Kelly over at easyVegan.info has written a piece about the seperation anxiety experienced by the mother cows and their calves when they are split up on farms. This beautifully written piece is enough to bring tears to your eyes, and I would highly encourage this to be passed on to any omnivores you know. Unless someone is essentially emotionally dead, it would be hard for them not to second-guess their choices. “A cow is so much like a woman” also explores dairy farming in detail. There are far too many people, including vegetarians, who either choose to ignore or are ignorant toward how dairy cows are treated. Unfortunately, dairy farming is generally thought to be the “kind” side of factory farming – mainly because the animals, as far as most people are concerned, are not killed. This is completely false, however, as the cows are slaughtered for meat as soon as their milk/baby production slacks off.
One particularly interesting aspect of this article is the way the author examines how similar cows are to people. They experience emotions and grieve when their calves are taken away. In an excerpt from Jeffrey Masson’s The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, a farmer talks about the worry and surprise that she has personally seen. Of course, emotions are definitely not restricted to cows. Everyone who has a companion animal, who has spent time at shelters, or even those who have simply observed animals in nature, can attest to seeing animal equivalents of human emotions. For example, about five years ago my family and I were “adopted” by a family of stray cats. Some of these cats had a bad habit of running across the road to the woods, and one of them got hit and was killed. The brother to this cat walked over to him and patted him with his paw. Then started meowing. This was clearly grief. Anyone who claims animals don’t feel the same emotions as we do is in denial.
My favorite (and the most intriguing) part of Kelly’s post is the following excerpt:
Non-human animals, some of whom may be unable to make sense of their suffering (clearly, this varies widely from species to species), may actually have a greater capacity for suffering than humans. When the source of this suffering is the rupture and violation of deep, evolutionary instincts – such as the drive to reproduce and parent – the pain, panic and terror may be impossible for us to comprehend.
I will be completely honest and say I’ve never, ever considered this. It is an amazing point to consider. We know that animals can suffer, however, we cannot fathom how deep this suffering is. What we can do is guess at it, and it’s not pretty. Consider, for a moment, that you became disoriented and woke up in a familiar place. Obviously, you would be worried or scared, but the fact that you know where you were would be comforting. Now, what if you woke up disoriented, but you were someplace you’d never been or seen. You would be terrified. In the same way, animals who cannot figure out what is happening may be suffering even greater than a human would be.
Like I said at the start of this post, this is a beautiful, thought-provoking, and well-written piece of animal rights literature. Please take a look at it and then forward it to your omnivorous friends.
easyVegan.info – A Cow Is So Much Like A Woman