Millennium Post

Know your 'moo-ther'

Cows are sensitive animals that are capable of experiencing love, joy as well as deep anguish

Know your moo-ther

My cow has a moist circular patch on the muzzle and tips of her ears. Should I be concerned?

Rain scald is a skin disease seen in all ages of cattle, but particularly young animals. It is caused by a bacteria and is commonly associated with wet weather.

It begins as a moist circular patch, often with matted hairs which give a characteristic paint brush appearance. It is typically seen on muzzle, tips of ears, withers, but rapidly spreads and can involve up to half the skin area in severe cases.

There is no completely effective treatment, particularly for severe cases. Many antibiotics are effective, particularly penicillins. Keeping the skin dry (bringing

cattle indoor) is often more effective than any treatment. Injections of anti-inflammatories significantly improve cow

well-being and help to restore the cow to normal production. Local disinfection and treatment are necessary in more severe cases.

Is it true that only male cows have horns?

It is commonly believed that bulls have horns and cows do not. It is not true. The presence of horns depends on the breed not on the gender.

Do cows cry or grieve?

Cows do grieve for loved ones and mother cows cry for days after being separated from their babies.

Does milking a cow hurt the cow?

Most cow owners do not wash their hands, do not have soft hands or do not milk gently. Nor do they put any cream or lotion on the udders afterwards. More than 50 per cent of cows' udders become sore. They suffer from mastitis, an infection of the udders that cause swelling and makes milking very painful.

Does experimenting animals saves human lives?

We cannot decide on whether an experiment is justified or not by merely showing that it is of some use. In order to save human lives, animal testing should not be an option. More lives could be saved and suffering can be stopped by educating people on the importance of avoiding fat and cholesterol, the dangers of smoking, reducing alcohol and other drug consumption, exercising regularly, and cleaning the environment than by all the animal tests in the world. The distinction is not between useful and useless experiments, but between barbarous and civilised behaviour. There are some medical problems that can probably only be cured by testing on unwilling people, but we don't do it because we recognise that it would be wrong. We need to extend this same concern to other living, feeling beings, regardless of what species they may be.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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