Shh. Don't Talk about the Slaughter
OK, so Bioneers
, an organization that brings together socially progressive, environmental groups and thinkers, sent me an email containing information about Cows Unite
, which uses the language of rights and liberation to call for consumer advocacy on behalf of free-range dairy cows. "Freedom to Graze as Nature Intended" is the rallying cry. "People! Cows need your help," continues the movie on the site, "while some of us cows receive sunshine, fresh air and lush, nutritious pasture from organic farmers, the grass is not so green for many of our bovine sisters. That's why we've united in bovine solidarity with a bill of inalienable rights. Only with the help of dairy-loving humans across the country can we liberate our sisters." Consumers are then invited to join a group in their area.
Now this is all well and good in terms of getting millions of cows out of the dismal factory farms where they spend their lives. But it refuses to admit the fact that, nutritious pasture aside, most cows would probably claim that liberation also means not being shipped to slaughter (perhaps over long distances) or having your calf taken away for veal. Nor does it recognize that for all the cows to be liberated, there would need to be a lot more people who don't want to eat or drink the milk of these liberated bovines: there's just not enough land to satisfy all those who want to drink free-range, organic milk. So, it's not just dairy-loving people on whom we depend, it's those much-feared vegans on whom the organic farmers depend.