Cows make milk for the same reasons as humans do- to feed their young. Calves on dairy farms are stolen from their mothers when they are only 1 day old so that their mother's milk can be sold for human consumption.
Female cows are artificially inseminated not long after their first birthday. Once they give birth they lactate for 10 months only to be inseminated again and the cycle continues like this. Some cows spend their days standing on concrete floors, others are contained in large, crowded lots where they are left to stand in their own waste.
Cows generally live up to 20 years and can make milk for their young for around 8-9 years. The stress they experience on dairy farms often leads to disease, lameness and reproductive problems. All of these make the cow useless in the eyes of the dairy industry so she is often sent to slaughter at just 4-5 years old.
As today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day- why not switch to a plant based milk to celebrate?