|Forcible insemination (rape) of a dairy cow.|
Is it really that incredible to believe that a cow loves her calf as much as any human loves her baby, or that the calf with whom she also spent nine months nurturing in her womb is just as precious to her as any infant to its human mother? Sadly, our anthropocentric society conditions us to dismiss the lives and feelings of nonhuman animals in order to justify the horrendous acts committed against them. We don't want to hear about mothers bellowing for their calves for days on end after having them ripped away after birth or their desperate attempts to jump fences and evade captors to reunite with them. Wouldn't any human mother do the same for her child?
In a recent exposé, the New York Times reported on taxpayer-financed experiments on farm animals for the meat industry in which re-engineered cows were bred to have twins and triplets, often resulting in weak and deformed calves, and operations on the ovaries and brains of pigs to make them more fertile. One grisly incident involved a young female cow who was put into a rape rack and left with six bulls. Dr. James Keen, a scientist and veterinarian who worked at the facility said "The bulls were being studied for their sexual libido and normally you would do that by putting a single bull in with a cow for 15 minutes. But these bulls had been in there for hours mounting her . . . her back legs were broken. Her body was just torn up." Too much for her to bear, she died a few hours later.
As with humans, cows cannot produce milk without having babies, however none of their milk goes to their calves. Instead, their milk is given to humans—the only mammals on earth who voluntarily ingest milk from another mammal.
Calves are taken from their mothers usually within 24 hours of birth—newly born females will be raped just like their mothers before them, and males will be prepped to become veal or cheap beef (hamburgers). And when dairy cows have outgrown their usefulness and their (re)productiveness ends, they will be slaughtered just like the others. This is the suffering contained in a glass of milk, a block of cheese, and a pint of ice-cream.
A breeding pig spends most of her life in a metal crate so small that she literally cannot turn around and can barely move her legs. After giving birth, she is locked in a 2 foot by 7 foot gestation crate for a month. Her piglets are deprived of maternal comfort as they nurse through metal bars. After three or four years of these repeated cycles of giving birth only to watch helplessly as her piglets are taken from her one by one, is she then killed.
- At a Hormel supplier, a supervisor rammed canes and gate rods into the vaginas and anuses of pigs while another employee told a PETA investigator to beat a pig and compared the pig to a "voluptuous little fucking girl." He also urged the supervisor to expose his genitals to the pigs.
- At the world's leading poultry breeding company, a worker pinned a female turkey to the ground and pretended to rape her. He told police he'd done the same thing to dozens of other turkeys.
- At a Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas, a worker repeatedly jammed his finger into a turkey's vagina, and another worker simulated the rape of a bird whose legs and head he had secured in metal shackles.
Our social structure maintains its power through the literal and figurative consumption and commercialization of female animals—both human and nonhuman. This reality was clearly illustrated in a recent episode of Undercover Boss featuring a sports bar named Bikinis. When asked about his business of employing women in scantily clad bathing suits, Bikinis CEO Doug Guller said “We’re a breastaurant. It’s obvious what gets our fans in the door. It’s our breasts. Not necessarily our chicken breasts.”
Bodies are not property! Women, more than any other group, should not be participants in their own denigration and commodification or that of any other female, irrespective of species.
Photo courtesy of Vegan Feminist Network.
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