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Dairy cows

Dairy cows, at average, don't live longer than four and a half years. In ideal circumstances they can reach the age of thirty, but their production level diminishes from the age of about six. During their lives they have a calf every year, because this is the only way to start the production of milk.
10% of the cows have to stay in the stable their entire life, to obtain a higher production level. If farmers will not be legally obliged to keep the animals on the meadow for a part of the year, by the year 2015 (as expected), 75% of all cows in the Netherlands will be kept inside.


The calf is taken away immediately or after a week at the most, to prevent bonding between mother and child. They are kept in hutches. These are the white, domed, igloo-like structures that some farmers use as outdoor "nurseries". The hutch keeps the young calves isolated from other calves. In their first eight weeks the calves have a strong tendency to suck. When they are not allowed to drink at their mother they would suck at the bodyparts of other calves.

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