Dairy on the Eastern Shore


After visiting Jones’ Family Farm on the Eastern Shore with Chesapeake Semester in 2015, I was forced to confront the unethical practices of the dairy industry. I seek to convey the realities of local dairy farming and determine whether Mason and Singer’s commentary aligns with the truth. The authors write, “very few dairy cows in the US get to graze in the grassy meadows typical of dairy-industry advertising” (57). I compare a St. Brigid’s, a small, more “idyllic” dairy farm, with Jones Family Farm, an industrial scale dairy.  At St. Brigid’s, the cows are treated as animals, and at Jones Family Farm, they are treated like machines.  But I argue that regardless of how “happy” or “unhappy,” the cows may be, the overarching utilitarian argument against exploiting animals remains the same. As Singer and Mason explain, a vegan lifestyle is the most ethical course of action.


Cows are milked three times a day at Jones Family Farm. (Photo by Erika Koontz)


There are 1200 dairy cows at the Jones’ farm. (Photo by Jones Family Farm)

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Cows at St. Brigid’s are exposed to fresh air and sunlight as they’re milked.(Left photo by Leslie Williams, right photo by Sherrie Hill)

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Another close-up look at milking at Jones Family Farm. After milking, an iron bar moves forces the cows to move. (Photos by Emily Cross-Barnet)


Veal calves in their “houses” at St. Brigid’s. (Photo by Judy Gifford)


Veal calves in their “houses” at Jones Family Farm. (Photo by Jones Family Farm)


Baby heifer at St. Brigid’s on a thick bed of hay with a blanket to keep warm. (Photo by Judy Gifford).


Baby heifer at Jones Family Farm. All these calves were extremely skittish and fearful of humans.  They cowered in the corner when we approached. (Photo by Emily Cross-Barnet)

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St. Brigid’s Farm: On the left is a live calf. On the right is a dead calf. (Photos by Judy Gifford)

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