An aerial drone investigation by Mercy For Animals reveals the horrifying treatment of calves at industrial dairy farms.

The newborns are taken from their mothers just after birth because the farm can’t sell a mother’s milk if her calf drinks it first. Then the babies are placed in cramped hutches that they barely fit into. For hours and sometimes days after separation, distressed mothers cry out in search of their calves, who are so young they must be formula-fed.

Adult cows are subjected to endless cycles of forced impregnation and machine milking, which takes a massive toll on their health and causes them to die at a fraction of their natural lifespan. The calves stuffed into hutches await the same fate, and are referred to as “replacement calves,” a term that connotes their status as nothing more than a means of profit. Put simply, beyond their ability to yield milk, there is no value placed on the lives or well-being of cows at industrial dairy farms.

It’s no coincidence that factory farms are often surrounded by tall, solid fences with barbed wire – the inhumane conditions these cows are forced to live in are deliberately kept from public view. Investigative work by animal rights organizations such as MFA is crucial to raising awareness about the abuse that goes on every day. Armed with the facts, we can make more compassionate choices — like choosing plant-based milk — to help stop the cruelty.