Every May we devote a day to honor our mothers, for their love, nurturing, and care, and for all that they have sacrificed in raising us. But what about the non-human mothers who are forced to sacrifice their lives not for their young, but for our plates?
Most of the eggs and dairy we eat come from mothers who live in conditions that are far removed from the bucolic image of farm life we’ve come to believe. Unless you know the farmer, these sentient beings are likely treated inhumanely throughout their lives, and their products are contaminated with salmonella, or antibiotics, pus and hormones. Labels like cage free or free range are essentially meaningless, designed more for the buyer’s sense of well-being than for the animals.
Hens are natural nurturers – the “mother hen” protects her chicks and teaches them to scratch and find food. Yet in most egg producing operations, hens never get to enjoy the behaviors so natural to them, like nesting, perching, scratching, dust bathing and raising their young.
Cows also nurture their young and develop strong bonds. Yet in order to keep their milk flowing, they are subjected to continuous cycles of pregnancy and lactation, only to have their babies stolen from them at birth. Imagine the suffering both mother and child endure.
There ARE alternatives. Instead of dairy, there are many healthier non-dairy milks and cheeses made from nuts, rice or soy. Contrary to popular belief, cow’s milk does NOT build strong bones. Although it has calcium, it is not absorbed because it lacks the necessary magnesium. A far better source of calcium is dark leafy greens (that’s where cows get it from). Further, the casein in milk had been shown to contribute to tumor growth.
Instead of factory farmed eggs, find a local source where you can be sure that the chickens are raised humanely. There are many on Long Island.
This month, in honor of the mother hens and cows, consider refraining from eggs and dairy for a day, for a week, for a month… maybe even forever.
For more information and resources about eggs and dairy, contact Marilyn Chiarello: Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com