“The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. The mother was allowed to nurse her calf but for a single night. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn—only 10 yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth—minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days—were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.” ~ Dr. Michael Klaper
Humans are the strangest creatures.
Most of us would call ourselves animal lovers, yet most of us support their abuse, torment, and slaughter without thinking twice about it.
We turn a blind eye to the suffering and pain of animals, so that we can eat their meat, drink their fluids (also still grosses me out to use that word), and wear and furnish our homes with their skins.
The majority of us are so conditioned to believe this is normal that we also think it’s moral and humane.
We feed our children stories about farmyard pigs, happily rolling in mud and hay with their piglets squealing with joy nearby.
Yet the truth is, most factory-farmed pigs are held in pens so tight they cannot turn around—let alone catch sight of their babies. This is despite the evidence that pigs are one of the world’s most intelligent and affectionate creatures.
We envisage calves suckling milk from their mothers, strolling through grassy fields, and then snuggling into their mother for comfort and warmth when the sun sets.
The tragic and dark truth is that most cows will never see the outdoors, as 97 percent of dairy calves are stolen from their mothers when they are just a few hours old, and the milk that nature intended for them to drink will instead be bottled for humans. Then there are the harrowing bellows, that have been known to continue for months, as mother and baby cry out in search of one another.
A decade or two ago, we generally weren’t aware of what really went on behind the closed doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses. But now we know—so what is our collective excuse for the repetitive forced impregnation of female cows just so that she continually produces milk for human consumption?
Whether we are mothers ourselves or not, surely we can imagine the trauma of having our baby taken away from us when our entire body is screaming to nurture, nourish, and protect it.
Do we convince ourselves that animals do not have emotions?
Do we really believe that animals were put on this planet for human exploitation?
I cannot count the amount of times I have heard, “God gave us animals so that we can eat them,” yet it seems above most people’s comprehension that, if we believe in God, maybe he or she looks down and sees the barbaric cruelty and wishes instead that we would be the animals’ guardians.
The days of the caveman are long gone.
However, even cavemen were not so callous that they subjected animals to year after year of imprisonment within which there was extreme emotional, mental, and physical cruelty.
Nowadays, we have the ability to choose: cruelty or cruelty-free. It really is that simple.
A walk down the aisle of almost every supermarket, and any farmers market, offers choice after choice of alternative tasty options that means we can eat and drink nutritiously without buying into unimaginable systematic abuse.
Using animal products in any capacity is not humane despite how hard our cognitive dissonance encourages us to think otherwise.
The rare creatures fortunate enough to be treated with compassion and care during their short lives will still suffer horrifically while en route to their slaughter.
We have to stop telling the stories to ourselves, and our children, that eating “beef” and “bacon” is our “God-given” right, and that we only eat it because there are no other options.
That “beef” was once a stunning cow despite its exhausted, worn out body and years of mental torment, and that “bacon” was once an adorable pig that would have given anything to receive the opportunity to run around after her babies—both of which deserved to live free from any form of pain and suffering.
Animals are not ours to own and consume, regardless of what society leads us to believe.
Removing meat and dairy from your diet is so much easier than you think. For the sake of the 21 million cows and 56 billion famed animals slaughtered annually—please try it.
Click here for a simple, but comprehensive, “Go Vegan” starter kit.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Danielle Beutelle