Imagine a woman being forcibly impregnated. Go forward nine months and imagine that pregnant woman about to give birth. Then imagine that woman giving birth to a perfectly healthy baby.
Now, imagine what it would feel like for that woman to have her newborn baby taken away from her… permanently.
This is the routine for a dairy cow… and it happens every year for the lifetime of that cow.
A Cow’s Life
The pregnancy of a cow lasts for nine months. After a continuous cycle of yearly pregnancies, births, removal of its offspring, and near constant milking, the cow becomes “spent” after about 4 to 6 years. It is then sent to slaughter.
And don’t think this only happens in factory farm systems. This exploitation exists across the board in the dairy industry.
HumaneMyth.org describes the situation faced by all dairy cows:
All forms of dairy farming involve forcibly impregnating cows. This involves a person inserting his arm far into the cow’s rectum in order to position the uterus, and then forcing an instrument into her vagina. The restraining apparatus used is commonly called a “rape rack.”
This highlights the premeditated exploitation of the female’s reproductive system in the dairy industry.
Institionalized Female Exploitation
Although the focus of this article is on the exploitation of cows, it must be noted that the female animals of all the egg, meat and milk industries are subject to similar abuse.
Given the institutionalized abuse suffered by dairy cows, it is clearly not possible to talk about the end product as “happy milk”.
The cow is raped, and then having carried her baby inside her for a full nine months, has this offspring removed causing tremendous distress for the mother cow as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, from Compassionate Cooks, describes in this video
A Blinkered Public
The public is being misled under as barrage of advertising images of “happy families” consuming dairy products from “happy cows”. As a result, very few people get to know the true plight of the dairy cow and its offspring.
The general public has no real idea of the what suffering is involved in bringing the weekly milk, yogurts, cheeses and other dairy products to their family table.
I’m sure many of the members of these families consider themselves to be pro-animal rights. However, in most cases they are also probably oblivious to the fact that dairy cows are systematically abused and that institutionalized female exploitation has become a core part of the daily regimen of the dairy industry.
There is a real need to disseminate a more accurate perspective on what actually goes on behind the doors of the dairy industry.
HumaneMyth.org are addressing this issue in their detailed video.
Listening to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and watching the HumaneMyth.org slides, it’s not hard to recognize the interconnection between the causes of veganism and feminism. [More on this subject in future posts.]
A Question of Rights
The dairy industry is based on a system that allows for daily acts of rape, abuse and murder. And members of the public that consume dairy products are its accomplices.
Of course, those who believe that cows are merely “dumb animals” and, as such, are not entitled to any “rights”, would take issue with this statement. However, it should also be remembered that the issue of “women’s rights” was once not even up for discussion.
We need to apply the same degree of tenacity to speaking up against female exploitation in the animal industry as many have done so admirably against injustices and institutionalized discrimination against women. There is much to be learned by those of us in the “vegan movement” from the work done in the area of (human) sexual politics.
But, of course, we cannot expect others to listen if we have nothing to say. So let’s keep speaking up.