Oscar nominee Casey Affleck is the latest celebrity to join the ranks of PETA. The younger brother of actor/director Ben Affleck is trying to bring attention to the practice of dehorning cows on dairy farms. It’s a practice he calls “inhumane”.
A graphic video, entitled “Dehorning: Dairy’s Dark Secret” has been released (watch it below). It features Affleck explaining how the practice is carried out. Dehorning involves the cutting, burning or chemical removal of the horns of cows and other animals.
“Cows and calves struggle desperately during dehorning,” Affleck says in the video. The clip shows the animals “thrashing, tossing their heads, rearing up, switching their tails, bellowing, and collapsing to the ground”. Farm workers are seen destroying their horn tissue.
“All these procedures are routinely performed without giving the animals any painkillers whatsoever,” the actor adds.
The Huffington Post reports that ABC News noted in 2010 that “more than nine out of ten dairy farms practise dehorning. Those figures were quoted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dehorning is reportedly a standard practice in agriculture. The Huffington Post quotes Lyndon Odell, CEO of Willet Dairy, one of New York State’s largest dairies. Odell says it is done to protect both the animals and dairy employees: “Part of the issue with this is cow injury and also safety for the employees. If you have an animal running around with a sharp horn, they can gore other animals that are in the same group with them or they can injure an employee that’s working with the animals.”
The news site goes on to report that the American Veterinary Medical Organization notes the practice is not currently regulated in the United States. However, regulations in several other countries, including Australia, Denmark and Sweden, dictate that the dehorning of adult cows cannot be carried out without the use of an anesthetic.
Affleck was reportedly at his alma mater, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, in Cambridge, Mass., this week to talk about the anti-dehorning campaign.
The 37-year-old has played supporting roles in mainstream hits like ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997) and ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ (2001). He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford’.