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Forget About Equal, How About Alive

You may have seen "Dog," posted by Stephanie. If not, here it is . . .

When I saw "From Science, Plenty of Cows but Little Profit" this morning in the New York Times, I immediately thought of "Dog." I thought: What if those were women, ears tagged, imprisoned in some metal contraption that made it easier for the man behind them to inseminate them.


(See the entire slide show, Happy Cows: Behind the Myth, here.)

And the day-old calves . . .


forcibly taken from their mothers, penned . . . what if those were human babies? (The photo is by J. Emilio Flores for the New York Times.)

The article, by the way, touts the technological advancement that allows the sperm of dairy bulls to be "sexed," thereby allowing dairy farmers to choose to "produce" more females, who are more valuable to them. The only problem (for the farmers–I have a many problems with this scenario, beginning with bringing cows into the world) is that the cow milk industry is struggling along with much of the economy, and there is now a glut of cow's milk, which has driven the price down and . . .

"Desperate to drive up prices by stemming the gusher of unwanted milk, a dairy industry group, the National Milk Producers Federation, has been paying farmers to send herds to slaughter. Since January the program has culled about 230,000 cows nationwide."

There's more, and it's no more uplifting, but here's my point: Though I see mothers and babies when I look at the photos above, most people don't even see living, breathing, sentient beings. They see machines. They see things that make–or are turned into–the food they find so delicious. They see units that will somehow enter the marketplace. Their hearts don't ache at the thought of raping cows and ripping their babies from them as soon as they are born. Their minds don't whirl and scream with the injustice of sentient beings enslaved and treated as units of production.

We here in America claim we love dogs. They're our "best friends." But if a video must be made (and I realize this video wasn't made in the US, but we have the same issues here) to get people thinking about stray dogs as deserving of a life free of persecution and suffering at the hands of others, what hope is there for cows and other animals we have deemed "food?"

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Olivia #

    Right on, Mary. I wrote a letter to the Times editor after Karen Dawn sent her subscribers this article. It says:

    Here are a few questions that came to mind when I read William Neuman's "From Science, Plenty of Cows but Little Profit."

    Why are we humans so morally dense?

    How can we look at a row of gentle cows whose necks are crammed between narrow steel bars for their entire lives and not feel revolted over their imprisonment?

    Where did we get the gall to imagine that animals were created by our benevolent Maker to produce nutrition for another species instead of for their own children?

    Are we really arrogant enough to believe that it is moral to make animals our rightsless property, treat them like feelingless slaves, and make money off of them?

    How dare we apathetically glide over a reporter's euphemism for kill — "cull" — and not be offended by his bowing-down deference to the dairy industry?

    Am I reaching any conscious-striken dairy drinkers out there in New York Timesland?

    September 30, 2009
  2. Absolutely great read Mary – I have been talking about the new dairy peta video all week.

    Lond 'O Lakes Supplier:

    October 3, 2009
  3. Two points about this "discovery". The man who is responsible for it is Lawrence A. Johnson – He was inducted into the USDA's Agriculture Research Science Hall of Fame 2001. His studies date back to 1981 and include "outstanding contributions to semen preservation and artificial insemination in swine".

    My thought is this – how many millions of "research" animals and testing did his lab go through for this "discovery"? And how much tax dollars in funding that could/should have gone into improvements in plant based agriculture studies instead?

    There's even a video of the guy here (along with other animal ag *champions*) if anyone cares to know more:

    My second issue is more of curiosity… I wonder now, will the *excess* female daughters be subject to what their male (veal) brothers now endure? We've come such a long way! Equal opportunity in the slaughterhouses. 🙁

    October 3, 2009
  4. A thought crosses my mind… if even the people who claim to love animals don't, who will?

    October 7, 2009

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