This vegetarian awareness month, PETA India points to shocking sexual abuse on farms

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From routine rape of cows to manipulation of hens' reproductive systems, animals face sexual violence for meat, milk, and eggs.

Since cows and buffaloes produce milk in order to feed their own babies, just as humans do, dairy farmers keep them almost constantly pregnant. (Photo: Pixabay)

Mumbai: As the movement against sexual violence gains momentum in India – and during Vegetarian Awareness Month (October) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India is urging the public to take a stand against all forms of sexual violence by eating vegan. The group points out the meat, dairy, and egg industries are built on the sexual abuse and exploitation of female animals.

"Anyone who abhors sexual abuse should know that the exploitation of female bodies is at the very core of the meat, dairy, and egg industries," says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Dipti Kapoor. "PETA India urges everyone to reject all forms of sexual violence and the systematic exploitation of female animals' reproductive systems by going vegan."

Since cows and buffaloes produce milk in order to feed their own babies, just as humans do, dairy farmers keep them almost constantly pregnant. To impregnate a female cow or buffalo, several farmers usually tie her to a rack and hold her down. One jams an arm far into her rectum and then forces an instrument into her vagina as she struggles, helpless. Calves are torn away from their mothers soon after birth. If they're male, they're typically abandoned, left to starve, or sent to slaughter, and if they're female, they're generally separated from their mother and put on milk replacer – all so that the milk meant for them can be sold to humans.

Female cows and buffaloes' bodies are manipulated by being bred or drugged to produce unnaturally high quantities of milk. Even though administering the hormone oxytocin to stimulate the release of more milk is illegal in India, the practice is common, and the drug causes the animals pain similar to that of labour. When their milk production wanes, they're usually abandoned or sent to slaughter.

In the egg and meat industries, workers force male chickens to produce semen and then drag hens out of packed wire cages to inject it into one of them after the other using the same unhygienic syringe.

PETA India also notes that in the egg industry, hens' bodies are manipulated to produce hundreds of eggs per year, even though their wild ancestors laid only about 15 a year. This takes its toll on the birds' bodies, leaving them susceptible to conditions like osteoporosis and bone breakage. They're forced to spend their lives confined to tiny wire battery cages that are often covered with faeces and so restrictive that they can't even stretch out a single wing, causing their muscles and bones to deteriorate further.