BEING VEGAN – Let’s Remember All Mothers Today

Paul_G_NewBy Paul Graham

Las Vegas Informer

“Mothers are our best hope for peace on Earth…”  – Anthony Douglas Williams

I have one of the most amazing mothers who ever lived.  Even though she passed from this earth a little more than ten years ago, it really is not appropriate for me to think of her in the past tense because her presence is very real with me each and every day.  Her name was Teresa.  Yes, I had my very own Mother Teresa, and to me, she was everything.  She raised five boys almost all by herself.  She was one of the hardest workers I have ever seen and she was also an artistic, free spirit who lived life to its fullest.  She was a fantastic cook, artistic, creative, loved to socialize, enjoy a meal and a glass of wine with family and friends, had a terrific sense of humor, and was a voracious reader. She set a beautiful example of a life lived in the service of her family and others.  She was the only parent that I really ever knew and most all of the good that I now possess is a result of the example she set and all that she invested in my life.  Mother’s Day cannot begin to honor what she truly meant to my brothers and I.

My mother also had a very strong sense of justice and I know that she would understand  how I feel this morning as I contemplate Mother’s Day in a much larger sense…extending to mothers of all species of animals, human and non-human alike.  What makes any female of any species a mother?  It is usually as a result of giving birth but it is also an instinctual response.  Many females who have never given birth exercise the great capacity to love, nurture, guide, and care for as if they did.  Some that have given birth do not fulfill the great responsibility set before them.  Yet for the most part, when one gives birth, there is a bond created that is unlike anything that we will see.  It is a bond that goes beyond anything that I can fully put into words.  The love, the care, the attachment begins even before birth takes place…but when it does happen…it then goes to a whole other level.  I have often witnessed that one of the fiercest things on this Earth is a mother of any species caring for and protecting their young. It is the height of speciesism to think that only human mothers feel these things.  Other mothers of other species feel all of the same emotions towards their young as any human mother would.  This is not just an observation, but a fact.

So why are so many so casual in regards to how we treat the mothers of other species and their young?  How can we over and over again artificially inseminate female animals in factory farm situations so they can breed, often in more regularity that is often natural?  Yet no matter how many times this may happen, there is a bond that has developed between the mother and its young, no matter how long the gestation period is.  What is the common practice that takes place as a result though?  The young offspring are taken away almost immediately so that they can be raised to follow the same fate or be prepared themselves for slaughter.  Both mother and their offspring instinctually want to stay together and continue to develop that most natural of bonds, but instead they are torn apart.  This is more than agonizing for both the mother and their young.  It is not uncommon for each of them to cry for weeks on a time afterwards…calling out for the other and yet always being denied that most natural of rights.

Who do we think we are to do this and allow this to happen?  To allow this to happen on a human level would be barbaric and unthinkable and yet we should look at it no differently for these other animals as well.

It happens on a such an unfathomable level with factory farming.  The sheer numbers that this happens to daily with cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and the like is beyond reason.  Cows are very intelligent, very nurturing, and have quite a memory.  Their female offspring are taken away to be bred to be givers just like they are.  The young male calves are taken away almost immediately and kept in small, confined areas for a short period of time to be slaughtered for veal.  Much the same happens with pigs with the males leading the way to the slaughter.  With chickens the females are separated to live out the same horrors as their mothers and the males are either ground up, suffocated, or disposed of in some other manner.  Turkeys are bred to eat and will all get down that road to the slaughter house eventually.  There is nothing to give thanks for in that.  Elephants, marine mammals, and other mothers of other species must endure this same kind of birthing and separation as their young are stolen away from them for the purposes of enslavement for entertainment for humans.  This is wretched.  Breeders also use females in puppy mill situations as nothing more machines to produce a commodity for them. They take the puppies them from their mother as soon as they possibly can so they can sell them, and then use and abuse the mother until she is worn out and then she too is discarded. You don’t have to be a mother to see that this all is terribly, terribly wrong.

Most of the fiercest defenders of animals that I have met so far in my experience have been women.  Whether they have given birth themselves or not, they instinctually feel the pain that the mothers of these species must endure.  And frankly it makes them very angry and upset.  If any of you reading this wonder why those that  have crossed over to the place of living and eating consciously feel so passionately and strongly about the rights of animals and the need to protect them from the insanity that goes on with them, it is partly because of this.  We feel the injustice and how unnatural all of this is to treat any species of animals in such a manner.  I have no doubt that women will not only continue to lead the way in the establishment and protection of rights of animals, but that we can also continue to see a growing, loving, strong, and compassionate army of men to work besides them in this most noble of endeavors.  We can eradicate centuries of injustice in a single generation if we are of the same mind and passion.  It is time.  Celebrate and rejoice with all of the mothers around you today.  They are so worthy of your love and respect.  But also remember that motherhood extends far, far beyond the human species. We need to ensure the best possible world for all mothers and their offspring, whether they be human or not.  All should have the freedom to live, love, and celebrate this bond, not only today…but every day.

Paul Graham

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004.  He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer.  He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.  He can also be reached at eatingveganlv@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.

Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas:  If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at  www.sullivanstpress.com/shop/ebooks/eating-vegan-in-vegas/.

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