Saturday, July 16, 2011
We stopped on a road in New Hampshire and JC napped while Bean and I walked a dirt road. We passed a gate with a large cow pasture. Bean and I stood by the fence and I said quietly to the cows across the pasture, "We are working on it. You won't be milk machines for long if we can help it." And I just stood there feeling a lot of love for these long lashed big eyed beings. They were all looking at us and when I spoke out loud, the leader of the herd came over to see what was up. She sniffed Bean through the fence and then brought her sweet face up to me and licked me. It was what you would expect of a dog. Then the rest of the herd saw that there was something nice going on and hurried over to join us. I had my arms out rubbing their heads and necks and eventually I had a dozen tongues licking my bare arms. Exactly like a pack of affectionate puppies. We love the little cute animals and disregard the older ones who we may not see the beauty in. These cows loved the affection....couldn't get enough of it. Of course. They feel everything that the dog living under your roof feels. Given the opportunity they love affection, play, relating to their favorite friends, feeling comfortable.....Given the opportunity they avoid pain and suffering....like all of us.
I recently read a story about a cow who gave birth to a stillborn calf. She was weak and in pain after the ordeal. And still, she managed to get up and walk a long distance across miles of fields to find her own mother for comfort. She was found in the distant field with her mother wrapped around her nuzzling her. Their two large bodies like one.
I have lots of friends and family who still eat dairy. What most of them do not know (or do not want to know) is that dairy involves more prolonged suffering than the meat industry and that in fact dairy cows do end up slaughtered for beef. So they just go through a longer captivity/slave period before being slaughtered. Their babies are stolen from them so that humans can drink the milk. This is just a small part of the suffering these gentle beings go through before being slaughtered. I know that many people do not want to read about or watch the reality of the horrors we inflict on other species. Not wanting to witness the violence is fine....IF you are not contributing to it in your daily choices. For those who have already chosen a path that does not support this kind of cruelty, there is no need to witness the violence. For those who still choose to support animal agriculture, at a minimum, please be willing to witness what you choose to support. If it is too difficult to witness, you may want to consider not supporting it in any way. Next opportunity, stand face to face with a cow. Look her in the eyes. Connect with her. Then do all you can to ensure that her well-being is all you are willing to support.