Educational science syndicated strip Beakman & Jax has caused a furore in the dairy world with a flurry or protests.
Answering the question "how can a cow have a baby at 15 months old", the strip talks about how a cow is a mature adult at 15 months, then talks down the factory farming of cows as opposed to the image people have of them. And the dairy farms weren't impressed.
In a letter to cartoonist Jok Church, copied to thesyndicate, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman states that the strip is
filled with errors, inaccuracies and outright lies. You have done a great disservice to America's hard-working dairy farm families and to consumers who purchase dairy products…. It appears you have an agenda to push, which is more important to you than educating your readers with the truth…First, a 15-month-old calf is called a 'yearling,' not a 'cow' as you state. In addition, dairy cows are mature when they have their first calf-usually around 24 months of age. There is no way on earth that a cow could calve at 15 months. That would require her to be bred at six months of age, which does not happen.
A Connecticut farmer also wrote to their local newspaper, saying;
Ninety-eight percent of U.S. dairy farms are family-operated businesses, not factory farms. Farmers provide their cows with nutritionally balanced food, clean bedding, sanitary milking facilities and humane treatment. Cows are not mature enough to have a calf until at least 24 months, not 15 months of age.
A cow's diet is corn silage (preserved corn) mixed with haylage (preserved hay), dried hay and small amounts of grain. Excess grain induces gastrointestinal problems resulting in decreased milk production.
Connecticut dairy farmers employ 4,000 people, adding $1.1 billion to the local economy. Please check these and many other facts about the dairy industry in Connecticut at www.ctmilk.org.
However, despite tackling discrepancies of fact in the original strip, and its deviance from the question, there are still many major concerns about American dairy farming, especially regarding the act of tail docking…