As many workers take this holiday Monday to relax, spend time with family, and enjoy the final days of summer, most spare no thought for those enslaved to human masters on farms around this country — those who get no holiday.
Historically, animals have made up the foundation of a nation’s work force.
They pulled our carts, our plows, our wagons, sleds and sledges. They carried us across great distances and into battle, many times suffering worse casualties than our own. They have been employed as our defenders and ultimately as our victims.
For non-human animals who have been dealt the brunt of human laziness, many times with maliciousness and extreme brutality, where is their holiday?
Although many tasks and chores once reserved for “beasts of burden” have now been relinquished to machines, animals of today still suffer the “employment” of humans, and with tremendous cruelty.
For dairy cows, who are expected to produce 6-7 gallons of milk a day – totaling, on average, 1,953 gallons of milk a year – not only must many of them endure abrasive milking machines, they must also deal with the grief of having their newborn calves ripped from them within days of giving birth.
The work hazards of being a dairy cow are chronic. Mastitis, a potentially fatal mammary gland infection that affects dairy cows, is extremely common. The swelling of the udders leads to pus actually being excreted into the milk Americans buy and consume — and it’s allowed. Milk containing 19% pus has been recorded on the market. In fact, all US states, excluding Hawaii, exceed the recommended industry standard of somatic cell count (pus).
Lameness occurs often, due to Laminitis and filthy living conditions, such as being forced to stand in excrement and urine for long periods.
Animals such as dairy cows and egg-laying hens are not so much employed by farmers and agricultural corporations, since employment implies compensation and consent to agreed tasks. Animals viewed as food producers in this country could be called nothing other than slaves. They have virtually no rights and they are not compensated for their work other than to be provided with a place to live and food to eat. And these “compensations” may be torturous and scant at best. They did not agree to this way of life, but were instead born into it.
The federal holiday of Labor Day came about due to President Grover Cleveland’s desire to quell growing hostility from the labor party in response to his ordering of troops to violently end the Pullman Strike in Illinois, which resulted in the killing of 13 strikers.
If those of us who truly care about animals were to stand up against the violent killing of 40 billion land animals every year, could we get a Labor Day for animals?
What would the world look like if animals were honored and respected?
What would the world look like if animal slavery were ended?