For All Mothers.

We recently celebrated Mother's Day, a day to celebrate and honor our mothers and the bond between mothers and their children.  I hope everyone had a chance to spend some quality and loving time with their mother, whether by phone, Skype, or in person.  For those whose mothers have passed, I hope you were able to set time aside to celebrate their memory and your blessed time with them.  To all the mothers out there, hope you had an amazing Mother's Day.  You deserve praise, acknowledgment, and love, if not all the time, for this one special day.

As humans, we obviously have our priorities and focus on our own human mothers and children.  I would love to direct your attention out further, if only to increase awareness about the great, vast world that exists beyond our couch, home, town, city, state, country, to the animal kingdom, which, like us, has mother-child relationships too.

Same process, with some different twists and turns here and there.  Sex, birth, raising the child, sending the child off (to college?).  It's definitely a similar process that many animals go through; we now have so many movies and shows where we can watch these animals in action, watch the birth itself, watch the mother-child bond formed, watch the child grow and the journey between the two and others of the family/group/species.  It's sweet, and we can connect because we went through the same experience.

Today I specifically want to bring focus to one animal in this kingdom of animals: the cow.  Unfortunately, today's cows have been plighted into a more disturbing twist of the whole process that goes like this: 

Mama Cow is artificially inseminated by a human.  Mama Cow gives birth to Baby Calf.  Within days of birth, Baby Calf is dragged away from Mama Cow.  If female, Baby Calf is raised to be a Mama Cow that will go through this same process.  If male, Baby Calf is raised as veal, living a short and deprived life to end up on someone's plate.  Mama Cows, of course, are used for their milk, meant for Baby Calf.  Instead, they spend their lives in confinement, producing their babies' milk for human consumption.  And, just like humans and every other mammalian mother, since they have to be pregnant/give birth to produce milk, they are constantly artificially inseminated until their bodies completely wear out from giving milk, giving birth, being used and abused, at which point they become hamburger meat.

Now, as a mother, or at least someone who has/had a mother, imagine going through this same situation, as a mother or child.  Why is it horrific, unsettling, unethical, and just pure wrong in our case... but not theirs?  A mother-child bond is a mother-child bond, regardless of the race, religion, or species.  If it would be considered wrong for this to happen to us, to one of you, how can it not be equally wrong for the Mama Cow and her Baby Calf? 

We make food choices each and every day.  While it may be considered part of our world's norm right now, every time we purchase a dairy food item, be it milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, (or eggs) or anything else that is produced from the lactation of a mother mammal - the same lactation that is meant for her newborn - we contribute to the process of stealing babies away, of killing babies for food, of enslaving babies, of using mothers for their milk.

Honoring cows at the Walk For Farm Animals in 2010.
In honor of mothers everywhere this week, why not try abstaining from eating foods that exploit animals, namely dairy and eggs? And if you're feeling extra fancy, a 30-Day Veg Pledge certainly can't hurt. 

And if you need any more convincing, you can check out a great post by Lindsay about kicking the dairy habit, as well as a few kiss-worthy links below:

If you are a mother, I encourage you to think about your child and make a compassionate choice, a choice you would want for him/her.  

If you are a child, I encourage you to think about your mother and make a compassionate choice, a choice you would want for her.  

I encourage everyone to think about a world without unnecessary suffering for mothers and children and make compassionate choices which will help the world we live in become that very place.