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Cowboy Willie Nelson

Stands Up For Cows

3/26/2008 3:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0326_nelson_cow-1Willie Nelson thinks you should know a thing or two about some cows. The country crooner is joining in on a campaign along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to raise awareness about cruel-and illegal-living conditions for calves raised to produce milk for dairy products. Moo! Boo!

Specifically, they are targeting Land O'Lakes and Challenge Dairy to get them to stop using milk from calves that come from California's Mendes Calf Ranch - which employs an intensive confinement practice (keeping calves in cramped, filthy crates - sometimes without room to turn around or lie down) and is the subject of a lawsuit brought by the ALDF.

Nelson has written a letter to the companies and is urging others to join the petition, www.FreeBabyMendes.com, that is already 22,000 people strong.

TMZ.com contacted Mendes Calf Ranch who had no comment on the issue.

Mommas, don't let your baby calves grow up to be milk cows at Mendes indeed.

64 COMMENTS

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31.

Kelli    

LOL at #32. Country girl, Willie has been a farmer for years. I trust he knows his cause. He is talking about filthy conditions. Check out the petition.

2216 days ago
32.

lolathecat    

okay how dumb and not funny are the comments about how yummy steaks are and how you want to eat a burger (insert animal product here). Yuk, Yuk, Yuk. Obviously the Animal Defense League (and Willy) are 100% certain abuse is happening, they just didn't randomly pick a dairy farm and took a chance with being misinformed. It's a noble cause, Willie is a decent man and shame on you idiots (ehum, David...) that A) can't articulate his thoughts and B) have no empathy for LIVING, breathing, feeling animals.

2216 days ago
33.

jwoolman    

At first I thought they were confusing full-grown dairy cows with veal calves, who are certainly miserably confined before slaughter, but I googled Animal Legal Defense League plus dairy calves and the problem with the Mendes facility is indeed cruel confinement of calves being raised for eventual milk production when they become full-grown cows. Only city-bred TMZ staffers would think that milk comes directly from the baby cows...

The male calf is typically taken from its mother very early, when just one or two days old, with a short life ending in slaughter for veal (veal calves) unless they are to be used for breeding. The girl calves can be used as dairy cows later when they are mature, so they are more likely to be kept in the herd to be raised to maturity although they are also likely to be allowed to benefit from their mother's milk only for a brief time. Factory farms like Mendes go further - they confine the calves (and the cows) for convenience all their lives, without opportunities for sufficient exercise.

The situation is even worse for veal calves destined for slaughter to make veal. Their movement is even more severely restricted to make the meat more tender, and they are fed a milk substitute with certain important essential nutrients missing (iron, fiber especially) to make the meat white. They are killed after about 4 months of misery. If you've ever seen a real young calf -- they like to run around, just like young humans. The lucky ones are killed soon after birth, but there is less meat then.

Obviously it doesn't have to be done that way, since I see happy cows grazing in local pastures often enough. But big producers ("factory farms", in contrast to smaller family farms) especially want to maximize the profits and don't particularly care about the resulting pain and suffering. There's a similar problem with chicken egg (and meat) factories, where the hens are crammed in small quarters and debeaked and also periodically starved to maximize egg laying. Breeding pigs are similarly abused by such confinement.

Small producers are more likely to have happier conditions, so if you feel compelled to eat such animals, eggs, and dairy products -- it's good to pay attention to where the animals came from and how they are raised (buy local from small farmers, avoid factory farms).

2216 days ago
34.

Kelli    

Wow jwoolman, thanks. Ya did your research.I hope this clears it up.

2216 days ago
35.

lolathecat    

Way to go jwoolman! Smart people to respond *occasionally.* Now all you heartless fools can shut up.

2216 days ago
36.

Kelli    

HAHA! Little Lor Lor!

2216 days ago
37.

mgt    

This petition is bogus as calves don't produce milk!!!! Another politically motivated claim by another uneducated organization. If they knew what they were talking about they would realize that a cow cannot produce milk until she has become pregnant.

2216 days ago
38.

Fiona    

To No. 11 - the dairy girl. I live in a dairying region in Australia and believe me our calves are not treated anywhere like that! They (OMG) run free and can play and jump and kick (that's what they actually do in their natural setting in case you don't know) I would definitely not buy any product made from a place like that. Surely there's plenty of room in America, it's not necessary to subject the calves to this. I can only imagine what the milking cows' conditions are like.

2216 days ago
39.

cowboy    

Hey, mgt, why don't you read the post above yours. The calves are dairy cows who are warehoused before they're sexually mature and capable of lactation. That doesn't make it any less cruel.

2216 days ago
40.

AmberMarieW    

I don't need to be raised on an effing dairy farm to know that this isn't right! DairyGirl how would you like it if I took you away from your mom into a crate you could barely move in and let you live there for 90 days. Would that be OK with you? If this is how America treats it's dairy cows then I am no longer drinking dairy. I rarely eat beef product as it is, this is just another one I can add to the list!

2216 days ago
41.

hater    

hypocrites...all of you who support this. I suppose none of you are gonna eat meat or drink milk now, right? If you are, take your signature off the list because you are, in essence, supporting this practice if you continue to do such. Don't fool yourselves, this is not the only company that engages in these practices, just the one that has been singled out by whackjob over the top animal lovers. Move to India if you love cows so much....survival of the fittest and *NEWSFLASH* as of this point, humans are the fittest....

2216 days ago
42.

Mom of Three    

Love you, Willie! You're awesome and REAL.

2216 days ago
43.

Debbie    

Stop eating veal long time ago, and if this keeps up, I will quit beef all the way, There is no reason for these cow and calves to suffer.... NONE! IM with Willie all the way, and as of today NO land o lakes Until this stops...... Where 's Freakin Peta when you need them...................................

2216 days ago
44.

Art    


ATTN, PLEASE: Mr. Willie Nelson's Mom put him in a crib for the first part of his life because she loved him, he turned out alright. (I THINK!) Most babys spend the first few months of thier life in cribs. It's the same for baby calfs!

2216 days ago
45.

gt2fly 4u    

Ok, stupid people. Calves can't give milk,morons, only cows can, cows being a heifer (female cow) that has had a baby and then lactates to feed the baby calf (more than one calf is called CALVES). what a bunch of idiots. I think what they are referring to are VEAL CALVES which are kept penned up in tiny little pens where they can't move and they are usually castrated BOY COWS (STEERS)
IDIOTS!

2216 days ago
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