The animal farming industry has done quite a job of advertising images of ‘happy cows‘ gladly giving us their milk, as well as covering up their offensive procedures. However, even if all the heartless practices associated with factory farming were not customary, it is deeply troubling that the female reproductive system of any species is widely perceived as nothing more than an economic resource.
Many in the feminist movement might be interested to learn that some in the animal industry actually use the term ‘rape-rack’ to describe the piece of equipment used to restrain and artificially inseminate cows and pigs. Even on many small-scale farms though, inseminators invade the animal’s body by putting their arm up her rectum, to push on the cervix, while inseminating her with the other hand. Inconceivably to me, even women perform this job.
I often ponder in disbelief our culture’s uncivilized ways and what people choose to fund with their purchases. It’s hard to imagine a human being taking a crying baby from his mother shortly after birth to have his throat slit. However, this is the fate of calves born to cows used for dairy production. ‘Bobby calves,’ the unwanted male calves who are an unavoidable by-product of the dairy industry, are generally taken away soon after birth (both on organic and non-organic farms), and are frequently sold to be turned into ‘veal.’ In some countries, male calves are shot at birth.
Both mother and calf are traumatized and bellow loudly after their forced separation. If nature was allowed to take its course, calves would suckle from their mothers from several months to a year. If given the option, mother cows and their offspring would stay together for life.
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