There are two animals’ voices I will never forget. They often keep me awake at night. Some days as I hear their cries in my head, the enormity of the battle we face seems overwhelming and it is difficult not to feel helpless and insignificant in the face of apparently insurmountable odds. However the stakes are too high to give up. I didn’t save them, and nothing I do will bring them back, but there are many other animals who need our help.
“Waiting To Be Milked”
The first voice belongs to a cow I met at the dairy farm next door when I was a child. I couldn’t understand why the whole herd was calling so loudly and desperately as they strained against the barbed wire fencing. The farmer explained impatiently that they were “waiting to be milked”. However, as a child, I felt instinctively they were in pain, or danger and my gut reaction was to run to their aid. I stroked a cow’s head and tried to ease her distress, but she just shook me off and continued to cry, her whole body reverberating with her anguish.
Today I know better. That cow was not waiting to be milked. That statement would assume she agreed to this life we have imposed on her. She was suffering. As a dairy cow, her udders were swollen and full almost every day of her life as she was forced into producing unnaturally high yields of milk. Then she was milked by metal machines on a schedule which was completely different than if she were suckling her own calf. She was also grieving for her most recently stolen calf as well as all the others she had lost in years gone by. Listening to that dairy cow bellow at her loss that day I was fundamentally changed. I will never forget her strident, melancholy cries expressing her incomprehension at the continuous emotional and physical pain she was being subjected to.
At least now I know what to do about it, there is a solution and it is so joyously simple: I choose to be vegan. I will never again inflict suffering on cows. No cow will experience the indignity of serial rapes, pregnancies and birthings. They will not be subjected to the physical pain of a repetitive, excessive and continuous milking regime. They will not be caused the emotional trauma of repeatedly losing the babies they carried for 9 months every year. They will never have to endure an eternal sentence of slavery.
I will never again be the cause of her suffering.
Screaming For Mercy
The second voice belongs to a pig. It is his piercing scream as he was being strung up on the slaughter line that haunts me. He left an indelible mark on my soul that day. His anguish is absolutely unforgettable. I am consumed on a daily basis by the knowledge that this exact scenario is being played out every second of every day.
In fact, it is happening to approximately 48 other pigs just like him, every second of every day, as they too are killed for human consumption.
I was lucky enough not to witness his murder at first hand. I saw it while watching the documentary ‘Earthlings’. Nevertheless, the mind numbing terror he expressed is undiminished by the fact I saw it on a video. Still, years later, it is his voice I hear slicing through my consciousness every time I smell bacon frying or pork roasting. His cries for mercy play in my head every time someone says “Hmm bacon”. And it is him who renders me speechless for a moment as the desperation and immediacy of his circumstances obliterate all other thoughts from my brain.
Let Their Memory Fuel Your Vegan Advocacy
I started out this post by saying the obstacles seemed insurmountable. That isn’t true. The obstacles are not insurmountable. The solution is so joyously simple.
Solution #1: Be Vegan
The lives of animals are saved and their suffering is not only diminished, it is completely eradicated when we commit to a vegan lifestyle. When we choose to be vegan we make all the difference in the world to between 80 and 400 animals this year and every year of our lives for the rest of our lives. That is the number of unique individual lives you will save this year when you are vegan.
Solution #2: Help Other People Be Vegan
How do we stop this massacre from happening? We spread the message by educating people about what veganism really is, how easy it is to be vegan, and what a joyful, peaceful life you will have when you know you are no longer contributing towards the suffering of animals. Motivate just one person go vegan and you will have helped to save the lives of between 3,000 and 16,000 more animals than before. You do make a difference!
I know now that there is too much at stake to permit myself to accommodate feelings of being overwhelmed. That is a senseless emotion that is not constructive. Raising awareness for the rights of animals is an urgent matter of life or death. There is no time to waste. Instead, I use their memory to spur me onward into positive action. I let it fuel my vegan advocacy.
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If you do not feel the urgency of this situation, then you need to open your mind to the true lives of farm animals. Please visit Elated’s video page to watch one of the videos exposing animal agriculture. Have the courage to know the truth. Their lives depend on it.
Lest we forget.