It has been many a week since last I posted a link roundup, ’tis true; and, while I’ve managed to hoard a literal ton of ’em (okay, not really), rather than dump them all on you at once, all haphazard-like, today I present a short-and-sweet, family-themed mini-link roundup in honor of Mother’s Day.
As with many mainstream holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, Earth Day – I’m looking at you!), Mother’s Day can be rather bittersweet for animal advocates. While it’s nice to set a day aside for loving and pampering and honoring your mom (which is something that most of us should be doing 365 days of the year, I might add), the holiday celebrations and rhetoric are predictably anthropocentric, ignoring and erasing the experiences of the billions of nonhuman mothers across the globe – many of whom are enslaved, exploited, raped and killed for the very fact of their “miraculous” ability to give life to the next generation. Some miracle, right?
Enter Glenn Gaetz and Joanne Chang of the Vancouver-based animal advocacy organization Liberation BC. This April, the group launched The Cow Ribbon Campaign. Modeled after similar awareness ribbon campaigns, the Cow Ribbon Campaign uses black and white spotted ribbons to draw awareness to the estimated nine million “dairy” cows imprisoned in North American dairy operations in 2010 alone – and, by extension, the billions of additional female farmed animals whose reproductive systems are hijacked for human wants and convenience.
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of awareness ribbons – who on earth can possibly remember what all those colors mean!? “awareness,” meh – what a meaningless term.; etc. – but the Cow Ribbons are rather distinct and unique, and make for a great conversation starter. Plus, their meaning is immediately obvious: what Westerner doesn’t associate black and white spots with cows – and cows with animal agriculture?
The ribbons are available for a minimum donation of $5 – and, while it’s a little late in the game to order them for Mother’s Day delivery, another great thing about the Cow Ribbons is that you can wear them any day, or every day; the ribbon retains its significance throughout the year. In the meantime, though, Lib BC has plenty of geeky goodness that you can use to spread the word: avatars for Twitter and FB, eCards for Mom, fliers for your friendly neighborhood billboards.
This Sunday, encourage others to remember mothers of all species.
Marji describes the day she decided to give up animal’s milk for good. It was the same day she first assisted in the birth of a male calf on a dairy farm:
Back to the cow. She was in hard labor, stuck with an oversized calf who just did not want to leave. I could not blame the calf too much. I was asked to help pull this unknowingly stubborn baby from the womb. And I did, literally pulling on tiny hooves and perfect calf legs. Out popped a slimy mostly bovine-looking creature. The birth was shocking for me, though I’m certain not nearly as much as for either cow or calf.
Go read the whole piece to find out what happened next. And bring a box of tissue or an oversized hanky or something; you’ll need it.
I spend a lot of time writing (and talking and thinking and ranting) about the biological, emotional, and sexual exploitation of female animals, and how this exploitation mirrors and is tied to that of human females. But the truth is that males suffer, too. In a hierarchy, all but the select few situated at the top of the system are objectified, deindividualized, discriminated against, and otherwise oppressed in some way, shape or form.
In this essay, Marji dissects an article appearing in the April 2010 edition of The Smithsonian. Also titled “Breeding the Perfect Bull,” it speaks of manipulating the reproductive systems and genetic codes of bulls and cows in order to create the “perfect” bull. Not “perfect” in an evolutionary sense, but culinarily so: the “perfect” bull is not he who is best suited for survival, but he with the most tastily “marbled” flesh. (Ugh.) And so what happens when this “perfect” bull becomes injured? You’ll have to join Marji to find out, but suffice to say that it’s a…Revelation. (Blecht, I think I need a shower after that pun.)
Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for rescued farmed animals located in Santa Clarita, California, recently negotiated the release of 60 neglected dairy cows – many of whom are pregnant! – from a soon-to-be-closed dairy farm in CA. Which is totally awesome, except for the logistics – currently, Gentle Barn doesn’t have any extra room to house these mothers and their babies. Gentle Barn needs to raise $200,000 to build two new barns – and a generous donor has pledged to match donations, dollar-for-dollar. Can you help?
Herbivore Clothing’s Unisex “Bacon Had A Mom” tee. It’s dark green, with a sketch of a crazy adorable (flying?) piglet juxtaposed with the phrase “Bacon Had A Mom.” Image via Herbivore.
I love this shirt, and so will you.
How did bacon become the hipster meat of choice lately? We are sick of hearing people talk about how much they love it and we’re tired of seeing that ad pop up on Facebook that says “Everything goes better with bacon.” Piss off! That “bacon” was a living, feeling creature whose mom loved her. Think about that before you start making cutesy shirts about how good bacon is.
If you’ve got the scratch, buy one for you and for your very best vegan friend. (Hopefully, that’s dear old mom, but we should all be so lucky; I’d call my mom vegan-sympathetic at best. A huge improvement over her initial hostility, to be sure, but I wish she’d join the team already, you know?)
Feeling snarky? Gift one to your favorite feminist omnivore. Maybe she’ll get the message, or maybe she’ll dump your snarky vegan ass. Whatever. Win/win.
(Additional) Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Farmed Animal Sponsorships & Vegan Chocolates
By the by, if you’re still racking your brain for a Mother’s Day gift idea, may I suggest sponsoring a farmed animal mother or orphan child? While many groups offer pre-printed adoption packages in exchange for a minimum donation (Farm Sanctuary’s Mother’s Day adoption drive springs to mind), those with access to a PC and/or printer can create their own, thus saving precious shipping time – and ensuring that 100% of the donations go to the organization. And, hello!: DIY presents endless customization options. Bonus points: if your mom’s tech-savvy, email her the packet and conserve ink and paper, too!
Sadie of Animal Place; Woodstock Sanctuary’s Valentine’s piglets, Nemo, Eva, Pinky and Wally; Karma and Mr. Rojas of The Gentle Barn; Stella of Peaceful Prairie; Maple Farm’s Sid & Chloe – any of these rescued animals would make a wonderful “gift” for your own mother this Mother’s Day. Their life stories illustrate both extremes of the human spirit, and also demonstrate that humans are not the only animals capable of experiencing altruism and kindness, or of forming loving, nurturing family units, whether predicated on biological bonds or those of friendship.
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