I’ve been witness to a distressing situation the last couple of days.
Although it’s not unusual for the exploitation of nonhumans to be somewhere in my consciousness, the last couple of days this awareness has been very present. I’ve been witness to a very sad scene — a mother in a nearby pasture calling out in distress over her stolen calf.
All yesterday and all through the night and into today she has been calling out, her eyes searching the fields for her missing calf. Every so often I would look through the window at her and I would feel sick in my stomach. This evening she finally stopped calling out and now she just stands in the same place looking across the field. In the blurry photo below which was taken at twilight, she looks over at me. I tell her how very sorry I am that we are doing this to her. At times like this, I am filled with great sadness and great despair. I am aware this scene is happening all over the world every day to billions of other nonhuman mothers, particularly those in the dairy industry.
This very sad situation for this mother and her child is just a little glimpse into what we participate in when we eat the flesh and secretions of other animals and use them as resources, as property. For fashion or for a few moments of palate pleasure, we cause not only physical torture and murder but psychological torture. What makes this so sad is that I know how easily this violence could end. It could end if demand for animal products and animal use ended if people became vegan. It could end if we had a change of consciousness.
In my own small way I try to honour mothers just like her by promoting veganism. I promote unequivocal veganism in the hopes that one day the property status of animals will be abolished. It’s all I can do. It’s the best I can do can do and it’s the very least I can do, because until there is a critical mass of vegans in society, nothing will change.
We can do something today which will be profound. We can take a first step to a nonviolent life. We can honour this grieving mother by becoming vegan and staying vegan. Vegans do not use animals for food, clothing, entertainment and other reasons. Being vegan is much easier than you think. We need to remind ourself of this story and never forget that anything less than being vegan involves great violence, both psychological and physical and promoting anything less than veganism — e.g. welfare “reform”– is speciesist, it is a nonsense and it is great violence.
If you are not vegan, please consider going vegan. Start here http://www.vegankit.com/
Thank you for your consideration.
For more information on what happens to mothers in the dairy industry:“Organic” Milk
Like humans and all mammals, cows need to be impregnated to produce milk. “Organic” cows are therefore repeatedly impregnated, often on a device called a “rape rack”, where they are inseminated either artificially or by a bull. Cows would normally live about 20 years, but due to the economics of the “organic” milk industry, they are usually slaughtered after about 5 years when they lose the ability to generate commercially-viable quantities of milk. During this short 5-year life, they are pregnant about 9 months out of every 18 to 24 months and give birth to a calf two or three times. Some of the female calves will end up as dairy cows to eventually replace their mothers and grandmothers. Most of the calves from “organic” dairy producers, however, are forcibly abducted from their mothers – who often grieve the loss intensely – and sold to the veal industry. Although some “organic” dairy cows are permitted to graze outside during part of the year, many “organic” cows never see the light of day until they are transported to slaughter.Just as with “free-range layer hens”, “organic dairy cows” and their calves are transported and slaughtered in the same manner as any other cow or steer. Often, they are confined to a tractor trailer for days of transport, and sometimes through extremely hot or cold weather conditions. Because they are depleted from so much milk production and from genetics designed to maximize milk output, they are often much weaker than “beef cattle” when they arrive at slaughter. Indeed, most of the “downers” – cows too sick to walk – are dairy cows, including dairy cows from “organic” dairies. When they arrive at slaughter, downers are often cruelly prodded with electric prods and/or bulldozed into slaughter, as was displayed earlier in the year on national television in undercover films provided by HSUS. Actual slaughter can be an unimaginably horrific and terrifying experience. Although the cows and steer are supposed to be “stunned” with a captive-bolt gunshot to the skull, this can be difficult for workers to achieve, especially with the rapid pace at which the animals are moved on the line. This can result in the animals being fully awake when they are shackled, hoisted upside down, and cut at the throat. Because cows and steer who are not properly stunned are sometime flailing around at the cutting section of the fast-paced line, they occasionally miss the throat cut or the cut is not sufficient to kill them. Due to production pressure to keep the line moving, these cows and steer will often end up alive at the hide-ripping machine.Commercially-viable “organic” milk production, regardless of the label it is sold under, is extremely cruel to cows and calves and requires mass-slaughter. “Organic” dairy cows are physically and psychologically broken by the time they reach the slaughterhouse, which can be an unimaginable horror story in itself. Consuming “organic” dairy products – milk, cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream – simply makes no sense for anyone concerned about the treatment or slaughter of animals.