Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate and warmly recall all the love mothers provide and all the lessons they teach. We treasure every moment we have with our mothers and we appreciate them being there for us. The love of a mother isn’t just limited to humans either; animals across species rely heavily on their mothers for protection and affection. Farmed animals feel that same natural desire to rear their children…unfortunately, the food industry has no interest in allowing the mother/child bond to grow.
Few animals have motherly instincts as strong as cows do, yet the dairy industry is unapologetic in restraining those instincts. Within 48 hours of birth, male calves are dragged away from the embrace of their mothers and are either slaughtered or placed in a veal crate where they will spend the entirety of their short lives. Naturally, this leads to severe distress for both mom and son, as cows are intelligent beings that thrive on family bonding. The mother cow (and any daughters she may have) will spend her entire life being subjected to artificial insemination for milk that is supposed to be for their young, but instead is placed in grocery stores all over the country.
Pigs don’t have it any easier. Although sows are usually able to at least nurse their babies for a short time, they are forced to do so in a farrowing crate; a crate that does not allow basic movements such as standing up or turning around. While the mother lays immobile in her crate, she’s forced to view cruel acts committed on her children including castration and tail docking without anesthesia and even worse, death by very unethical means such as being thrown against a concrete floor. Ultimately, after a mere two weeks, the piglets are taken away from their mother to begin fattening for slaughter, never to feel their mother’s love again.
We sometimes hear the term “mother hen” as a common idiom, a testament to how protective hens can be over their children. In the egg industry though, the idea of hens protecting their children is an illusion; they never even get to meet their babies. Male chicks born in the industry are of no use no profit, so they are either ground up alive or thrown out like garbage in huge plastic bags where they suffocate to death. As for the female chicks, they are destined to a life similar to their mother. Caged hens are crammed five to seven birds into wire mesh cages stacked one on top of another. The hens live in physical and psychological misery, unable to turn stretch, flap their wings, or preen their entire lives. The birds are forced to stand on a sloping wire-mesh floor, which cuts and deforms their sensitive feet, while the wire-mesh walls rub off their feathers and bruise their skin… and for the sake of egg production.
This Mother’s Day, let’s truly honor all mothers by making simple changes to our diet. By opting to purchase products that are not the result of an inherently cruel system, we’ll be making a statement: we believe in the bond between a mother and child is strong, and it should be respected.
To find out more about changing your diet this Mother’s Day, check out LiveVegan.org.