Cruelly Removing Cows’ Horns is Standard Practice on Most Dairy Farms

Think of a picture of a typical dairy cow and most people will not imagine an animal with horns. It is shocking to learn that nearly all cows are born with tissue on their heads that nature intended to grow into horns, but horns are removed by farmers using hot irons, caustic chemicals, blades and hand saws.

PETA and actor Casey Affleck are bringing awareness about the issue in a new video titled, “Dehorning: Dairy’s Dark Secret.” The campaign is calling to stop the cruelty of dehorning and for humane regulations to be put into place.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in 2010 that “more than nine out of ten dairy farms practice dehorning.” Without horns dairy cows kept in close quarters are less likely to injure each other.

PETA’s concern about the practice is that sensitive horn buds are removed most often in the United States on young calves only a few weeks old, without anesthesia or painkillers.

“Cows and calves struggle desperately during dehorning,” Affleck said. The video shows animals “thrashing, tossing their heads, rearing up, switching their tails, bellowing, and collapsing to the ground” as workers burn off or cut out the delicate horn tissue.

Lyndon Odell, CEO of Willet Dairy explained that dehorning is a “standard practice in agriculture” and done to protect both the animals and employees. “If you have an animal running around with a sharp horn, they can gore other animals that are in the same group with them or they can injure an employee that’s working with the animals.”

While the practice may be commonplace, countries such as Australia, Denmark and Sweden require an anesthetic be used on the cows; especially when dehorning is done on adult animals whose horns have grown into their skulls.

PETA states farmers are fully aware of the pain inflicted on the cows and believes one solution would be to breed for “naturally hornless cows.” Until that time, they are calling a boycott of dairy products.

Take Action: Stop Cruelty Of Cattle Dehorning



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Photo Credit: Lorenkerns


Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado4 years ago

Why remove the horns?

Judy C.
Judy collins5 years ago

i used to think eating dairy products was innocuous but after learning the horrors and mutilations that dairy cows experience, i have changed my opinion. they are raped on a "rape rack" by a guy sticking his arm up their rectum to artificially inseminate them...then have their babies ripped from them at only 1-3 days' old, and are sent to slaughter around age 4 when they are "spent." many become hamburger at our fast food restaurants...not to mention the dehorning! in israel, dehorning without anesthesia became illegal one day after the cruel practice was exposed to the general public. i'm trying to get 60 minutes or another media source to do the same here.

Nanci B.
Nanci B.5 years ago

Cattle dehorning is as humane or cruel as the operator selects. Cattle with horns fight and do unimaginable harm to their herd mates. Nature puts horns on cattle for fighting.. and unless you have seen what two cows can do to each other (broken hocks, gouged out eyes, stomachs torn apart ect.) you should reconsider the facts that you don't know.
The younger a cow/ bull is dehorned the less pain and disfiguration. Sawing off the horns of an adult animal is horrific !
Poor, painful dehorning is not necessary. Only stupid farmers want to hurt their animals.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Signed. Thanks for informing everyone.

Ely C.
E C5 years ago

if they really feel that horns have to be taken off to prevent fights or the animals goring each other--then why don't they just wait until the animals are a bit older and TRIM the horn? Petition signed.

Melania Padilla
Melania P5 years ago

Petition signed and shared!

Jacqueline Fonseca

Every time I see things like this, my heart sinks..... I've been changing the way my friends eat, one meal at a time. My boyfriend went vegan and I have friends making the change too. Some need to see the videos while others need to learn the science behind it..... Just because a government system says it's okay and supports doesn't make it right! USDA says it's okay to eat pink slime, government doesn't support GLBT rights (with few changes), fighting to label GMOs, etc.... We have to speak up and use our voices, We have to be the change that We want to see in the world, and We have to educate those who don't understand!

Carol Henderson
Carol Henderson5 years ago

I stopped eating and drinking dairy products years ago. I have just recently gone Vegan after viewing a short film on how animals are slaughtered. I still see those images in my minds eye. It is just disgusting that we allow this type of brutality continue. This inhumane treatment must be stopped and stopped NOW. Animals are living, breathing creatures. They feel pain just like we humans do. They also have souls, just like 'some' of us humans do.

Alex H.
Alex H5 years ago

Yes,the Dark Ages are alive and well,it seems,when it comes to animal welfare,or lack of it,in the USA!? I can't believe that this appalling cruelty,done with no anaesthetic,is perpertrated on the beautiful dairy cow,an animal that supposedly supplies a commodity people can't do without!!!!How would the ghouls carrying this out,like to have their fingernails pulled out without an anaesthetic?There's not much difference when it comes to the pain!

ann paveletz
.5 years ago

Valarie W. so eloquent your words leave me speechless! Ann