Bizarre form of torture for dairy cows

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Bizarre form of torture for dairy cows

On the heels of our Cow Ribbon campaign, comes this bizarre video from a company called AnimartInc. It features their device, the UdderSinge.  It’s pretty much what it sounds like, believe it or not:

Udder Singe uses a low temperature flame to remove hair from the udder and belly to aid in reducing mastitis incidences and somatic cell counts, thereby increasing milk quality.

Udder Singe is designed to remove hair quickly and painlessly, using a 6″ cool flame, eliminating the need to clip udders. The Udder Singe wand should be held about 2-4″ below the udder and belly to make a quick pass to singe off hair that can trap in mastitis and high somatic cell causing debris and bacteria. (link)

cow with swollen and distended udder

A dairy cow suffering from mastitis. (Photo: British Veterinary Association)

First off, yes, mastitis is a painful and potentially fatal disease.  Though not seen exclusively in the dairy industry (for example, human moms can get it too), it is incredibly common in dairy cows, who are exposed constantly to bacteria as a result of milking machines.  What the cheerful ad copy fails to communicate is the industry’s primary concern in regards to mastitis: it is an expensive disease.  The National Mastitis Council estimates that it costs farmers more than $200 per cow, and in Canada, it is the second most common reason for culling.  In the U.S., mastitis costs the industry between 1.7 and 2 billion dollars a year.  It’s no surprise that they’d be looking for a way to reduce it.

Back to the first part of the text, which claims that the flame is “painless”.  What an assertion!  Udders are sensitive and filled with pain receptors, and the idea that it doesn’t hurt to expose them to fire is absurd.  Some people shave–perhaps they should consider taking a low temperature torch to their faces, legs, etcetera.  Hey, apparently it’s painless!

You can watch a video of the UdderSinge in action here: points out that though the video says that the audio is turned off because it’s used at trade shows–which I guess are held at places with no volume control?–it’s entirely possible that there’s no sound because it might reveal how the cows really feel about having their udders “passed over” with a butane torch.

1 Comment

marv wheale

June 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm

It no longer astounds me the methods men invent to inflict cruelty. It is so commonplace. I don’t think we can overcome speciesism without eradicating patriarchy.

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