Year of the Ox: How to Help Cows and Bulls

Posted by on February 12, 2021 | Permalink

Bulls don’t belong in bullrings. Cows aren’t milk machines, hamburgers, test tubes, or handbags. All these animals are individuals who want to live free from suffering, just like you and me, yet they continue to be subjected to violence at the hands of humans.

As we enter the Chinese Year of the Ox, let’s take a look at some of the worst ways humans exploit and torment cows and bulls – and how we can help end this suffering:

Dairy Production

On dairy farms, cows are forcibly impregnated via artificial insemination, only for their beloved calves to be torn away from them so the milk that nature intended for their babies can instead be consumed by humans. Mother cows and their calves are traumatised when separated from each other. For days afterwards, the mothers bellow in desperation and the calves bawl in distress – but they’ll never see each other again.

Male calves – who are viewed by farmers as “by-products” – are either shot at birth or raised for veal. Females, like their mothers, face a lifetime of repeated forcible impregnation and anguish over their lost babies. Their bodies are pushed to the limit in order to squeeze out every last drop of milk. Today, cows on British farms typically produce 10 times more milk than they naturally would in order to feed their calves.

When we drink cows’ milk, we steal from babies. Be kind to cows and drink plant milk instead:

Meat Production

Cows exploited for beef are often kept on intensive factory farms and may spend their entire lives indoors, never grazing in the open air or having space to move around. Even “grass-fed” cows usually spend some of their time indoors or in crowded faeces-filled feedlots.

Many cows are slaughtered when they’re just 18 months old. They’re shot in the head with an electric bolt gun in order to stun them – but exhausted, overworked workers often fail to do this properly, so many terrified cows go to their deaths kicking and screaming, still conscious as they’re skinned and dismembered.

This kind of cruelty is rampant in the meat industry, and no animal goes willingly to slaughter. The solution is simple, though: you can refuse to be a part of this violent cycle by keeping cows off your plate.


Every year, at least 40,000 bulls are violently killed in bullrings across Europe and approximately 250,000 animals are tortured in bullfights worldwide.

Bullfights mean a bloody, drawn-out, and excruciating death for bulls. Bullfighters taunt, exhaust, and stab each bull with a lance and several harpoon-like banderillas until he becomes weakened from blood loss. Then, the matador stabs the wounded animal with a sword, and if he doesn’t die straight away, other weapons are used to cut his spinal cord.

Many bulls are paralysed but still conscious as their ears or tail are cut off to be given to the matador as trophies and while they are dragged from the bullring.

Nothing about bloody bullfights is entertaining – and this cruel industry needs to be shut down for good. Will you help bulls by taking a stand against it?


In 2019, 5,486 cows and bulls were used in scientific procedures in Great Britain – like those at the University of Glasgow who were surgically implanted with ports in their abdomens in a procedure known as “cannulating” or “fistulating”. This mutilation has a four- to six-week recovery period, in which the animals are undoubtedly uncomfortable. And they definitely didn’t consent to the holes that were cut into their sides!

Similarly, experimenters at Aberystwyth University cannulated cows to gain access to their stomachs and intestines and glued urine-collecting equipment to others. Imagine how violated you would feel if someone did this to you.

Experimenters use cannulation ports to reach into cows’ stomachs and take samples to see the effects of different diets, but don’t be fooled – this barbaric practice benefits the meat and dairy industries’ bottom lines, not cows. Experimenters are optimising food and digestion to improve the “efficiency” of animals who will ultimately be exploited and slaughtered.

Cows are intelligent, sensitive animals who don’t deserve to be mutilated for any reason. It’s time for the UK to replace all experiments on animals, and we can help. Urge the government to mandate an end to all animal tests:


The majority of leather is produced using the hides of cows farmed for their flesh or used for dairy until no longer profitable. They endure all the horrors of factory farming – including intensive confinement to filthy pens, castration without pain relief, chronic infections and disease caused by extreme crowding, and a terrifying trip to the abattoir.

Many cows in countries like India and Bangladesh – where a lot of the leather used in Europe comes from – are beaten mercilessly during “death marches” across hundreds of kilometres. When animals collapse from hunger, exhaustion, injury, or despair, handlers force them to their feet by breaking their tails at each joint or rubbing tobacco, chillies, or salt into their eyes.

Once at the abattoir, they see their companions slaughtered with dull knives right in front of them. Stunning is not always efficient, so sometimes, cows’ legs are hacked off while they’re still conscious, and some endure the agony of being skinned alive.

Stella McCartney Exposes the Leather Industry from PETA UK on Vimeo.

Cows’ skin doesn’t belong on our backs – it belongs on theirs. There are so many vegan leather options available today that subjecting cows to this cruelty is not only sadistic but also entirely pointless. Vegan leather makes you look and feel good, because you know no one had to suffer for your clothes. Start wearing vegan today:

What You Can Do

Cows and bulls are intelligent animals with emotions and unique personalities. Some are very quick learners, some are bold and adventurous, and others are shy. But what they all have in common is the ability to feel pain and fear.

It makes a world of a difference to cows and bulls when we choose to live compassionately, and it’s so easy for us to make choices that are kind to them. Let’s makes this Chinese New Year one that changes the lives of these animals.