3 Reasons to Inspire a Vegan Mother’s Day
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
– Julia Ward Howe, Mother’s Day Proclamation
Did you know the United States version of Mother’s Day started in the 1850s in response to growing rates of infant mortality? That the members of so-called Mothers Day Work Clubs would render aid to sons on both sides of the Civil War? And that the founder of modern Mother’s Day, Ana Reeves Jarvis, spent her entire life savings trying to stop the commercialization of the holiday?
While Mother’s Day has become a nearly $20 billion dollar commercial enterprise, we want to channel the anti-war, anti-violence pronouncements of the 1850s and apply it to our nonhuman mothers and sisters. Right now a campaign of violence is being perpetrated against billions. A war so ingrained into our culture, our psyche, that most of us daily participate in the sanctioned blood-letting of innocents, other animals who have as much a desire to breathe, live, love, exist as you or I do. We have made these victims invisible, dis-assembling them behind closed doors, and reducing once vibrant beings to packaged parts.
The Dairy Industry Creates Orphans
If you consume dairy products, you are taking food from a baby. Harsh, but true. Cows on dairies are regularly impregnated (often artificially inseminated) – once every 12-13 months! For nine months, they nurture and grow a calf inside them. Like with most mothers, there is a certain expectation that when that calf is born, nurturing, grooming, nursing will follow. Yet on most dairies, calves are stolen from their mothers immediately after birth. Some might allow 24-48 hours of nursing. Most do not. Her milk is sold for human consumption.
You cannot be a commercially viable dairy and allow calves to nurse from their mothers.
Male calves will be killed. Female calves will replace their mothers, who are killed. Cows will be slaughtered at a fraction of their lifespan.
All for a fluid no human being requires for survival. We create orphans for a forgotten meal.
A Mother’s Voice Never Heard
If you consume eggs, you are eating eggs from a hen who never heard her mother’s voice. Did you know that hens speak to their chicks throughout incubation? That one of the most important social bonds – that between a mother and her offspring – occurs before chicks even hatch? When they are born, day-old chicks know the unique tenor of their mother’s voice and she knows theirs…they too begin to chirp back to her a day or so prior to hatching. Yet virtually all chicks born into the egg industry are hatched in artificial incubators inside massive warehouses.
You cannot be a commercially viable egg farm and allow hens to incubate their eggs and speak to their chicks.
Male chicks are ground up alive. Female chicks are mutilated, their beaks partially amputated without pain relief. Hens are slaughtered at a fraction of their lifespan.
All for eggs no human being requires for survival. We deny chicks their mother’s voice for a forgotten meal.
Cruel Confinement and Separation
If you eat bacon, you are eating the flesh of a piglet who was mutilated and stolen from her mother far too soon. Within 72 hours of birth, farmers cut off the tails of piglets, rip out their needle teeth, cut notches out of their ears, and castrate males…all without anesthesia or pain relief. Did you know in the wild, piglets are weaned from their moms at 4-6 mos old and that females stay with their mothers for their whole lives? Yet farmers remove piglets within 2-3 weeks of birth, stolen from their mothers who are crammed into cages so small they cannot turn around.
You cannot be a commercially viable pig farm and give sows freedom to roam and piglets time to grow old with their mothers.
Male and female pigs will be raised in concrete pens for 6-8 months and killed. Their mothers will spend 3-5 years in crates so small they cannot turn around.
All for flesh no human being requires for survival. We destroy families for a forgotten meal.
Farms ruin motherhood for so many nonhumans. Farmers intentionally select mates and they often artificially inseminate animals – virtually all cows on dairies and turkeys on farms are artificially inseminated. Farms disrupt vital social bonds, particularly those between mother and offspring. It does not have to be this way.
Change Your View
When you empathize with other animals, it becomes easier to see them as unique individuals who experience joy, feel pain, and form social bonds with one another. It becomes harder to see them as forgotten meals. And if you think intentionally and artificially breeding animals, destroying their social bonds, and taking their lives can be done humanely – think again.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle is embracing joy and rejecting needless suffering and cruelty. It is recognizing the inherent right of other animals to be respected and free from intentional harm by humans. It is about being as kind and just as possible. Veganism causes less harm.
How to Start
Sign up for our Sanctuary Sweets list and receive vegan recipes to your inbox! Take your 5 favorite recipes and veganize them! This Mother’s Day, choose compassion over cruelty and celebrate with vegan chocolate (Sjaak’s and Allison’s Gourmet are two of our faves), and vegan cheese or wine/sparkling cider. You can order vegan cheese online from: Vtopian Artisan Cheese and Miyoko’s Kitchen. Whole Foods and some co-ops carries Miyoko’s cheese, along with Heidi Ho Organics, Kite Hill, and Treeline.
Find a supportive community! Check out Meetup.com for local vegan friendly meetup groups. Ask your best friend or sympathizing family members to help. Having a support base is vital in remaining vegan.
Visit a sanctuary! Remind yourself of who you are working to save by volunteering, interning, donating to, or visiting a farmed animal sanctuary. Animal Place has a constantly updated website Sanctuaries where you can look for a sanctuary near you.
-Marji Beach is education director at Animal Place. Her degree is in animal science from UC Davis and she has spent the past decade working on behalf of farmed animals at Animal Place.