Oscar nominee Casey Affleck is helping PETA spread the word about the dehorning of cows on dairy farms -- a widespread practice that Affleck calls "inhumane."
In this graphic video, entitled "Dehorning: Dairy's Dark Secret," Affleck explains how the practice is carried out. Dehorning involves the cutting, burning or chemical removal of the horns of cows and other animals.
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"Cows and calves struggle desperately during dehorning," Affleck says in the video, which shows the animals “thrashing, tossing their heads, rearing up, switching their tails, bellowing, and collapsing to the ground" as farm workers are seen burning off or gouging out their sensitive horn tissue.
"All these procedures are routinely performed without giving the animals any painkillers whatsoever," the actor adds.
Quoting figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ABC News noted in 2010 that "more than nine out of ten dairy farms practice dehorning":
Lyndon Odell, CEO of Willet Dairy, one of New York state's largest dairies, said dehorning is a "standard practice in agriculture" and done to protect both the animals and dairy employees. "Part of the issue with this is cow injury," said Odell, "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."
While the American Veterinary Medical Organization agrees that the dehorning of cattle can convey certain "advantages," it also notes that the practice "is not currently regulated" in the United States.
On the other hand, regulations in several other countries, including Australia, Denmark and Sweden, dictate that the dehorning of adult cows cannot be carried out without the application of an anesthetic.
According to the Boston Globe, Affleck -- who voiced a character in the animated movie “ParaNorman," which was released last month -- will be at his alma mater Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday to talk about the campaign.
In line with what he says in the film about "avoiding cow's milk, cheese, and other dairy products," free boxes of soy milk will be distributed to attendees.
"Whereas the consumption of dairy products is linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer, fortified plant milks have none of the health risks associated with cow's milk and are cruelty-free," a PETA representative told The Huffington Post in an email.
Should the practice of dehorning be promoted, regulated or stopped entirely? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
WARNING: This video contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some viewers.
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