Oscar-nominated actor Ryan Gosling has just sent a letter on PETA's behalf to the National Milk Producers Federation urging officials to require dairy farmers to begin phasing out "dehorning"—a painful process in which calves have their horns gouged out or sensitive horn tissue burned out of their heads.
“I was shocked to learn from my friends at PETA about a practice in the dairy industry called “dehorning,” which involves painfully burning horn tissue or gouging cows’ horns out of their heads, often without the use of any painkillers," wrote Gosling. "I respectfully urge the National Milk Producers Federation to take the lead in stopping this barbaric practice by requiring farmers to phase out dehorning by breeding for polled, or naturally hornless, cattle.
“Dehorning is one of the most painful things done to cows on dairy farms, whether it is by burning a calf with a searing hot iron or applying caustic paste to create a chemical burn that eats away at the animal’s flesh. As recognized in your FARM Program’s standards, the pain of the removal procedure is even worse once horns start to develop and take root in a calf’s skull. Workers use sharp tools—including saws, sharp wires, or gruesome guillotine dehorners, which may also cut into the surrounding skin—to cut the horns out of an animal’s skull. Calves struggle frantically, bellowing in pain, thrashing, and sometimes collapsing to the ground, and workers restrain them manually or put their heads in a metal apparatus to hold them by their necks.
“As you know, there is a simple and humane alternative: breeding for polled cows. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and third-party animal welfare auditing groups recognize the benefits of polled genetics for the dairy industry, so there is absolutely no reason—and no excuse—for the cruel, unnecessary practice of dehorning to continue. Please do the right thing and take action today.”