Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
We may call cows used for their milk “mothers”, but we don’t always treat them with respect. Cows used for their milk are among the most abused animals in the country, made to endure rape and the kidnapping of their young before they are murdered. At a time when India is rightly focused on improving the lives of women, let’s be sure not to leave our female animal friends behind. As PETA founder Ingrid E Newkirk has said, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness, and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. Each one values his or her life and fights the knife”.
Rape: When a female human is forcibly and involuntarily violated sexually, it’s called “rape”. When female cows are forcibly and involuntary violated sexually, it’s called “artificial insemination”. To impregnate a cow – without her consent – a person jams his or her arm far into the cow’s rectum in order to locate and position the uterus and then forces an instrument into her vagina. The cow is defenseless to stop it.
Even those in the dairy industry recognize that cows are victims: the device used to restrain cows for this invasive procedure is called a “rape rack“.
Kidnapping: There is no such thing as a “dairy cow”. Like human mothers, cows produce milk to nourish their babies. In the dairy industry, calves are stolen from their mothers immediately after they are born so that the milk meant for them can be consumed by humans. Their mothers cry out in vain, calling to their lost young ones. During PETA’s investigation of the Indian dairy industry, we found male calves whose mouths were tied shut with ropes so that they couldn’t cry out when they were hungry. These babies are then left to die a slow, agonising death in a corner. Once or twice a week, a haath gaadi wala comes by and picks up the dead bodies and sometimes dying calves and takes them to be skinned for calf leather. Female calves will follow the same doomed path as their mothers and grandmothers.
Murder: Cows can naturally live up to 18 years, but cows used for dairy production generally only live until their milk production wanes, when they are sent to slaughterhouses to be killed for their meat and skin. They are crammed onto vehicles in such high numbers that many suffocate, are inadvertently gouged by others’ horns or die en route. At the slaughterhouse, their throats are hacked at with dull knives. Often, dismembering begins before they lose consciousness.
Let’s work together to end the exploitation of all living beings. One simple but important step that we can take towards creating a kinder society is to leave meat, eggs and dairy products off our plates.