For the Mothers Whose Children Are Taken Away From Them

You are not forgotten.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As I sit here wishing I could tell my mom how much I love her just one more time, I can’t help but think of how different a person I would be if I didn’t have the mom I did. I also can’t help but think of all the moms who weren’t even given the chance to take care of their children and watch them grow.

Because not all mothers are given this opportunity.

Not all mothers are given the chance to nurture and care for their children.

Not all children are given the chance to stay with their moms to be loved and comforted.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for a lot of mothers out there. So on this Mother’s Day and for the rest of our lives, I ask that we strive to celebrate and appreciate all mothers and to extend that to all species.

The reality of the dairy industry

Photo of many cows crowded and contained like prisoners
Photo of many cows crowded and contained like prisoners
Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

In the dairy industry, mothers are often forgotten and ignored. Only cows who give birth can produce milk, just like human mothers. But it doesn’t happen how you think it does.

Cows are forcefully artificially inseminated by the hands of a farmer. Imagine that for a moment. They are pregnant for around 9 months, just like human mothers. In order for a farmer to get the maximum amount of milk, they take their baby calf away from them. This usually happens within 24 hours after giving birth. Because naturally if the calf drinks the milk that is meant for them then it takes away any profit that the dairy industry can make by selling that milk in stores.

If she gives birth to a male, he will most likely be killed for veal. If she gives birth to a female, she will be subjected to repeated forceful artificial insemination as well. It’s a vicious, unnecessary cycle. Many people who buy dairy products either aren’t aware of this or can easily ignore reality because they see happy cows on the front of their perfectly packaged product.

The cows you see grazing on the pasture is only the reality for less than 30% of cows. The other 70.4% are caged in factory farms — a statistic that does not differentiate between cows raised for dairy and cows raised to be killed for food. The dairy industry doesn’t want to show you the reality of what it takes to produce enough milk to meet consumers' demands. There is no such thing as being “humanely” killed for a product just to satisfy one’s taste buds, especially when it means that lives have to be taken in order to produce it.

Cows can live up to 15–20 years old. In the dairy industry, females are repeatedly artificially inseminated until they are no longer producing enough milk and then killed. This is usually around 5 years old. Veal calves are killed at 16 to 18 weeks old. Cows raised for food are killed at 18 months old. At the end of the day, no matter where these cows reside, they are still killed extremely prematurely from their expected lifespan.

Imagine living a life where you are treated as nothing but a product and know no ounce of safety or happiness. Would this be accepted if we were drinking dog milk?

This is the beauty of letting a mother and child stay together

Dolly (cow mother) and her baby calf River
Dolly (cow mother) and her baby calf River
Dolly and her baby River (Photo: Tommy’s Transport Team)

This is Dolly on the left. Dolly was bred 6 weeks before she was rescued. When she was taken to an animal sanctuary to live out her life in peace, they had no idea that she was pregnant. Months later, she gave birth and is now nursing her daughter River to grow into a fully grown cow. No one is ever going to take River away from Dolly. River will never know what it is like to have her reproductive system abused over and over just to have her child taken away from her and her milk sold to humans.

River is drinking milk from her mother.
River is drinking milk from her mother.
River drinking milk from Dolly (Photo: Tommy’s Transport Team)

The milk that Dolly produces will never be taken away from her in order to give to humans. It is solely for River. This is how it should be.

Photo of baby River, the daughter of Dolly the cow
Photo of baby River, the daughter of Dolly the cow
Baby River (Photo: Tommy’s Transport Team)

And if that’s not enough to convince you that you should stop consuming dairy products, look at that face. Her eyes make me melt.

Tommy is one of the few, few lucky ones

A selfie of the author and Tommy the calf looking into the camera with his spotted nose
A selfie of the author and Tommy the calf looking into the camera with his spotted nose
Photo of Author and Tommy

This is Tommy. He was rescued by my friends from an organic dairy farm the day he was born. He was found sick and close to death. The farmer knew this and didn’t do anything about it. Why? Because he didn’t care about Tommy. He didn’t see Tommy as an individual but as a byproduct needed to produce milk for profit. If my friends didn’t rescue Tommy, he probably would’ve died that day.

Tommy the calf laying on the floor with the author kissing him on the head
Tommy the calf laying on the floor with the author kissing him on the head
Photo of Author and Tommy

But here he is living out his best life possible in an animal sanctuary. He will never be seen as a product but as an individual with a personality and a will to live. No, he is not with his mother, the way it should’ve been.

There is no need to consume another species’ milk well into adulthood just like there is no need for a baby to continue breastfeeding past a certain age. The dairy industry is not only unnecessary, but cruel, deceiving, and unhealthy.

Milk is only produced for the baby of that species and for nothing else. It is not because cows just produce milk. It doesn’t work that way. They are mothers just like your own mother or yourself.

Most of us know how special the bond can be between a mother and child. Tommy should’ve had the opportunity to stay with his mom just as most of us do. A product does not justify taking away someone’s baby, abusing their reproductive system, or accepted because of mere taste buds.

So what can you do?

If you consume dairy products you are unfortunately funding an industry that takes advantage of the beauty of motherhood where her milk supplies the nutrients and growth hormones her calf needs to be healthy. It’s not only unnecessary but there are many other alternatives out there that don’t involve animal cruelty.

Educate yourself on the dairy industry, the effects drinking the milk of another species can have on your immune system, and the many alternatives that are out there that taste just as good but without the cruelty.

Choose plant milk. The options are endless. Oat. Soy. Cashew. Almond. There’s vegan ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and anything you can think of nowadays. Choose any other alternative that doesn’t require a child to be taken away from their mother.

None of us would be here if it wasn’t for the amazing thing called childbirth. While we use this day and the rest of our lives to show love to our own mothers, let’s extend that care towards the most vulnerable mothers out there whose reproductive system is taken advantage of for the entirety of their lives in order to provide an unnecessary product.

So today ask yourself, are your taste buds worth it?

Photo of Author

On a journey of constant learning and self-growth. Nonconformist. Passionate about minimalism, animal rights, and health.

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