Cows suffer from mastitis, the same as human females and can feel the same pain and discomfort.
In an article by Canada’s Alberta agriculture department, the description of Mastitis follows the lines of most governments attitudes towards animals we use for food and drinks, that is, to regard the animal as a production unit, stating that mastitis is a growing problem in beef herds, and can result in weaning weights being reduced by 7% to 12.5% with most mastitis cases involving one quarter (one teat) of the udder, with normal milk production from the other three quarters. Overall milk yield is lower, reducing weaning weights, reducing profitability of the operation.
Any human female who has suffered from mastitis will tell you that it is a truly painful condition, causing a hardness to the breast. Initial symptoms are nausea and vomiting, a fever and pain in the breat tissue. As the condition worsens the breast goes completely hard, hot and red and milk is coming in but cannot be expressed which can be agony. Treatment needs to be quick and fortunately symptoms can be relieved by anti-biotics and painkillers along with a nasal spray which allows the milk to flow again.
Back to the article..
A bag that is swollen, hot, and red can detect Peracute mastitis. The cow may flinch or kick when the bag is touched because the bag is sensitive. Milk production is reduced. A general fever may be present, depression, shivering, rapid weight loss, and appetite loss occurs in many cases. In very severe cases death may occur. Mastitis can reduce fertility (first service conception rates) and delay the onset of heat cycles in cattle. Older cows, are at greater risk of getting mastitis. Older cows typically have larger bags than younger cows. The chance of physical injury by being stepped on is greater….
I don’t need to add more, I think you should get the point here. I have seen cows with large udders (or bags as they seen to be called here – have you noticed it is easier to mistreat and abuse animals if we don’t use proper names for things – just as most will call cows ‘beef’ and pigs ‘pork’). One cow in particular could hardly walk and was in obvious pain. Most cows in this condition have a sever case of mastitis and will probably not be of much use to the dairy industry. Usually if a cow does not recover and regain a good production, it will be sent to slaughter. Not a kind killing but a financial one.
I long for a time when suffering animals will be treated well because they deserve to be, not because humans get something from it. Compassion seems to be missing from this and most other documents you will read about the keeping of cattle for meat and dairy production. Surely it is time that this changes. Of course, I long for a day when the world is vegan but until then, at least treat animals as living beings, capable of intellegence, fear and pain.