Two million calves are born each year on UK Dairy Farms.
These calves are forcibly impregnated for the first time at 14 – 28 months old, and – after giving birth every year to keep the milk flowing – slaughtered once her body is worn out at about 6 years old.
Each cow is milked for at least 10 months of every year of her adult life.
For 7 months out of that 10 she is both pregnant AND lactating.
She will yield between 25 and 50 litres of milk per day, 7 to 14 times more than her calf would naturally drink.
To facilitate the production of milk each cow is re-impregnated 2 – 3 months after giving birth.
She would naturally suckle her calf for 9 months to a year, but in dairy farming her offspring are removed within a day or two.
Male calves are an unwanted by-product and are shot after birth, or sold for veal production.
This is the invisible face of all milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt, butter and chocolate.
Original painting: acrylic paint on A4 canvas board.
Video of the painting.