Ever since I became a Vegan a short time ago, it has made me think differently about many aspects of my life and the culture around me. It also has opened my mind up to greater clarity about things I already believe. This much is true for the issue of my belief in Feminism and what that means for me now as a Vegan.
In truth; to be a Feminist with emphasis on strengthening the social, political and especially reproductive rights of women and to yet drink milk that came from a forcefully impregnated cow just seems like a backwards step. Some may say that it’s just a cow, and that giving milk is what they are here to do but I have to put a stop to that kind of thinking. Just because a cow is an animal and you may not think that it has the same rights as you do, doesn’t mean that it deserves the kind of life that the dairy industry forces it to live.
The life of a dairy cow is one of forced impregnation and unnatural life. Of course, the cow cannot produce milk unless it has just given birth to a calf, so the farmers impregnate her. According to an article I read on the website One Green Planet, this artificial insemination is not pleasant and the deed is done in a constraining device also called a ‘rape rack’. Also, according to this article, physical injury, disease, and infection can occur as a cause of artificial insemination, even more so if the person providing insemination is not extremely careful and properly trained. If this doesn’t tweak your feminism senses than I don’t know what will. The term for the place where it all begins just says it all, and no matter if the being inside is an animal or a human, what is done here is just wrong. No being deserves to be bred over and over just to satisfy the supposed needs of another when what she produces is not intended for them at all. Her calf is the one that the milk she produces is meant for, and with the way the process works in the dairy industry, they never receive it.
After the process of insemination is over and the time comes for the calf to be born, it is then almost immediately taken away from her. Depending on the gender of the calf, one of who things will happen. If the calf is a female it will be taken and raised the same way as her mother, into a life of forced insemination and rape and then milked until she has no more to give and is no longer useful. If the calf is a male then it is taken and usually killed to support the veal industry, another casualty of the dairy industry.
After researching this process, I just kept thinking about what I found out and the horrible ways that these animals are treated. As a feminist, I would never even want to think about this happening to women. So I had to ask myself, was I okay with this happening to another female being? The answer to this is an emphatic no. Human or animal, no being deserves to live this kind of a life just to satisfy another’s appetite. Either if it be a human’s sexual appetite in the case of men and women or our physical appetite for dairy milk, both are wrong. Taking advantage of others for our own benefit will always be something I stand up to, and this is no different. I hope that if you consider yourself a feminist (or lean that way at all) and have not yet taken steps towards veganism that this may open up a new perspective for you, the way that is has for me.