The Dairy Cow: The Most Overworked Mother On The Planet

The dairy cow normally has her first calf at the age of two when she will be producing around 35 liters of milk a day. In subsequent lactations this figure rises even higher. She will continue to be milked for 10 months - but will be made pregnant again in the third month.

Professor John Webster, Department of Animal Husbandry, Bristol University says: "The dairy cow is a supreme example of an overworked mother. She is the hardest working of all our farm animals and it can be scientifically calculated. It is equivalent to a jogger who goes out for six to eight hours a day which is a lunatic pursuit. He states that almost 100 per cent of cows suffer from laminitis - a disease which causes 'great pain to the cow' (MAFF). Tissue lining of the foot becomes inflamed and may lead to ulcers. Professor Webster continues: "To understand the pain of laminitis it helps to imagine crushing your finger nails in the door then standing on your fingertips."

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