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The Rape Rack

June 15, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Perhaps the only thing that the animal agriculture industry and animal rights activists can agree upon is the name of the device in which dairy cows are impregnated – the “rape rack.”

Female cows restrained in a device reffered to as the "rape rack."

Female cows restrained in a device referred to as the “rape rack”

The “rape rack” is a narrow, chute-like device in which female cows are restrained while they undergo a process the dairy industry euphemistically refers to as “artificial insemination.” During artificial insemination (AI), a dairy worker inserts one of his arms into the rectum of a restrained cow and, with his other arm, inserts a rod-like device called an Al gun into her vagina. The Al gun, which contains bull semen, is pushed in further until it reaches the cervix (the entrance to the uterus). The semen is then injected into the uterus.

A diagram illustrated how to artificially inseminate a female cow.

A diagram illustrates how to artificially inseminate a female cow.

Many supporters of animal rights argue that forcibly impregnating cows constitutes sexual abuse. “As public awareness of its barbaric practices increases, the dairy industry is desperate to whitewash them,” said Kathy Stevens, the Executive Director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary. “They can call this practice ‘artificial insemination’ if they wish, but impregnation against one’s will using forcible restraint pretty much sounds like rape to me.”

A female cow undergoing the process of artificial insemination.

Artificial Insemination

In order to produce milk, cows and other animals used for dairy production must be impregnated each year because their milk production stops at around the time their calves would naturally stop nursing.

To maximize the amount of milk available for human consumption, babies are typically taken away from their mothers within 24 hours of birth, causing profound distress to both the mother and her newborn. Mother cows bellow and call to their babies for days following the separation. Some of the babies are sent directly to the slaughterhouse, to veal farms, or to feedlots; the rest become dairy cows like their mothers.        

Dairy industry diagram illustrates the different ways to profit off of male calves, who cannot produce milk.

Dairy industry diagram illustrates the different ways to profit off of male calves, who cannot produce milk.

The psychological and physical stresses of life in the dairy industry rapidly weaken and/or sicken cows, quickly rendering them unprofitable to their owners. They are therefore sent to slaughter at a fraction of their natural lifespan. When the cows arrive at the slaughter plant, they often need to be dragged to the kill floor because they are too weak to walk.

A cow too weak to walk (downer) is pulled into a truck which will carry her into the slaughter plant.

A cow too weak to walk (downer) is pulled into a truck which will carry her into the slaughter plant.

A 2014 horror film entitled “The Herd” vividly depicts the torment endured by cows in the dairy industry. This film, directed by Melanie Light, portrays a fictional dairy farm in which the cows are replaced with human women.

In an interview with “Shock Till You Drop,” a website devoted to reviewing horror films, Light, who describes herself as a “vegan feminist,” said: “A lot of people don’t make the connection. Being female isn’t exclusive to humans . . .These cows, pigs and sheep are abused for their reproductive systems.”

Over the years, the term “rape rack” has gradually disappeared from the dairy industry’s vernacular. “It used to be common parlance in dairy farming. Today, farmers are far more savvy about terminology—as are other industries that use animals” says Katie Arth of PETA. “As a result, that term has vanished from the farmers’ vocabulary in the same way that ‘iron maidens’ and ‘restraint chairs’ have been renamed ‘sow stalls’ and ‘gentling devices.’ The industry now prefers to use euphemisms such as ‘breeding boxes’ to describe the boxes or chutes where female cows are restrained while a worker forcibly inseminates them.”

A restrained female cow undergoing artificial insemination.

A restrained female cow undergoing artificial insemination

Your Turn

To learn more about artificial insemination please visit Free From Harm.

To learn about other dairy industry practices and undercover investigations done on dairy farms please visit Mercy for Animals.

To watch “The Herd” in full, click here



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TheirTurn.net Comments

  1. Marju Rose says:

    I agree with the most of the comments here and am against mega agribusinesses and their cruel dealings with animals, especially dairy cows.However, not all farmers are like that. There is the calf killing argument and yes, it is a tough one and I do not believe it will ever be solved. I spend my summers and holidays on a small farm owned by my grandparents and my aunt; five cows, some sheep, hens and two horses. I learnt a lot about cows and also milked them by hand already as a nine year old and younger.The cows had names and they lived up to 15 years of age and were not sold to slaughter after few years of milk production. They did not give terribly much milk either, but the average, and my granddad must have thought it ok. I was young and did not think about things like these then, but remember the sadness when he calves were sent to a slaughter house.I was always at school when it happened, but when I saw the pens empty and of course, it was a terrible day. But new calves arrived, year after year, that is how it works. In the ideal world we could keep a cow as she is happy to share her plentiful milk between her human family and her calf as a cow makes a lot of it and there is too much for one calf. If money was not the motive for keeping a cow, a house cow could live many years till ripe old age and then retire on he field till she sleeps away, providing she is not in any pain. The calves could be sold to become milkers to other house cow keepers but the problem would always be the bull calves which nobody keeps as pets. They can be castrated and trained to work on land as they are strong and can pull loads, but such work is veeeeery slow. In reality, it has to be only a hobby to have a pair of oxen for farm work. So, the main issue is the death of bull calves. Keeping a house cow or two as long as they live is ok, dairy produce is ok and good for you, cows are lovely and we need their manure to grow good organic crops. A cow is a real miracle worker, unfortunately she is seen only as a money maker. If I could,I would keep a little cow, one of those that wander freely around the farm and like to come into he house. Cannot let them in of course as they do poo anywhere, but you know what I mean.read about cows.

    Also, a word to those who believe that cows are raped.
    As much as they do like to be petted, brushed and treated lovingly, they do not have same emotions about ‘luuurv’ as humans. A cow goes in season few weeks after giving birth. This means that she is ready and willing to mate to become pregnant again. If she does not get pregnant, the same hormonal cycle brings her back to season some weeks later, again and again until she gets pregnant. She will be willing only for few fours and this is important to a farmer to know, as any other time she will not get pregnant. The farmer needs to watch this time to take the cow to a bull of have her artificially inseminated. A cow mates with any bull, young bullock or and old veteran, as her hormones and instincts guide her to fulfil her natural purpose, to breed.She does not think or plan to have babies, and an idea of an bull-boyfriend is an alien thought to her too. If the bull lives with the herd, he mates will all his ladies, once a year, one after another when they are ready but does not pay attention to his offspring. All cows are single mothers while their ‘husbands’ have fun with other ladies in the field. In the wild, cows and other hoofed animals like antelopes, buffaloes and so on, have a calf every year. The calf stays with his mother for about a year till a new calf is born. If the older calf is female, she will join the herd but if it is a bull calf, he will be chased away from the herd and will have to fend for himself. Usually young bulls find other bulls and join together to form a wandering teenage herd, or maybe a ‘gang’. In both cases year old calves will be pushed away from their mother quite brutally and will feel vulnerable. They cannot understand why there is a new calf and why their mum only has eyes for her. If a cow does not have a chance get pregnant she will moo and make a lot of noise, jump over fences to escape to find any bull to mate. Nothing she can do about this, it is her nature. And when in modern agriculture cows are artificially inseminated, they also are in season in the right time and will willingly accept the procedure. If they could think they would gratefully give their consent to finally get freedom from their raging hormonal tortures and energy zapping urges which force them to escape and find some bull somewhere to calm them down by making them pregnant. At least she does not have to trot miles around the county mooing her head off in the night in hope a bull would hear her. Experienced inseminators know what they are doing and the job is all done in minutes and peace will return. People who don’t know anything about cows should not make comments but go and learn few facts about them first. Also, thye should stop comparing animals to people, especially cows to mothers, it is sickening. Or, if they insist, then maybe they should look at the cow mother again and hvae chat with her after her second ‘child’ is born as she has just abandoned her first one, only a year old, horrid!
    However, back to the barn. The cow is a big beast and some are nervous, especially young heifers and they have to be restrained for their own and others’ safety. On huge farms cows do not get much human contact and can be shy. Most cows are not bothered with the inseminating business really but stand quietly, some are more anxious, but that does not mean that they are forcibly ‘raped’ like Peta likes to inform. There is no point in randomly ‘raping’ a cow,(sounds disgusting) as she would not even get pregnant. Cows are often restrained for normal everyday reasons like vet’s inspections,TB testing and hoof care. They are used to the restrainer but naturally do not like it. To someone who is not used seeing farm animals and their carers, some things might not look very nice or could seem even cruel, but working with animals is not romantic and it can be dangerous too. Just trimming a hoof requires restraining a cow and she will do her best to avoid the crush (yes, the ‘cage’ they are put in is called that, but not ‘crushed’ like someone no doubt next will try to tell us), yet her hoof needs trimming or it will crack and cause pain and lameness. It looks like a hard handed job but it is not. Cruelty in (factory) farming is wide spread and should not be tolerated. Animals are not respected, they are business. Farmers keep their cows healthy because they need to, a sick cow brings nothing in except vet bills. Luckily there are better and kinder farmers out there too, we must not generalise. I believe however that if farms were smaller,there would be less stress and more connection between animals and their carers and that would be a good thing, but only if the farmers genuinely love their animals.(And if they really learn to see them as interesting individuals they’d love them more and eventually, hopefully, would stop sending them to slaughter but would turn heir farms into vegetable production.)

  2. Essa lógica desse argumento baseia-se no indumento que seria estranho e também a
    difícil confirmação um príncipe apresentar-se em
    um terreiro de umbanda, carregando um tridente, declarar estar morando no cemitério, aceitar
    farofa, óleo desde dendê, charuto e também cachaça como oferenda,
    e ainda receber ordens com um índio ou com um escravo.

  3. Intactivist For Human Rights says:

    It’s insanity how humans may think that it’s okay to commodify non-human animals as things to produce products for them. Then they may say well I treat them kind so it’s okay that I murder them later on to needlessly be another human’s snack. If treating a non-human animal kindly while violating their bodies is okay then the same may be said of humans who may choose to enslave other humans for their ‘milk’ & ‘flesh’ as long as they allegedly treat them kindly even though the humans themselves never wanted to have their ‘lactations’ stolen from them. If one murdered a human needlessly for their flesh to become another humans burger, it’s still murder no matter how kindly you treated them before you forcefully ended their life. Humans can thrive on a plant-based diet, there is no genuine excuse in this day & age to needlessly murder & steal the secretions of non-human animals.

    If any of you own a prison for non-human animals & claim you are treating them kindly on some sorta paradise as you steal their secretions & murder them for their flesh then I hope you choose to wake up to a heart of compassion & choose to stop stealing & exploiting them especially when in this day & age it’s not necessary to commodify non-human animals.

    Thank you to everyone who chooses to stop commodifying non-human animals & chooses to partake in a ‘plant-based’ diet.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Why shouldn’t we feel free to judge? You don’t think what is done to animals in factory farms should be judged? Forcibly confined, abused, inpregnated, never allowed in an open field, babies stolen and murdered, life span reduced from 16 to 4 years, slaughtered once you are too weak to walk. What if it were your dog, your wife, your daughter?? Then would it be ok to judge? What on earth or in someones screwed up mind makes them feel its their right to hurt another being? How do you assume to know what they think or feel? Just because they can’t talk or fight back makes it ok? Wow, that’s sick. Its a good thing the same doesn’t go for people who are tortured, raped, abused, & murdered. Well they were young, helpless, couldn’t talk, or defend themselves. So it’s ok, right?

  5. galazzo says:

    this is a sad world we have to change it givig the right place to the animals

  6. galazzo says:

    it’s so sad to see the way human treat animals only for they plaisir and eating this society see them like machines and have to change to make place to a other completly diferent on news bases i hope it is coming soon because i am not the only one!

  7. Dale says:

    I invite anyone to come to our farm and see how our beef cows are raised. Stick around for a year and experience what it means to feed the world. See our animals close up as they are all tame. Then feel free to judge us farmers once you have walked in our shoes…and witnessed what ai actually is, and why its done.

  8. It’s Heartbreaking and Inhumane in so many ways!!. From the Rape to the Slaughter!!. How I Pray that Animals be Treated with Dignity and Compassion, in a World of Shame and Greed!!

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