By Christina Tacoronti,
Compassion Over Killing (COK)
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and in between the long-distance phone calls, breakfasts in bed, and bouquets of flowers, why not take a few moments to celebrate and honor all moms by cooking up a mom-friendly vegan meal? After all, some of the most caring mothers in the world have a beaming heart that beats under fur or feathers – or under water.
Pigs, to start with, are caring and devoted mothers. In natural settings, a mother pig will walk up to six miles to find a suitable, safe place to build her nest and then she’ll spend hours diligently building it. Once her piglets are born, she’ll spend up to 12 weeks nursing them, during which time she may even “sing” to them. On factory farms, however, most mother pigs are nearly immobilized for months on end, scuttled back and forth from gestation crate to farrowing crate. Sadly, these smart and social animals are treated as mere piglet-producing machines – after about two weeks of nursing behind bars, her piglets will be taken away and she’ll soon be impregnated again.
Mother hens also have a strong desire to build a protective nest to lay their eggs in. A hen’s bond with her young begins before the chicks are even hatched. In her nest, she’ll turn the eggs over several times an hour, clucking to the unborn chicks who chirp in response. Sadly, chickens hatched in both the meat and egg industries start their lives in industrial hatcheries and will never see their mothers. And on egg factory farms, hens are forced to spend virtually their entire lives inside wire cages, denied the ability to nest, let alone stretch their wings or walk.
Like us, cows produce milk to feed their young, and they also form strong mother-child bonds. On factory farms, dairy cows are impregnated to induce milk production, then shortly after birth, their calf is taken away so the milk can be collected for human consumption. Instead of milk from their mothers, calves are given a milk replacer. Female calves will likely stay in the dairy industry while many male calves, who of course won’t produce milk, will end up in tiny crates for about four months before being killed for their meat which is marketed as veal.
Thankfully, there are simple ways we can honor all mothers: by opting for meat-, egg-, and dairy-free foods, we can choose compassion that all moms will be thankful for. And it’s easier than ever to find animal-friendly meals. Visit VegRecipes.org to find some delicious Mother’s Day breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas!