Do you get angry when powerful men try to decide what women can or cannot do with their bodies? Do you support every women’s right to have autonomy over her own body? Do you get infuriated by the constant objectification of females and the verbal diminishing and justification of traumatizing experiences of many women around the world? For liberation and empowerment and against oppression and abuse? If you are a woman, do you want to be respected and treated with dignity? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you agree with the basic principles of feminism.
Now I want you to think of a mother’s love—the greatest thing on earth, isn’t it? Mothers wanting to protect their children from all harm. Daughters looking up to their mothers and experiencing the undeniable bond that is so precious and important for any child growing up. Think about what the worst thing for a mother could be—losing her child. Imagine, you are a new mother and a day after you give birth someone comes and takes your newborn baby away from you or you are a child and you are separated from your mother because others want her milk.
This is exactly what is happening on dairy farms across the globe.
The dairy industry everywhere is bases solely on exploiting defenseless females and their reproductive system. Artificial insemination is the process of forcefully impregnating cows by inserting an arm into the cow’s anus to hold her cervix in place and then injecting her with semen that has been collected by jerking off a bull. If you want to use a human term for this invasion without consent: It’s called rape.
Once the calf is born, it is taken away form the cow to be able to collect the milk intended for it for human consumption. If the calf is male, it will either be sent to slaughter and become veal; a female calf will go through the same excruciating process as its mother. This process is repeated over and over to keep the cow pregnant and make the most profit. Cows naturally have a lifespan of 20 years. Having to produce up to 10 times more milk than they would naturally, and suffering under the immense pressure of constant impregnation, dairy cows only live for 4 to 8 years.
Cows are extremely maternal beings that form close bonds with their babies. They are known for falling into depression after their calves are taken from them, searching for them, and grieving for multiple days or weeks. Here’s a fact: Animals are mothers too, and they can feel this pain.
Similarly to cows, sows are also artificially inseminated with semen and forced to carry out as many pregnancies in their lives as possible. They are kept in a crate with just enough space to move a step forward or backward for the entirety of their 16-week pregnancy. 10-18% of piglets that are born live soon die of disease, starvation, water, or even being accidentally crushed by their mothers. The piglets also undergo mutilation of their teeth and tails to reduce cannibalism from extreme confinement and stress. The term “bred free-range” means born outside in huts, but raised in the same overcrowded and filthy sheds as any conventional pig farm.
Goat milk is used for many dairy products around the world. They are milked up to 4 times a day for 10 years before they are sent to slaughterhouses. In many cases, they give birth right before slaughter, leaving behind their orphaned babies to die of exposure and starvation.
Chicken and Eggs
Through years of selective breeding coupled with genetic manipulation, hens on egg farms lay up to 330 eggs per year, often being sent to slaughter after 18 months. Naturally, they would lay just 10 to 15 eggs per year and live up to 10 years. The battery cages they are forced to live in for more than 12 of these 18 months give each hen the space of less than an A4 sheet of paper. Once their egg production decreases they are gassed to death or slaughtered. If that doesn’t turn you away from eggs I just want to clarify one thing: Eggs are a hen’s period. How is is socially acceptable to eats someones menstrual excrement?
People often say: “It’s normal. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s not illegal. Animals are there for us.” You know what also used to be a legal and normal thing? Slavery. In many countries that is still the case. Slaves were seen as property, women used to be there just for men. Frankly, women were a men’s possession, seen as inferior, without individual rights just like people see animals as inferior and theirs to use. We take their rights to a free life away and force them into slavery. Legality doesn’t mean morally right. The supremacy enacted of whites over non-whites and men over women in the past (and often still today) is no different to the supremacy humans think they have over other species.
Being a feminist means being for equality for all and the same opportunities for all. That should apply for all sentient beings. Every mother has a right to her own body and to a relationship with her child. Every mother should be able to experience that love. Violence is violence and oppression is oppression, no matter the species. Emotional and physical abuse is never okay. It’s time to expand your feminist belief of the same basic rights for everyone and get rid of the speciesism. Trust me, you will never miss cheese as much as a mother misses her child.
Here’s to being a feminist across all species!
Also by Rebecca: I Shaved My Head & Got A Buzz Cut. Here’s How People Reacted
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Photo: Chloe S. via Unsplash; Vlad Tchompalov via Unsplash