DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Food manufacturers and restaurants are taking the dairy industry by the horns on an animal welfare issue that bothers activists but is little known to consumers.
Horned calves are common in dairy herds and farms routinely remove the horn buds by burning or gouging them out before horns develop. Horns are hazardous because unruly cows can gore farm workers or other animals.
General Mills, Nestle, Denny’s are among companies pushing increased breeding of cows born without horns — called polled cattle.
PETA says it’s made progress over three years with several major dairies incorporating polled genetics to eliminate dehorning.
The National Milk Producers Federation says breeding hornless dairy cows is worth exploring but that the industry believes removing the horn buds is a safe and “minimally disruptive, uncomfortable process.”