“Happy Mother’s Day!” has featured heavily on my social media feeds for the last couple of days. Mother’s Day is when we are supposed to recall what our mothers have done for us; how they’ve loved and cared for us right through our lives. It’s a day when mothers are celebrated and made to feel special. Sadly, we never spare a thought for billions of mothers, who undergo a lifetime of enslavement, rape, and torture, who can’t even grieve for their babies who are killed mercilessly.
For them, a pain-less day itself, let alone celebration, is a distant dream! You must be wondering how on earth this is possible. Why hasn’t someone reported it yet? Well, here’s the deal. The only crime of the mothers who get tormented day in day out is that they are not human! They are cows, hens, pigs, and other animals. And, when mothers happen to be non-human, we call these atrocities “dairy”, “poultry”, “hatchery”, “animal farming” and so on!
Not everyone is aware that the animals raised for meat, eggs, milk, clothing, etc. are artificially bred into existence. In other words, the entire animal industry is built on abusing very basic reproductive rights of animal females, including the right not to get raped into a pregnancy, the right to decide when to mate, and the right to decide who to mate with. Just like their human counterparts, animals suffer hugely when any of these rights is violated. We even take babies away from mothers, despite the fact that the mother-baby emotional bond is immensely strong among animals too. It’s high time we put an end to this species-ism, this enslavement & torture of innocent voiceless beings on the morally irrelevant basis that they belong to a different species. Like humans, animals too feel pain – both physical and emotional – very acutely. Why, then, should justice and kindness be confined to humans?
To better understand the plight of animal mothers, here is a quick fact-check on milk and dairy products. For any dairy – be it is small or big, rural or urban – to be economically viable, the cows need to be repeatedly forced into pregnancies (either through rape by a common bull or equally torturous artificial insemination). Moreover, they are injected with bovine growth hormones that cause painful stomach cramps. When the mother yearns to feed her baby, the milk that nature exclusively tailor-made for baby cows, is stolen by us humans!
As if all this is not cruel enough, male babies, who have no commercial value for dairy, are starved or sold to slaughter houses. And, the female ones become milk producing slaves, and suffer the same lifelong torture that their mothers did. After every drop of milk is sucked out of a cow, she too is transported mercilessly for slaughter. Our dairy consumption also causes a lot of emotional misery. Mothers are seen crying frantically for weeks after being separated from their babies. (A must watch 5-minute video).
Let me also debunk a couple of myths here. Cows don’t need to be relieved off any excess milk. Think about it; cows in the wild don’t need the services of humans to take off any excess milk! Nature ensures that every mother produces milk just enough for her baby. There are also people who claim that they only take milk after the calf has had her full share. From my own experience of being a breastfeeding mother to a one year old, I can say that no mother is ever sure that her baby has had enough milk and she can make ice-cream out of the rest!
Moreover, milk/dairy consumption is also unnatural and unhealthy. No species in nature drinks the milk of another species or any milk at all after infancy! But we humans somehow refuse to grow up, and stay on a diet of milk even till the age of 60!
Another huge set of animal-mother victims are chickens raised for eggs and meat. They are subjected to de-beaking (the chopping off of their beaks to prevent them from pecking), forced breeding, and other barbarities. In all egg hatcheries, including the “free-range” ones, male baby chicks – who are useless for eggs as well as meat – are brutally killed. The hens bred for eggs too are slaughtered in full view of fellow birds, after they stop being ‘commercially viable mothers’. Similarly, for meat production, scores of mothers – hens, pigs, goats, etc. – are used as breeding machines and forced into repeated pregnancies. Their babies are snatched away from them, and raised ruthlessly before being killed brutally.
There is also the fundamental issue of consent, which is absent during every animal “use”. Would a free cow in the wild ever let us milk her? No, she would kick us away. Given a choice, no animal would let humans dictate his/her life. And, robbing a being of the freedom to make her own choices is in itself a grave form of cruelty, even if she is not kept physically tied/caged. When slaves are animals, we resort to the “humane” myth, despite knowing deep down that there’s absolutely no justification for consuming anything derived from an animals.
Being vegan puts a stop to all the unspeakable suffering of these most tortured and helpless mothers (and their young ones). In addition to being cruelty-free, the vegan lifestyle is also critical for environmental survivability and human health. For those interested, all the practical tips on how to buy or make things vegan can be found here. There is also a rapidly growing Facebook group, open not only for vegans, but anyone interested.