Littlest Sister Sitting on my Lap
Littlest Sister Sitting on my Lap
Motherly Love
Motherly Love

Motherhood floats my boat. I can remember clearly and vividly and with much love the day my mother walked through the front of our home with her fifth and last child – “littlest sister”. I am the middle child of five and had just turned six and Santa had just come and gone. Much to my mother’s dismay, she had spent Christmas in the hospital waving down to us as we stood under her window on the frosty, crunchy, winter lawn.

I was in love,  totally in awe of and in love with my little sister. It didn’t matter to me that Christmas had been compromised, that my mom had not been there with us. All that mattered was that she, “littlest sister”, was here in my life. This is the  first understanding of and connection to motherhood that I can recall, apart from the deep and abiding love I felt and still feel for my mother. This feeling has followed through all of my life. I remember mothering my mother when she was ill, sitting by her bedside and willing her to get better. I remember fretting over sick or lost  furry companions and being heartbroken when our family bird died. I remember my father saying,

I don’t know what you’re so sad about. This is not a tragedy. Losing a horse would be a tragedy.

Caged Budgie
Caged Budgie

I was infuriated by the callousness of this remark and at great risk, stood staunchly before the towering presence that was my father and told him so. I could not have been more than ten or eleven years old and one did not ever talk back to my father. But I did and nothing much happened other than a lot of blustering. I felt infinitely better knowing that I had defended the importance and meaning of the life of this little caged bird who mattered to himself, to me and to other members of my family.

So, it is no surprise that when I became a mother myself, I was head over heels for these two little beings who had come into this world, gracing my life beyond description. I feel the same way about my grand-chlblets. There isn’t anything I would not do to help them and support them, if it is in my power to do so. And my son is approaching forty, so I am pretty sure that this devotion will be with me until the end of my days.

I like to think that they know and appreciate this about me. One day this past summer my husband and I were taking the grand-chiblets for a swim at  the pool of some very good friends. My little grandson, who had just turned three, was nervous about it – I guess because his mom and dad would not be there. Even though his grandfather was going to be swimming with him, he was not sure about me sitting poolside chatting with my friend while enjoying a  beverage in the warm summer sun. The conversation with his mother (my daughter) went something like this.

Little Guy: Grammie will not be in the pool? What will happen to me if I fall in  or go under water?

My daughter: Well, Grandpapa will be in the pool to catch you.

Little Guy:  But, what about Grammie?

My Daughter: Don’t worry. I know for sure that if you need help, Grammie will jump  in the pool with all of her clothes on to get you.

He seemed relieved and strangely satisfied with that answer even though my husband is much better suited physically to rescuing little ones from pools and what not.

 

More Motherly Love
More Motherly Love
Grieving Baby elephant
Grieving Baby elephant

As humans, we seem to have a well developed understanding of our own motherhood, but what about motherhood in what we euphemistically call the “animal kingdom”? In general,  we seem to appreciate it in lions and tigers and bears who live in the wild, but totally ignore it in the lives of  those we exploit for profit, be they domestic or wild. We are horrified to see footage of a mother elephant slain for her tusks, while her baby pokes her incessantly, desperate for a miracle that will not come. Pictures of baby lions being groomed by their mothers melt our hearts and make us ooh and aw while proclaiming,

How cute.

On the other hand, mother cows, pigs, goats, chickens and all other farmed animals, live abysmal lives in confinement, deprived of their children, abused, manipulated and eventually murdered, all for our malevolent pleasures. Sure, we see pictures of mother love in these animals, but they are false images created by an industry which seeks to hide the truth from us, to ensure our complicity, to blunt our connection to the truth of universal love. We look at these pictures and we say,

Hey, that is also cute.

The Reality
The Reality
The Myth
The Myth

But what happens when  well intentioned and committed vegan and animal rights activists try to break through the illusions and talk about or show the truth? You know – the truth about mother cows enslaved in the dairy industry, for instance. These poor mothers are artificially inseminated (euphemism for rape) kept constantly pregnant, milked incessantly, robbed of the chance to love and nurture their infants and then cruelly sent to the slaughterhouse when they are “spent”,  having lived barely a quarter of their natural lifespan. Most people turn away and say,

I don’t want to see that. It is too upsetting.

Or, they may say,

But we are doing the cows a favor by milking them. Otherwise, they would be in pain.

Ultimately, where does the responsibility for the ongoing despicable and intractable confinement and enslavement of other species lie? Is it with the industries who have created the myths that surround and protect them or is it with us because we choose to believe them, thereby protecting our sensibilities and habits and proclivities and bringing immeasurable harm to other nations of animals?
 

Annie’s Vegan View

We have both an opportunity and an obligation here.

Let us all restore and respect the universal truth of motherhood by simply by changing what we eat.

Hard to imagine, but true, that a plant based diet has the power to transform the world.

May all beings be happy and free.

Anne

 

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Motherhood: A Universal Truth for all Nations of Animals

16 thoughts on “Motherhood: A Universal Truth for all Nations of Animals

  • March 3, 2016 at 5:29 am
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    It is exactly this which made me become vegan. I have a young son, whom I love from the middle of my soul. It was the baby cows not getting the milk and the baby pigs not being able to get close which opened my eyes.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2016 at 9:35 am
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      Hi Polly,
      Thank you for commenting and welcome to my website. Yes, there is something very special about the love we have for the children in our lives, whether we gave birth to them or not. I am eternally blessed to have them in my life. I grieve every day for the the mothers of other species who are robbed of this privilege.

      Being vegan certainly opens our eyes to all that is possible and I look forward to continuing to view the world and all things in it from this perspective.

      Take care,

      Reply
  • March 3, 2016 at 5:30 am
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    Sorry, I should have signed that Polly. Sometimes my log in says Polly, sometimes Caughtwriting. It’s me, Polly.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2016 at 9:37 am
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      Hey Polly,
      I will take note. Catchy byline: caughtwriting: I like it.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • March 4, 2016 at 9:00 am
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    Yes. When a human is prevented from nursing her young (in public in the USA) but is encouraged to feed that infant the milk of another creature there is definitely a HUGE disconnect.

    Reply
  • March 4, 2016 at 9:10 am
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    Hi Kristine,
    Thank you for commenting and welcome to my website. In Canada, breastfeeding in public is legal, although it is astonishing to me why we would even need such a law.
    Breast feeding in public is met with acceptance, non acceptance, stares, smiles, good and bad words. It all depends on the disconnect of the person or persons witnessing this intimate interaction between mothers and their children.
    I weep for the mothers and babies of other nations of animals who are denied this inherent right. It is my most fervent wish that the veil of disconnection be lifted. It is what we, as vegans and animal rights activists, work for. Thank you for your daily contribution to this cause.
    Take care,
    Anne
    Take

    Reply
    • March 4, 2016 at 9:52 am
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      In the US women are routinely stared at, spit on, yelled at, called disgusting names, and worse. It’s appalling.

      I totally agree with your reply. I tried extremely hard to nurse my kids but have a birth defect that prevents it, and when I see a loving mother providing nourishment to her baby I’m green with envy while being overjoyed that she loves her child more than her figure.

      Reply
      • March 6, 2016 at 9:10 am
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        Hi Kristine,
        So sorry that you had difficulty nursing your children. I understand how your might feel about this. It is a good thing that being able to breast feed our children is not the only way to nurture them. We do what we can with what we are given.
        Take care,
        Anne

        Reply
  • March 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm
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    Mothers should receive respect and appreciation for the nurturing care they give their young regardless of the species.

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    • March 6, 2016 at 9:12 am
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      Hi Lisa,
      Welcome to my website and thank you for commenting. I agree with you one hundred percent – nothing to add here.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • March 8, 2016 at 9:55 pm
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    Yeah, we live in such a disconnected world. We don’t seem to have a problem accepting breasts as sexualized objects, for example, but regard it as gross when they’re actually put to their biological use in feeding infants?

    As for the question of responsibility, it’s both of course. So I applaud your effort (and that of other vegans) in trying to dismantle industrial myths, and educating folk that their demand for certain products can be satisfied in less harmful ways. One day…

    Reply
    • March 10, 2016 at 4:57 am
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      Hi Friend,
      The brainwashing is deep and entrenched. Critical thinking has flown out the window. We are taught from a young age not to question and therefore threaten the status quo.
      Thank you for all that you do. I would like to add, “One day soon….”
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply
  • March 16, 2016 at 7:03 am
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    I just don’t understand how society and in particular, women, accept the way we treat female animals. Not only do we rape them, over and over again, but when they give birth to their babies we rip their babies from them to exploit and eventually kill. This is so we can steal the mother’s milk, the milk meant for her babies, to make our cheese and yoghurt. Where do the feminists sit with this? They seem so silent. I hear no protest from feminists about the injustice of how we treat female animals. I can only assume that this is because they are only feminists for human females, all the other females in the world they care not for because they are animals. This is called specieism. So you who proclaim yourself to be feminists and do not protest the treatment humans vent on female animals, must be honest and declare yourself specieist feminists.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm
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      Hi Susan,
      I think that Dr. Will Tuttle explains this phenomenon best. When the herding culture began some ten thousand years ago in Iraq, it was and still is a culture of domination. In order for this exploitative culture to grow, the herders required the support of all peoples. They achieved this through domination of the Sacred Feminine, Sophia which led to the views we have today about women and of feminism. According to Will, until we stop eating animals, we will be unable to make the connection between the exploitation and domination of females of other nations of species and the exploitation and domination of human females.
      The possibility of enlightenment becomes a possibility, not necessarily a given, when we stop taking violence into our bodies. It is my most fervent wish that people can make the connection between the food they eat and all of the destructive social issues of today. This is why we do what we do and I have to believe that there is hope for this enlightenment for the sake of the species who continue to be exploited and by extension humans.
      Take care,
      Anne

      Reply

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