[Ed. Note: Please watch I Only Saw Her For an Instant.]
Imagine for a moment being kept pregnant every year of your life, just to have every baby taken away from you and your milk pumped into machines.
Mother’s Day is a special time to honor moms for their caring, patience and unconditional love. The bond between a mother and her offspring is a powerful love like no other. In the dairy industry, all the cows are Moms - kept pregnant their whole lives, never able to experience this deep bond with their offspring.
If you want to stop using the animal products which cause the most suffering, you might want to consider eliminating dairy and eggs first. The misery that female cows endure is arguably worse than that of their brothers slaughtered for beef. Dairy facilities are gigantic machine-filled buildings, more like a factory than a farm. During the milking process, if the machines are not properly maintained, they can send painful electric shocks through the udder several times a day. These animals are treated harshly, with no room for sensitivity to their comfort or simple needs. All these Moms are either pregnant or lactating, yet their babies are nowhere to be seen.
Image courtesy of The Animals Voice
Like all mammals, female cows only lactate when pregnant. To maximize milk production, dairy cows are kept pregnant their entire short life. Each year, she will be artificially inseminated on what industry terms a "rape rack" or with the farmer’s arm. A cow's natural life span is about 20 years. In this highly intensive farming, however, the stress on her body will diminish her milk output after about 3 years. She is then what the industry calls "dried up." It is more lucrative to send her to slaughter and replace her. Her body will be sold as ground beef.
To insure the highest volume of milk, the calf is taken away from her immediately after birth. Even in supposedly "humane" dairy production, to maintain a profit, cows are sent to slaughter and the calves taken away. This is also to avoid the mother/calf bonding. Mother cows have been known to break down the stall in an attempt to find their offspring.
Imagine for a moment being kept pregnant every year of your life, just to have every baby taken away from you and your milk pumped into machines. What happens to these millions of baby cows? A female calf will follow in her mother's hoof-prints, yet she will never know her mother or suckle her milk, being raised on a bottle formula. But what of the males?
A male calf born to a dairy cow is the wrong breed to profitably be raised for beef. His fate is much worse. Veal is the soft, pale, anemic flesh of a calf. Veal calves are kept inside in a crate barely bigger than themselves. Chained at the neck, they can't even turn around. They are fed a liquid diet deficient in iron, so their muscles don’t develop properly. These babies never see their 1st birthday. Many people recognize the cruelty in raising veal and will not eat it, yet are unaware of the intimate connection between the dairy and veal industries. Supporting one supports the other.
Sadie was rescued from a dairy farm after six years of being impregnated, having her calves taken away, milked until she was dried up, then impregnated again. She had been living happily at Animal Place Sanctuary for six years when this photo was taken.
So honor all Moms this Mother’s Day and try some non-dairy milk. There is a wide variety to choose from — soy, rice, almond, coconut, oat, hemp. If you don’t like one, try another. They are diverse in taste and texture. Non-dairy cheese has come a long way. Try “Follow Your Heart” cheese and “Daiya” cheese. Both these brands will make some melt-in-your-mouth, cruelty-free enchiladas that everyone will love. (Especially the mama cows!)