This photo is mother and calf together.......as it should be.....
I came home from the library where I wrote the Bovines and Bees blog today and found that there were about 75 more cattle who were rounded up today. It has gone from bad to worse.
This is a group that is mostly moms and kids. They are separated in pens where they can see each other, but can’t get to each other.
Now, what was bellowing has turned into the cow equivalent of screaming and moaning. The mom’s are freaking out and their screams fill the air and our home. Some of them are howling like coyotes. The babies are panicked and we can hear their cries in response to the mothers. It is unbearable.
The neighbor at the bottom of the hill told me that the first year she lived here she cried through the whole round-up season. Now, she tries to just tune it out. I am just trying to breath. I cannot get my breath past my chest into my belly.
Bean, our dog, is upset by the sound of the mother’s screams and can’t relax. She is staring toward the herd with big nervous eyes. It may not be her canine language, but she understands panic and fear.
I want to just be like Byron Katie who can “love what is”. I went to BK’s 10 day school three times and I still cannot “love what is” in all situations. I feel edgy and nauseous. The sound of the moms is the same sound that, years ago, made me go next door to my landlord’s dairy farm and find the male calves being loaded on a semi. The mom’s were pressed against the barbed wire screaming just like these moms are. Some had blood coming down their chest fur and all of them had their mouths wide open bellowing for their babies. It was that witnessing that made me give up dairy. As I listen to the moms tonight, the visuals of the dairy farm mothers from years ago is like a painful movie running in my mind…
The same people, who LOVE their dogs and would be completely heartbroken if their canine “children” were taken from them, cannot understand that this is a bond between an actual mother and her birth child. These same people will often have no problem sitting down to a hamburger. It is this disconnect that perpetuates this kind of needless abuse and violence.
There is no difference between the mother/child bonds in these cattle than there is between a human mother and her child. The same pain is felt when chimpanzees are taken from their mothers for research or zoos or the exotic pet trade. Elephants feel the same pain when their babies are taken for circuses, zoos or for work in the lumber industry. The pain of that broken bond is the same in all beings.
Tomorrow some of the cattle will be taken out in trailers. Some will be returned to their grazing land.
I saw a story in the news about a trailer hauling 160 cows in Washington State. The driver changed lanes and crashed into another vehicle and the trailer was smashed and on its side. It was a two level trailer. Only 90 of the 160 cows survived. Those who survived had to be taken from the scene in volunteer trailers after saws cut the trailer apart to get to them. The photos of the survivors are intense. Bodies covered in blood and manure and bulging eyes filled with panic and fear.
I know I am rambling here. I am still, after all these years, shocked by how disconnected we humans are. I just spent the weekend at a family reunion with people who love their dogs with all their heart and would do anything for them…and, these same individuals will eat other beings who are capable of the same bonds, suffering, joy, etc.
I don’t want to be one of those people who only socialize with other vegans. And I completely understand people who make that choice. There is nothing like being with someone who understands the despair of witnessing the abuse we inflict on other species or the joy of doing something to speak up for the voiceless ones. I have this in my partner, JC and in my dearest friends and extended vegan/animal rights community.
It is ironic that I am looking up right now at the side of our stove where we have the bumper sticker: PEACE BEGINS IN THE KITCHEN, GO VEGAN….and at the same time I am listening to the abuse of these cows.
Tonight, we will watch a dvd with the volume turned up high to drown out the mother’s moans, screams and bellowing and the babies’ panicked cries. And when the film is over, I will focus on the community of caring people who are working tirelessly, all over the world everyday to shine some light in the dark corners.