How long do cows live

That's how long animals live in factory farming

Our graphic shows: Most animals in conventional animal production only experience a fraction of their possible lifespan. And millions of them even just the first day

Animal rights activists and animal owners have been arguing about the keeping conditions of farm animals for a long time. Because probably no animal in conventional livestock husbandry can look back on a "happy" or even only "species-appropriate" life in the slaughterhouse. Another question is: how long do these animals actually live? And how long could they live if you let them?

The graphic shows: All farm animals have a comparatively short existence. Many of them are killed as babies, children or adolescents, so to speak.

Fattening animals have a particularly short life

A distinction has to be made between animals that are fattened for meat and those that use “products” such as eggs or milk.

The fattening animals in particular die early. Because usually before they reach sexual maturity, the relationship between feed consumption and growth deteriorates. Keeping the animals longer (and letting them live) becomes unprofitable for the animal owner. Laying hens and dairy cows, on the other hand, must have reached adulthood in order to be able to deliver milk and eggs.

What they all have in common, however, is that they only spend a fraction of their possible life expectancy in the stable or in the pasture.

Organic cows and birds live longer

There is no general answer to whether animals from organic farming will live longer. Because there are no figures available for organic animal husbandry. “However, regional samples show that dairy cows live longer on organic farms than on conventional dairy farms,” says Gerald Wehde, press spokesman for the Bioland cultivation association. There are also minimum slaughter ages for certain bird species in the EU Organic Regulation. Geese have a guaranteed minimum age of 140 days, broiler chickens 81 days. This means that organic broilers live on average about twice as long as conventionally fattened animals.

The situation is particularly dramatic with male chicks: they are not needed in laying hens production - and are gassed or shredded immediately after hatching.

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