Mother’s Day

Most of us love our mothers but do we respect motherhood?

Humans are not the only mothers. All the animals we exploit for food, clothing, research, entertainment, labour and companionship, are mothers. In fact, the entire industry of animal use is built on the backs of mothers who are used to for breeding purposes. Lambs, calves, piglets, and chicks are continually bred to replace the animals slaughtered to meet the non-vegan demand for the products of their bodies, and to replace those who are killed when they are of no further use to the industry.

All animal use implies violent use of ‘motherhood’ through controlled, often forced breeding, and the use of artificial insemination. All animal use destroys the precious bond that exists between mothers and their children. If they are allowed to nurse their young at all, they are force weaned by humans instead of naturally by their mothers. Mothers and their young who live on vegan sanctuaries are given the autonomy to nurse their young that is their right. At our sanctuary we have witnessed sheep breastfeeding their lambs for up to a year. Many of the animals living at Eden arrived here pregnant or with young babies. They remain together, of their own volition, until their deaths.

The dairy industry is predicated on the separation of calves from their mothers; they don’t get the chance to feed them or nurture them at all but the grief of losing them is nonetheless extremely painful. In Spring, when there is a demand for ‘lamb’, the countryside echos with the cries of lambs who have been separated from their mothers in preparation for their journey to the slaughterhouse.

Most chickens never see their mothers. They are artificially hatched and reared without them. Given the freedom to hatch their eggs as they wish, hens gently turn the eggs every day, clucking to the chicks to reassure them.

Few are as protective of their babies as hens which is why we refer to someone protective as a ‘mother hen’. We have observed the mothering capabilities of a rescued hen and her chicks at Eden When we entered Mamou’s house to care for her, she thought we might hurt her chicks. The brave little hen used to fly up and attack us to keep us away. Think about it. A human is hundreds of times larger, heavier and stronger than a hen.

Colloquially we recognise the excellent mothering qualities of hens, yet when we consume chicken flesh, or the eggs they have ovulated, we exploit mothers of another species. When we consume dairy products, we pay for the exploitation of mother cows and their separation from their babies. When we pay for animal flesh, we pay for artificial insemination, forced breeding, and the separation of young animals from their mothers to feed the non-vegan demand for their dead bodies.

This mother’s day, please think of the billions of mothers who are just as important to their offspring and human mothers are to us.