Celebrate Mother’s Day by Saying No to Dairy
May 12, 2018
By Ashley Hubbard
It’s time to celebrate and honor our mothers. The women who birthed us, nursed us, raised us and shaped us into the human beings we are today. Mothers, generally speaking, are exceptional people – selfless and loving – and deserve to be acknowledged for all they do. I don’t think anyone would argue that. But, why should that celebration, honor and respect stop with human mothers? Shouldn’t all species be able to raise and nurture their young? Yes, they should but that’s not the case for many.
I don’t have children myself so I can’t speak from experience but something I’ve heard said over and over again when hearing other women’s stories about why they went vegan is that once they had a baby something clicked that no mother should be denied the right to raise their baby. The bond between them and their child was so strong that even the mere thought of that bond being broken drove them to opening their minds and leading a more compassionate life. These women couldn’t be more right in their feelings. Research shows that just five minutes of contact proves that cow and calf form a very strong bond that results in calves knowing their mother’s calls 24 hours after separation. Despite this, mothers in the dairy industry are denied all rights.
“Mothers were birthing outside my window and I was listening to their labour pains all night, and then watching them loving and cleaning their babies until my man came with the tractor and cage to take those babies to the pens.” – Jess Strathdee, former dairy farmer and vegan activist (source)
The dairy industry is quite possibly the most cruel of all the industries in animal agriculture. The very essence of it destroys any notion of motherhood. In order to keep up with demand, cows are forcibly impregnated via artificial insemination to keep their milk flowing and their calves are almost immediately stolen from them so as not to waste any of the milk meant for human consumption. Once this process has been completed, it is then repeated. And again. And again. And again. This usually happens four to five times before their bodies are completely spent and they’re slaughtered for hamburger meat.
What happens to the calves though? The females are taken, raised in individual pens, fed milk replacer and eventually moved to group pens and placed on solid food at 4-12 weeks of age. They are raised to be just like their mothers. They will live out the same fate. After being taken from their own mother, they will then know what it feels like on the other end – having baby after baby after baby ripped away from them. The males, on the other hand, are useless. It would be too costly to raise them so they are killed for veal – an industry that was born in the United States in the mid 1960s to relieve the dairy industry of its unneeded byproducts. Most often they are sent to a veal farm, placed in small enclosures – usually a dog crate and chained so their meat remains tender and pale – and slaughtered at only about 20 weeks of age. Five months old. Cows, if left to be cows, could live to 20-30 years of age and yet are being slaughtered at just five months old all so we can drink another species’ breast milk.
Through studying the relationships between cows and calves in semi-wild herds and in domestic cattle, researchers have observed the same pattern consistently – the strongest and most lasting social bonds among cows are between mothers and their offspring. This bond doesn’t stop once they’ve grown either. It continues far after maturation. Cows and their offspring are often observed grazing together for many years and even after the mother has had several other calves.
Perhaps you want to give up dairy after learning more about the industry but you’re concerned because we’re supposed to drink milk to have strong bones right? Well, luckily for both you and the cows, that’s not the case!
The dairy industry has actually spent millions of dollars every year to promote milk as a health food through a very powerful lobby, marketing and just really good messaging. The misinformation has led to generations thinking dairy is needed to grow strong and be healthy. The truth couldn’t be any farther from the truth though. Cow’s milk actually depletes the body of calcium. Animal protein, which milk falls under, acidifies the body’s pH and calcium is an amazing acid neutralizer meaning when we drink milk, the calcium leaves our bones to neutralize the acid. Additionally, studies have shown drinking milk leads to more bone fractures and osteoporosis in old age. Cow’s milk is also designed to make a calf gain hundreds of pounds in just months so it only makes sense that it aids in the development of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
You do not have to support this cruel and unnecessary industry. The best, and only way, to show your support to all mothers is to live a vegan life. To learn more – watch this super quick 5-minute video, Dairy Is Scary and follow Mother’s Against Dairy.