(CELEBRITY ACTIVISM) Just in case you needed one more reason to fangirl over Ryan Gosling all day, it turns out The Notebook star is not just a pretty face, but also someone with a compassionate spirit. This time, Gosling recently teamed up with PETA and penned a letter to the National Milk Producers Federation asking for the termination of dehorning—a painful practice of “burning horn tissue or gouging cows’ horns out of their heads, often without the use of any painkillers.” Read on to find out what Gosling suggests should be the alternative of this awful practice. — Global Animal
Animal lovers may have one more reason to love Ryan Gosling.
This week, the actor voiced his concern for the welfare of cows in a letter sent to the National Milk Producers Federation. He specifically requested that dairy farmers phase out the “barbaric practice” of “dehorning” calves.
As he described in the letter provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to The Huffington Post, “dehorning” is “a painful process in which calves have their horns gouged out or sensitive horn tissue burned out of their heads.”
“There is absolutely no reason — and no excuse — for the cruel, unnecessary practice of dehorning to continue,” Gosling added.
He went on to suggest breeding for polled (naturally hornless) cattle instead.
April 1, 2013
President and CEO
National Milk Producers Federation
Dear Mr. Kozak,
I was shocked to learn from my friends at PETA about a practice in the dairy industry called “dehorning,” which involves painfully burning horn tissue or gouging cows’ horns out of their heads, often without the use of any painkillers. I respectfully urge the National Milk Producers Federation to take the lead in stopping this barbaric practice by requiring farmers to phase out dehorning by breeding for polled, or naturally hornless, cattle.
Dehorning is one of the most painful things done to cows on dairy farms, whether it is by burning a calf with a searing hot iron or applying caustic paste to create a chemical burn that eats away at the animal’s flesh. As recognized in your FARM Program’s standards, the pain of the removal procedure is even worse once horns start to develop and take root in a calf’s skull. Workers use sharp tools—including saws, sharp wires, or gruesome guillotine dehorners, which may also cut into the surrounding skin—to cut the horns out of an animal’s skull. Calves struggle frantically, bellowing in pain, thrashing, and sometimes collapsing to the ground, and workers restrain them manually or put their heads in a metal apparatus to hold them by their necks.
As you know, there is a simple and humane alternative: breeding for polled cows. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and third-party animal welfare auditing groups recognize the benefits of polled genetics for the dairy industry, so there is absolutely no reason—and no excuse—for the cruel, unnecessary practice of dehorning to continue. Please do the right thing and take action today.
Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing your decision.
A National Milk Producers Federation spokesman argued to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the practice of dehorning cuts down on injuries to humans and cows.
According to an April, 2012 post of the American Veterinary Medical Organization website, there are some “advantages” to dehorning, but the act is not currently regulated in the U.S. and the post concluded, “Minimizing pain associated with disbudding and dehorning is important to limiting the pain-stress-distress cascade that creates altered behavioral and physiologic states… Including polledness in selection indexes and long term breeding strategies has the potential to reduce and eventually eliminate the need to dehorn.”