Being a mother and a vegan – means I cringe at the happy cow commercials….you know the ones where we watch the cows and calves grazing on beautiful meadows, happily ‘giving’ their milk to us, as if that’s some kind of privilege and the ENTIRE PURPOSE OF THEIR EXISTENCE – giving away their milk and their babies, spending their entire lives as baby and milk producing machines; being impregnated again and again, giving birth again and again; suffering the AGONY of having their babies taken away from them again and again…. Happy cows? Really? WHAT A LIE! How arrogant and heartless of us!

Being a mother and a vegan – means I can literally feel the agonizing pain and primal suffering of the mother cow when her baby is taken away from her – although I cannot imagine what it feels like to be a cow, I do know how it feels to be a mother, and I do know how a mother feels about her newborn. I’ve heard that cows cry for days for their young, and I cannot imagine the pain I’d feel if my son was taken from me to be kept in confinement and killed. I feel like weeping and screaming too. I realize that some of you probably think I’m exaggerating. I’m too sensitive. After all, these are animals, not people! Yes, of course, I do know these are COWS I’m talking about, I do realize they are different from us, humans; I do know they don’t KNOW the fate of their babies; but that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer terribly. Us wanting their milk, feeling entitled to take it, and HAVING THE POWER TO DO SO — doesn’t make it RIGHT.

Being a mother and a vegan – means my heart breaks every time I think about baby calves being taken away from their mothers as newborns – to spend their short lives in confinement while suffering – longing for their mom, feeling fear and pain, only to be killed, still as babies, only a few weeks old – just for human pleasure — to have their young bodies mutilated and cut with sharp knives into thin slices that are now called ‘veal cutlets’ sold at grocery stores and served in elegant restaurants.

There’s no excuse for doing that.

There’s no excuse for participating in that.

There’s no excuse for thinking this is okay, because we (humans) are entitled to that. 

I’d been eating meat and drinking milk it for most of my life, as I became vegan only three years ago – so what changed?

I cannot say I didn’t KNOW – sure, when I was a child, I didn’t know, but as an adult? What was my excuse?

How gullible and naïve of me to buy into the mainstream narrative – that cows ‘give milk’!

How arrogant of me to believe we’re entitled to take what’s not ours!

How cruel of me not to care!

Oh, poor me, I didn’t know what’s really going on?

Now it’s enough to go online and watch videos to see what’s really going on, but even before that – how about reading a book or two, and getting educated about the whole process?

And yet I did not. I was so conditioned to this WRONG I could not even see it. I thought it was RIGHT.

And even after I began to suspect that something may not be right, I was afraid of what I may see.

I was afraid to find out, because ONCE YOU KNOW?…

…there’s no way you can UN-KNOW…

Once you SEE?…

…there is no way for you to UN-SEE.

Sure, you can pretend like nothing happened, but ONCE YOU KNOW — YOU KNOW.

It means you’re responsible.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Even now I cannot watch these videos. The reality is sickening. The filth, the feces, the torture at the milk machines, the beatings and blood, the fear, the pain, and eventually, the slaughter.

Images from watching those videos still haunt me.

New mothers, screaming and fighting for their babies, as they’re being taken away from them.

The weight of their agony crushing over me. My chest clenching tight, as I think about my own son, and how he used to be as a baby. How helpless, how trusting, how dependent on me.

Being a mother myself gives watching these videos a whole new dimension, creating a primal connection to those animals — that touch me at my core. As a mother.

Treating the WONDER OF MOTHERHOOD, as a PRODUCTION PROCESS.

Abusing the MIRACLE OF PREGNANCY AND BIRTH

Trivializing the MARVEL BRINGING A NEW LIFE INTO THE WORLD…

Referring it as a PRODUCTION, PROCESS, talking about EFFICIENCY and YIELD where there is LOVE, and LONGING, and HOPE.

Turning it into some business and profits equation…

It it is not just a crime against animals.

It is a crime against mothers.

Looking at the pictures with mother cows hooked to milking machines, in factory-like settings — the animal-as-machine theory comes to mind — we still didn’t get very far from that chilling philosophy, did we.

All mothers love their young.  All mothers hope for the health and happiness of their offspring.

That love and hope is universal; it’s written into the DNA that connects us, within and between species.

And so as a mother I feel that connection. And responsibility.

To stand with mothers—all mothers—in honoring that miraculous, primitive, magnificent act of mothering.

Becoming vegan is in many ways akin to becoming a mother. It’s all new and uncomfortable at first, but it soon becomes your second nature. It becomes who you are, and changes you at your core. There is so much to absorb, and so much to learn. You open up to feelings – and the intensity — that you didn’t know were possible for you.  Most of all, there’s this love and caring at the center of it.  Love and caring, expecting nothing in return.

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Once we know better, we can do better — so LET’S!

It’s not your mom, it’s not your milk.

Please ditch dairy.

Go vegan.

Joanna

 

P.S. Check out my t-shirt store to get one of the ‘Not-your-mom, not your milk’ t-shirts.  Keep sharing this message with the world. If not now, then when, if not you, then who?