Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Cow in the Field

Today I was watching a cow in the field across the road. She was all by herself, just standing and staring off into space. She was standing there for a while and I wondered what she was thinking about. Had she just lost a baby? Tears came to my eyes as I thought about what she would have had to go through.

Being raped. Giving birth. The emotional pain of having her child taken away from her. Having a machine hooked up to her teats every day to suck the milk from her. Over and over until the day she is slaughtered.

The cow lay down. It looked uncomfortable to do with her oversized udder. And there she lay for some time, staring at the sky. Again I wondered what was going on in her mind. I had to go off to do something, and when I came back, I realised something.

She hadn't just lost a baby. She was about to lose one. Because she had just given birth. Her little baby was right there, suckling from her. I wondered how many children she'd had before this one. I think she knew what was going to happen, because it seemed like she was trying not to look at this baby, like she was trying not to get emotionally attached. The calf nuzzled his/her mother. And for a small precious moment, they were connected with love. But that wouldn't last. And she knew it. She walked away from her baby.

Mother and child eventually went to another part of the field, and I didn't see them again. I felt sad for them. When the farmer discovers the newborn calf, they will be taken away from each other. If male, he will be raised for beef. If female, she will become a dairy machine like her mother. Either way, they will be separated and will never get to see each other again. She will never have the chance to raise her child, all so that a selfish species can take the milk to drink themselves.

It's absolutely horrible what we force these mothers to go through every year. No mother deserves to lose her child like that. Like humans, cows are very maternal mammals and have a strong bond with their young. Imagine the grief they have to go through when they lose their beloved children over and over again. It's no wonder this cow was trying to disconnect herself from her calf to save her the pain. She'd had it happen to her before, and couldn't bear to have it happen again.

If you're not vegan, please go vegan. Then educate others about veganism too. Be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves. They need us.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Life's too short to not eat.."

"Life's too short to not eat good food" "Life's too short to not eat cheese" "Life's too short to give up the taste of meat"

Some people can't imagine not eating their favourite foods and have problems trying to give them up. I've read that animal products such as meat and especially cheese release feel-good chemicals in your brain when you consume them, making you easily addicted to them. It's no wonder some people find them so hard to give up. 

If you have an addiction, you're surely going to crave that product for a little while after taking it out of your diet. But don't give in! Remember that the cravings will pass. I had a few cravings at first too. I remember once craving pig flesh. But I got through that by thinking about the poor pig who was killed for someone to eat that slice of ham.

Remember who you're doing it for. If you crave cheese, remember the dairy cows who were separated from their babies and eventually killed after a short life of being impregnated over and over, and the newborn calves who were slaughtered for the rennet in their stomachs, used to make the cheese. When you remember the victims, it's easier to fight the cravings away.

Life may be short, but those animals who were exploited for your food had much shorter lives. Don't let a moment of difficulty put you off doing what's right.

And you don't have to sacrifice good food to be vegan. I always see celebrity chefs on tv calling plant-based food "boring". Far from that, it's exciting and delicious! Google vegan recipes online. You'll find heaps to try.

Don't look at veganism as a "sacrifice". As Gary Francione has said, "You can't sacrifice what you had no moral right to in the first place." Veganism is simply saying "no" to violence and injustice. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Human Rights before Animal Rights

So, I've seen a few people say that they would rather focus on Human Rights issues, and solve those, before working on Animal Rights issues (and even thinking about going vegan, it seems). This position confuses me.

Humans are animals, so in theory, human rights = animal rights. As a vegan, I am opposed to violence towards *all* animals, including humans.

Being vegan doesn't mean you have to automatically care more about non-humans than you do humans. It is simply a rejection of violence. All violence.

Right now, people in developing countries are starving to death because they don't have enough food. At the same time, tons of grain, corn and soy are being taken from those same malnourished countries to feed to livestock in wealthier countries. No matter how much food we donate to the hungry, the problem will still remain because the cause is still there and it will stay there as long as there is a demand for it. World hunger is another thing that has to be abolished, and the solution isn't to farm more animals to try to feed them all a meaty western diet (that will just increase the problem, and by the time we have enough farms to feed every human, if that could happen, the Earth would be so damaged that we couldn't live here anymore), the solution is to be vegan and to stop supporting an industry not only of great violence towards non-humans, but that wrongfully takes food that could be fed to humans and feeds it to their "profit machines".

Someone once asked if I was saying to take the food to feed to humans and let the other animals starve. To be clear: no, I am not suggesting that. There's enough grass for everyone ;)

In conclusion, being vegan is about respecting the rights of *all* sentient beings, and that includes humans. Being vegan doesn't mean you have to stop caring about and campaigning for human rights issues, and it doesn't mean caring about only non-humans. In order for us to live non-violently, we must reject discrimination in all forms. I encourage you to go vegan, if you're not vegan already, and advocate for veganism as a voice for all animals, both human and non.