turtles, dugong and seals. Bycatch represents up to 95% of the catch in Australian trawl fishing, and is well over 50% in most Australian commercial fisheries.(18)

(18)   Bureau of Resource Sciences "Summary of the non-target species catch, issues and related activities in Australian Government-managed fisheries".  Source: http://www.daffa.gov.au/brs/fisheries-marine/environment/summary_of_the_non-target_species_catch, _issues_and_related_activities_in_australian_government_-_managed_fisheries

Commercial Fishing Bycatch(19)

(19)   Photo courtesy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Fish farming is not the answer. Like other intensive animal production it can be very polluting, stressful for the overcrowded fish, and often wild fish are caught to feed to higher-value farmed fish.

“... not only do fish feel the same pain as cats and dogs and humans, but they are also highly intelligent. The most common form of cruelty in the world is fishing, and why? Because most people have no idea how sensitive and intelligent fish are.”

Richard Jones, Member of the NSW Legislative Council


Australia’s most beloved icons, kangaroos are killed by the million each year(20).

They are killed for their soft skins, used to make brand name sneakers, and for meat(21).

They are wild animals, not farmed. They are hunted at night, and not always killed instantly(22).

Joeys whose mothers are shot can legally be killed by swinging them against a tow bar, hitting them with a metal pipe, decapitation with a knife, or shooting. Joeys can escape however, and die a lonely death from starvation.(22)

(20)   Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2007) “Commercial Kangaroo Harvest in 2007” Source: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/wild-harvest/kangaroo/quota/2007.html

Gives total killed in 2007 as 2.986 million kangaroos.

Note figures given in this document don’t include illegal shooting, deaths of joeys who aren’t taken for processing, road-kill and other deaths caused by humans.

Some groups have grave concerns for the future of kangaroos with such high kill rates, for example the Kangaroo Protection Coalition http://www.kangaroo-protection-coalition.com/report.html

(21)   National Farmers Federation (1997) “Australian Agriculture 6ed” Hawthorn East: Morescope. 

(22)    Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) (2007) “National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies” Source: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/invitecomment/pubs/draft-code-kangaroos.pdf

Some poorly researched reports suggest eating kangaroos instead of other meat is part of the answer to our environmental problems.

Each Australian consumes on average 112kg of meat each year(23). Roos are small, even a large kangaroo can only yield about 12kg of meat(24). In 2006 their total population was about 24 million in areas where they are hunted(25). Kangaroos breed slowly, about one joey a year per female(26). If the average Australian was to substitute just 10% of their meat for kangaroo, simple maths reveals the entire kangaroo population would be wiped out in a little over one year (even forgetting exports of kangaroo flesh). Eating our national emblem won’t solve any environmental problems. A much better environmental strategy would be substituting vegies, not Skippy, for our meat.

(23)   Calculated from figures for domestic consumption of meat 2004-5, divided by population of Australia in 2004, from:

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) (2006) "Australian Food Statistics 2006" Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) http://www.abareconomics.com/publications_html/crops/crops_07/fstats_tables.pdf

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) "Population" in Year Book Australia 2006, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.  Human population of Australia was 20.1 million.

(24)   Hardman J (1996) “The wild harvest and marketing of kangaroos” Queensland Department of Primary Industries.

(25)   Dept Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (Commonwealth) “2006 Population estimates for kangaroos within the commercial harvest areas” http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/wild-harvest/kangaroo/population/2006.html

(26)   Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (2006) “Kangaroo” http://www.enotes.com/britannica-animals-encyclopedia/kangaroo

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