May You Never Be Ignored


Natasha Sainsbury (Animal Rights Graphics) as posted on Armory of the Revolution
June 2015

Natasha Sainsbury is a graphic designer, animal activist, artist, painter, sculptor, and publisher of Animal Rights Graphics, a remarkable resource for the animal movement. This article went viral when originally published on her website. Ms. Sainsbury lives in the United Kingdom.

For years, “An it harm none, do what ye will” was my philosophy. I was a vegetarian, nothing died for my plate. I tried to be a good person to others. I cared about animals and the environment. Then one day, an often forgotten form of cruelty was brought to my attention:

I live in a little village with green fields and black and white cows. They graze in the sun through the summer and are kept warm in a huge barn in the winter. They’re well fed, inquisitive and for the most part appear physically healthy. These cows are kept in conditions a world away from their factory farmed counterparts, but the reality of their lives is no different. They are born, they will suffer and they will die as a result of human exploitation. For the sake of milk.

A male calf is of no use to the dairy industry. So he will be sent to slaughter as a baby for veal, or, he will be allowed to grow and slaughtered for beef. Female cows will live a life of torment and abuse. Time after time she will be restrained in a crate which is affectionately known in the industry as a “rape rack” where cows are artificially inseminated by having objects and hands inserted into her. Anything which requires restraint, cannot be considered consent. Time after time she will carry her baby which will be taken from her hours after birth. When finally she is worn out, she will be taken to slaughter herself. Her life like that of her babies, considered nothing more than a commodity. Make no mistake, slaughter itself is horrific, painful and death does not come easily.

All the “good” things contain milk: Cheese, ice cream, chocolate, and a cup of tea for example. It’s hard to imagine eliminating them. Which is why I don’t have to. There are readily available vegan alternatives. It might take a little more effort on my part to check the labels before I buy something. It might be easier to pretend I do not know.

But, here’s the thing:

If I choose to ignore it, I am ignoring the pain of a mother who carried a child she would never be able to hold.
I saw how that felt.
A lush pasture won’t stop that from hurting.

If I choose to ignore it, I am ignoring being used.
I know how that feels.
Being looked after doesn’t change the motivation.

If I choose to ignore it, I am ignoring the pain of a grieving child.
I know how that feels.
Warmth in the winter isn’t substitute for a mothers love.

If I choose to ignore it, I am ignoring sexual assault.
I know how that feels.
The sun doesn’t make that go away.

How can I know how it feels, and ignore it?

If my mother were alive today, and I was at the age of 31, to continue to drink breast milk, something would be very wrong. If at the age of 31 I continue to drink the milk from someone else’s mother. That’s even more disturbing.

I think it’s time I grew up.

How about you?

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