As I stand here, about to face my imminent demise, I would like to reflect upon my short life on earth. I was taken away from my mother shortly after I was born and never saw her again. I will never know who my birth father is. I am only 5 years young….but I am tired, weak and ready to die. I have been impregnated multiple times, each time at the hands of a farmer via artificial insemination. All of my offspring have been torn away from me within 24 hours of delivering them into this cruel world. Even worse, each of my baby boys were systematically castrated, confined to small crates, and then slaughtered for human consumption after only a few short months of life. I believe this was done to make a human delicacy called “veal”. To me, I call them sons. More accurately, my murdered sons.
My life has been plenty challenging. I have been enslaved on a farm with the sole purpose of producing mass quantities of milk for human consumption. Some of my peers have shamefully died right before my eyes, due to the sheer physical toll that we consistently endure. Honestly, I am baffled by why we are here in the first place. Don’t humans understand that my milk is specifically designed for the growth and development of my own species? Don’t humans produce their own milk for their young? Why do they require my milk as well? And why on earth would the adult humans want to drink the milk I produce?? I only drank milk for the first 8 weeks of my life before I was weaned entirely!! I have trouble seeing any biological need for humans – children or adults – to consume my milk, yet I understand that I am part of a ubiquitous worldwide multi-billion dollar industry. My milk is so widely and commonly accepted, that it is used to make a variety of other food products, such as butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. What’s increasingly confusing to me is that I hear most humans cannot even tolerate my milk to begin with….something called “lactose intolerance”. Some humans take pills to counteract this condition just so they can drink my milk, which to me is blatantly counter-intuitive. I also hear that some humans are allergic to my milk and, in many cases, it has been attributed to worsening health.
Despite these gut-wrenching facts, producing milk for human consumption has been my one and only life’s purpose since the day that I was born. I was given absolutely no choice in the matter, nor have I been thanked or praised once for my life’s work. Standing indoors on a concrete floor while connected to electronic pumping machines for hours on end was my primary responsibility and accomplishment. Beyond the day-to-day stress and monotony of this existence, I experienced my share of trauma and pain. Ever had mastitis? I have. Yes, there are drugs for that – and believe me, I have taken plenty of antibiotics in my time – but that does not make up for the suffering I endured. I have been given shots of hormone therapy as well, which increased my production of milk and consequently increased my “on the job” hours. Honestly, who knows what types of synthetic substances they injected me with over the years and how it affected the milk that I produced? When it’s all said and done, I don’t even know if my milk was helpful or hurtful…and I never will.
All of this has made for a very depressing existence. But that is all behind me now, as I have dried up and I am no longer able to consistently produce milk in high volumes. Today I have become one of the many forgotten animals that has suddenly disappeared from the farm over the years. My peers may think that I am now living in freedom. But alas, today is my day to be slaughtered, ground up and turned into hamburger meat. On one hand, I feel extremely sorry for myself. But, on the other hand, I am relieved. I could not go on much longer living with such an abject existence. I really question who, how and why dairy was ever introduced for human consumption. It does not make any sense to me at all. I hear the slogan human’s use that my milk “does a body good” and I just don’t see it. I have also been referred to in ads as a “happy cow” and I see cute drawings of me prominently displayed on product packaging. I can personally attest to the fact that I am far from happy and I honestly wish that the dairy industry never existed in the first place. Compared to the never-ending and exhausting service I have provided over the course of my 5-year life, I am truly envious of my relatives who were raised for beef. I honestly think they had it a lot better of than me, particularly those who were grass-fed and free to roam on pastures as they pleased. I would give anything to have just one day to live my life as I please….free from the torture of having to repeatedly succumb to impregnation against my will, separation from my children at birth and the grueling physical labor that I provided with seemingly no true value or purpose. Today is indeed a massive relief, knowing that the worst is now behind me.