We all know that adoption (never buy from pet stores, breeders or imaginary “rescuers”) is the only humane way to add a companion animal to your family. Sponsoring an animal to an accredited wildlife sanctuary is also a fun and easy way to help provide care and vital resources without lifelong commitment and responsibility, not to mention a great replacement for the problematic practice of keeping pets in the classroom. So, naturally, “adopt a cow” programs, in which classes are combined with a cow or calf on a dairy farm, and a dairy industry representative shares certain information with students, can seem seems like a good idea. But when such programs are used, students learn the harmful lesson that the exploitation of vulnerable people is acceptable.
Compassionate educators like you strive to provide students with a fun and engaging learning experience, so it’s important to avoid adopting a cow programs. Here are five ways to exploit impressionable children and fraudulent schools:
1. Adopt a cow programs normalize cruelty to animals.
The farm presents information to students as part of its “adopt a cow” program, stating that it is raising calves in cages and feeding them pasteurized milk, which means they are being taken away from their mothers. By portraying this practice as routine and presenting it in a neutral manner, children understand that keeping calves away from their mothers is natural and acceptable. In fact, the bond between a cow and her calf is particularly strong, and there are countless reports of cows frantically calling out and searching for their calves after the calves were taken and sold to calf or beef farms.
2. Tame the Cow programs deliberately mislead students about the production of cow’s milk.
Some people do not understand that cows produce milk for the same reason as humans – to feed their young. To produce milk cost-effectively, female cows are fertilized annually through artificial insemination. Their calves are collected shortly after birth so that milk can be sold to humans. In adopting a cow programs, this blatant brutality is absent from student presentations.
3. Adopt a cow programs overlook how interesting and sensitive cows are, and boil down to simple milk-making machines.
If possible, cows feed their young and form lifelong friendships with each other. Some of them learn very quickly, while others are a little slower. Some are brave and adventurous, while others are shy and timid. Some are friendly and considerate, while others are bossy and mischievous. According to research, cows are generally quite intelligent animals that can memorize things for a long time. Behaviorists have found that they interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against those who mistreat them. These gentle giants mourn death and even separation from those they love, sometimes shedding tears over their loss.
4. Adopt a cow programs do not care about the health of your students.
More consumers are realizing the link between dairy consumption and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. In addition, dairy products are one of the main allergens among babies and children.
5. Adopt cow programs refuse to acknowledge that veganism is the future.
Vegan milk makes some of the tastiest foods in the world – cereals, lattes, and vegan ice cream to name a few – so it’s no surprise that the plant-based milk industry is booming. Consumers not only recognize that cow’s milk is bad for human health, they also learn that the myth of happy cows grazing on a grassy hill is far removed from the real suffering cows endure on dairy farms. Fortunately, there are many types of vegan milk on supermarket shelves!
Educators working in areas with traditional agricultural values may want to encourage students to adhere to these values, and this can be achieved by teaching them about the sharp global increase in demand for vegan products over the past few years – the number of people who identify themselves as vegans. The US is up 600% over a three-year period. Children can learn to grow crops that do well in their region, thus capitalizing on this trend towards plant-based diets.
The good news is that many accredited wildlife sanctuaries, including the Catskill Wildlife Sanctuary and Vine Wildlife Sanctuary, offer virtual learning programs in which students can “meet” and learn about animals that have been rescued from violent situations and tour objects of the reserve. Virtual tours are also a great option for observing animals in their natural habitat.
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