Friday, September 21, 2012

Dairy is a Feminist Issue

Kudos to pattrice jones for single-handedly getting the concept that dairy is a feminist issue into the pages of the New York Times Book Review.

She wrote:

"Andrew Delbanco classifies as 'cant' the statement that 'dairy is a feminist issue. Milk comes from a grieving mother.' I wonder which of these facts about dairy production he disputes: (1) mammals produce milk only after giving birth; (2) female cows produce milk only if they have recently calved; (3) people cannot take the milk if the calf drinks it; (4) dairy farmers therefore remove calves from their mothers within days of birth; (5) both mother and child resist and protest this separation; (6) mothers often bellow and moan for days thereafter; (7) mothers sometimes go to extreme lengths to locate and re-unite with their calves; (8) dairy farmers utilize restraints to prevent them from doing so.

"Dairy is the product of the exploitation for profit of the reproductive capacities of female bodies. To consider this a feminist issue is a defensible political position. Cows share with us the basic brain architecture responsible for emotion. The idea that mother cows do not grieve when their children are removed from them, and are not grieving still as machines suck the milk from their bodies--that is cant."

When I read the review, I noticed that the words labelled "cant" are directly from the Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show. I show this powerful image from Peaceful Prairie.


Recently, a young woman came up to me after I showed The Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show.  She told me that her baby had died at birth and how awful it felt to have full breasts and milk for her baby, but not a baby to feed. When people want to know why she is vegan, she feels it is such a personal decision, informed by tragedy, it is hard to speak of it. But she knows herself how milk comes from a grieving mother.

Sometimes, in the midst of a busy day, when we are already involved in acts of justice and compassion, adding to the list of tasks the writing of a letter may seem expendable task. pattrice told me that one day she was eating a tomato salad and reading the Book Review when she came upon the disparaging sentence. And she knew she had to write a letter to the editor in response.
Letters to the editors are one way to get our minority opinion before a large readership.

Her letter was published on September 16, 2012 with another great letter responding to "'The Victims' Revolution.'"  Link to it and help keep its ideas before people!

So again, kudos, pattrice!

pattrice blogs at http://blog.bravebirds.org

They are on facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/VINEsanctuary

8 comments:

  1. Once, on a tour of a WI dairy barn, I witnessed a cow who had recently calved and was being milked for the first time. She broke free from her restraints, careened through the barn and jumped over a half door, threatening farmer and visitors that included children. She was immediately shot as dangerous and an economic liability. This incident was a step in my own journey that includes your powerful analysis.

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    1. Very, very sad. Thanks for sharing it. It's important for us to understand why that happened.

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  2. India's Hindu fanatics who seek a ban on the slaughter of cows -- and to a lesser extent monkeys but none of the other innumerable species -- and many of whom gladly consume mutton, chicken, fish and several other non-vegetarian "foods", ought to read this.

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  4. Thank you for this. There are two more points I would like to add that make it a feminist issue.

    Not only is the cow a grieving mother exploited for profit, she is also raped by humans to put her in this position, over and over until she is slaughtered at a fraction of her natural lifespan. The frequent artificial impregnation of cows done by humans is animal rape. Whether people like to acknowledge it or not, that's exactly what it is, people are raping animals. If we want to get rid of all rape, we should think globally and not send any 'confusing' signals about some kinds of rape being acceptable.

    Dairy is also a feminist issue because the food industry is lying to the world, claiming dairy is needed for a healthy life, when in fact it's a direct cause of osteoporosis (which affects women disproportionately) and many other health problems. Women's health is also children's health, and thus the health of all.

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  5. thanks for share.

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  6. u,need,a,special,section,on,the,rape,of,fenale,aninals-which,is,necessary,in,ALL,businesses,using,creatures,for,whatever,purpose-it,all,starts,with,repeated,rapes,for,forced,pregnancies-like,legal,couples-and,fathers,rights,over,the,child

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