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What represents motherhood better than a cow?

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few months, you’ve noticed that Henry’s Marketplace, my local produce store, has some funny graphic designers working for them. They like to use farm animals, mostly cows and pigs, on the cover of their monthly flyer (see Henry’s March 2011 and April 2011 issues).

The front cover of Henry’s May 2011 flyer is dedicated to Mother’s Day and no exception to this year’s animalistic trend. And what illustrates the maternal figure better than a dairy cow?

Henry's Marketplace May 2011 flyer with Mother's day cow
Henry's Marketplace May 2011 flyer with Mother's day cow

Flowers and coffee beans. Those Henry’s people know how to pamper moms and make them feel happy and beautiful! Now, take a closer look at the two little pigs. I think this occurrence is a first:

Henry's Marketplace May 2011 flyer with cow and pigs
Henry's Marketplace May 2011 flyer with cow and pigs

Notice the little pig on the left holding a “Happy Mother’s Day” card in his mouth. Add the multiple balloons held by both pigs, “#1 Mom”, “Happy Mother’s Day”. I thought cows and pigs were best friends, but this stretching my imagination even further. This cow has actually adopted the two piglets! And they seem very thankful for it. This mom deserves a lot of credit. Can you imagine having to change the pigs’ stinky diapers? Now that’s what I call unconditional mommy love!

5 thoughts on “What represents motherhood better than a cow?

  1. Hello – I’m glad I stumbled on this post just now with “motherhood” and the essence of the “feminine” nurturing Mother as a theme to your entry.
    I thought you might like to have another perspective on the cows that you’ve dedicated this blog to. As I’m sure you’re aware not everything in animal agriculture is quite what they’d like to make it out to be. The most deceiving perhaps is the dairy cow:

    I too love cows – And I too was once under the impression that they all lived very “happy” lives… But it simply is not so. 99% of them never get to experience anything that is “maternal”, let alone kind or decent treatment.

    There’s nothing wrong with loving cows! But won’t you love them enough to see, know and tell their “real” story?

    Thanks for inviting comment.

    1. Thanks for raising the issue of the often inhumane treatment of cows, for meat or milk. I agree with you that, even though some progress has been made, the human interest has superceded the bovine interest. I recently finished reading Fast Food Nation (I actually mentioned the book on this blog) and learning about what happens in feeding lots, slaughterhouses and meat packing plants make me glad I haven’t eaten beef in 22 years. As for the use of milk, humans have been consuming dairy products for thousands of years but only since the past hundred years have we ramped up the production. It will take a lot of public support to make things better for all cows.
      Many cows that I report on every day are actually picturial representations of bovines, and I think the place we give to cows in our society is quite respectful overall. In the dairy farm, it looks like a different story, where money and profits are priority number one.

  2. Hello! And thank you for addressing my comment! :)

    I really don’t know though… What “progress” has been made for the “food animals”? We eat almost three times as many of them now as we did 50 years ago – That seems like an awful lot more loss of life. And too, as you mentioned the common practices done to them now seem almost “cruel”.

    Ah… So no beef for 22 years – Something has definitely connected for you. You obviously have a good heart and open mind! :)

    I ate a SAD (standard american diet) once too – For almost 50 years. One day at random, I pulled my car over from the road to watch a few cows grazing in a field. One walked over to me with hardly any fear at all… And I swear – When our eyes met – It was like she was asking me “why are you eating me?”.

    As I drove home, I couldn’t come up with a single “good reason” aside from “taste”. Within a few weeks I knew that’s the only reason I was eating pigs or chickens too…

    It was quite a few years after that that I got the knowledge about eggs and dairy… My heart was broken because of the deception. I never, ever realized I was contributing to such inhumane industries. They do keep it all such a secret don’t they?

    I mean, who could really imagine lovely mother cows and their baby calves being separated at birth? I never made the connection to dairy and veal… But it’s true – The dairy industry could not exist without the killing of day old or 4 month old boy calves. The saddest is when I heard that many go to slaughter with their umbilical cords still attached… And that they attempt to suckle the hands that guide them to the kill floor. :(

    That was it for me on the dairy! I’ve since become a big fan of plant based milks: almond is my favorite, although there is rice milk, oat milk, flax milk and of course soy milk. Lots of delicious “cheeze” and “ice cream” alternatives too…

    Anyway, perhaps once there was a time when cows were treated more respectfully. Maybe on old, small farms they might have allowed the baby to nurse from the mother and only shared the “excess”… It’s so hard to fully grasp that now, the cows make 10-15 times more milk than what her one calf could drink – Yet, they are allowed none. Ironically, all going to unweaned humans who really don’t “need” it for nutrition at all.

    Fast Food Nation is a great place to start… I might recommend Jonathan S. Foer’s Eating Animals too. His message is not confrontational… He merely presents information that might guide readers to food choices more in alignment with their values.

    I love your blog and the idea of “happy cows” – I really do! It’s the way I’d want to think that all beings are allowed the simple right to live for their own sake. Peacefully.

    Just wondering though – Did you catch the Mercy for Animals latest video at a calf facility in Texas? Here’s a beautiful video of 3 survivors being rescued. The calves are gorgeous as you’ll see:

    Or the one last year at Conklin Dairy?

    Or the one in Vermont in 09?

    There becomes a pattern when we can hardly say these are exceptions… Every investigation turns up some horrific harm inflicted on cows… Especially the babies. That’s why I can say there are calf tears in all dairy. No animal should be treated like garbage just because they were born male. :(

    Finally, a personal perspective from a blogger I follow that summarizes the issues from experience:

    I don’t mean to overwhelm you… But there’s a lot of propaganda from the “happy cow” folks that needs to be exposed for what it is. Most decent folks would never approve of what’s done on dairies. They sell their products as “wholesome” – How can this be so when the fundamental needs of both mother and baby are perpetually denied? I don’t think anyone wants to be an ogre. We just simply don’t know enough facts to make the more compassionate choices. It would be great to see your blog shift towards a position of advocating for these lovely cows and their babies! You already care enough to not eat their flesh. If milk is considered “liquid meat” why not give some thought to healthier alternatives?

    Oh… And your last comment about money and profits – I thought I’d share this bit of wisdom that echoes what you say:
    If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people. -Ruth Harrison

    Thank you for your time. Very nice exchanging ideas with you! :)

    1. I hear your standpoint. Up to maybe a hundred and fifty years ago, people would grow and raise their own food, or buy it from a farm with “normal” practices. People around the world are eating more meat than they used to. Even historically vegetarian populations are changing their eating habits. Cows are gross polluters of the atmosphere with the CO2 they emit in their manure. Yet most farms don’t capture the gas. We visited a local dairy farm that uses the manure to create natural gas and electricity for their property, not a bad idea. The problem is most small farms are taken out of business by large farms and government policies favor big business, not the animals or the general population. It’s going to take a lot of effort by people like you to get things changed.

      Thanks for suggesting the Eating Animals book. I also have on my list The Omnivore’s dilemma and Eternal Treblinka, which should be quite interesting too.

  3. Wonderful that you are keeping an open mind and making efforts to gain more information. I’m rooting for you that your good judgments guide you to good actions upon your discoveries. ~peace~ :)

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