Go Vegan for All Mothers

There is no difference between the worry of a human mother and an animal mother for their offspring. A mother’s love does not derive from the intellect but from the emotions, in animals just as in humans. – Maimonides

This Mother’s Day, be kind to someone else’s mom — by going vegan. After all, animals have mothers, too, and animal mothers love their children just as humans love theirs.

We’ve all heard the term “mother hen” used to describe someone with a strong maternal instinct. That’s because hens are doting parents who will even care for other baby animals as if they were their own. When not confined to filthy factory farms, hens lovingly tend to their eggs and “talk” to their unhatched chicks, who chirp back while they’re still in the shell!

But birds used for food never get to see their chicks, because they hatch in large metal incubators. The male birds are useless to hatcheries — because they don’t produce eggs and because they’re not bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they are either suffocated to death or ground up alive. You heard that right: Fluffy yellow chicks are suffocated or ground up while still alive — on a massive scale.

The female chicks are sent to egg farms, where they’re crammed into wire cages or confined to dark, crowded sheds and forced to live amid accumulated urine and feces. Part of the birds’ sensitive beaks are cut off with a hot blade — and no painkillers — because in their misery and frustration, the confined birds might peck at one another, causing injuries.

When the hens begin to lay fewer eggs — usually when they’re around 2 years old — they’re sent to the slaughterhouse, where their throats are slit and they’re often scalded to death in the defeathering tank.

Birds endure all this suffering just because humans like to eat their eggs. But it’s so simple to make great-tasting brownies, cookies and cakes, as well as breakfast scrambles and “egg” salad, without actually using any eggs. If you’re planning to make — or order — a meal for your family this Mother’s Day, why not do it without contributing to cruelty to animals?

We can spare gentle mother cows a world of pain and heartbreak simply by saying no to dairy milk and instead enjoying creamy beverages, frozen desserts, gooey cheese pizza and hearty lasagna made with vegan milk.

Like hens, cows are subjugated and their reproductive systems are hijacked and controlled. On dairy farms, female cows are artificially inseminated and kept almost constantly pregnant so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. Their babies are taken away from them shortly after they’re born. The male calves are commonly killed for veal, and the females are turned into “milk machines” like their mothers. They, too, end up at the slaughterhouse when their milk production wanes.

This Mother’s Day, let’s acknowledge that all animals are sentient beings who feel pain and suffer when treated cruelly and mourn when they’re separated from their loved ones. Let’s honor and respect  mothers and babies of all species by going vegan.

Humans Have No Monopoly on Motherly Love

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and I can’t think of a better time to remember that humans don’t have a monopoly on loving and caring for their children, or on the anguish and grief of losing a child.

For cows and their calves, the first minutes after birth are spent developing a bond that will last a lifetime. Throughout life, mother and child maintain social contact and regularly enjoy each other’s companionship. Pity, then, the poor dairy cow, kept pregnant and lactating so humans can steal the milk meant for her baby. Pity, too, mother and child when that baby is male. He is taken, umbilical cord still attached, from his mother before even his first taste of his mother’s milk and loaded onto a truck bound for a short and painful life in a veal crate. Both mother cow and calf cry out for each other for days, and mother cows have been known to escape their enclosures to run after trucks taking their babies away.

Mother seals can pick out their pups in a sea of hundreds using their uncanny powers of vocal recognition. How painful it is for them to hear their pups cry as they are clubbed and axed on the Arctic ice by seal killers who skin the pups for sealskin gloves and fashion accessories? The mother seals cry, too, and desperately try to save their pups from slaughter, but the seal killers hold them at bay with spears and other weapons.

Among the world’s most intelligent animals, dolphins are known for graceful synchronized swimming, but dolphin mothers and their babies also synchronize their breathing for the first few weeks following the babies’ birth. These dedicated moms may nurse their young for up to ten years and will also mentor less experienced females by allowing them to babysit as practice for when they have babies of their own. If only they could teach them to avoid the nets and long lines of commercial fishing boats, who consider the dolphins nothing more than “by-catch.”

Nurturing begins in the nest for chicken moms. Mother hens will turn their eggs as many as five times an hour and cluck softly to their chicks, who chirp back to her from inside their shells! Once chicks hatch, devoted moms use their wings to shield their babies from predators and have been known to refuse to leave their nests during a fire if they have newly hatched chicks. Chickens on an egg farm, though, have no opportunity to raise their babies, and male chicks, deemed “useless” by the egg industry, are often tossed into a grinding machine while they are still alive.

Fur-bearing mothers, like foxes, rabbits, and minks, make sure their children are warm and protected in their dens before they leave to search for food. Many never come home, their legs crushed and shattered in steel-jawed traps set by fur trappers. Many will chew their own leg off to get back to their babies. Sadly, it isn’t long before shock, blood loss, or infection kills the mother, and her children, waiting in vain at home, die, too, of starvation.

Human children taken from their mothers often headlines the news, but the fact that animal babies are stolen from their mothers every day isn’t considered newsworthy. But listen to a mother cow crying for her stolen calf, or the wail of a mother seal over her murdered and skinned child and understand that grief and pain are not just something human mothers feel.

This Mother’s Day, please take a moment to recognize the unique bond between mothers and children of all species. To support all moms, go vegan, wear vegan fashion, use cruelty-free products, and never exploit animals in any other way.