Not Your Mother, Not Your Milk

By Paige Stewart

Her first memory is of a man throwing her into a small enclosure, the after-birth still covering a large portion of her frail body. 

She looks around and sees that there are others similar to her, in similar enclosures; staring wide eyed in fear wondering why they had been taken from their mothers. 

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Once she is about 18 months old, the hormones put into her food will allow her to go into oestrus - this means she is ready to be sexually violated by the man who took her away from her mother not so long ago. She and her friends are taken and forced into rape racks. (The “rape rack” is a narrow, chute-like device in which female cows are restrained while they undergo a process the dairy industry euphemistically refers to as “artificial insemination.”)

She is now pregnant. 

After 9 months of hard work growing the baby inside of her, much like human women, her body starts the birthing process. She’s all alone, and her friends are on the opposite side of the enclosure, probably getting ready to go through the same process. 

She gives it her all, and after a while out comes her baby. She is overwhelmed with joy and love, as any mother would be. Even though her body is exhausted, she nurtures the baby immediately. 

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Not 24 hours after her baby is born, the same man who took her from her mother and sexually violated her walks into her enclosure with a wheelbarrow. She senses there is something wrong but she cannot get up as her body is still recuperating. 

The man picks her baby up and puts it into the wheelbarrow - she will never see this baby again. 

The loss of her child is debilitating. She cries out for the man to bring her baby back, but he doesn’t even turn around. She battles to stand up. Eventually, she does, gathering every bit of strength left to run after the man and get her baby back. But how can she? The opening to her enclosure is sealed - there is no way out. She cries out over and over again, but no one seems to care. 

The next day, she wakes up to the sound of her enclosure being opened. She turns around immediately with overwhelming relief - the man is bringing her baby back. Confusion sets in as the man pokes her to get up and she does not see her baby. She is weak but manages to stand and walk with him. Perhaps he’s taking her to her baby? She keeps walking, even though her body is begging her to rest. 

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The man takes her to a room where she is crammed into a small area and suction pumps are attached to her teats. The pumps hurt as they suck all the milk out of her, all the while she wonders, "Where is my baby?"

Eventually, her milk runs out, and she is taken back to her enclosure, her baby still not in sight. Her friend in the enclosure next to her has just given birth and the need to find her own baby grows stronger and stronger. 

Again, not 24 hours has passed before the man takes her friend’s baby as well. Where are they taking them? Why are they taking them? Unfortunately for her friend, her baby was a boy - he will be confined in a small cage for about 14 weeks and will then be killed for veal. I suppose it’s better than the life her baby girl will be subjected to, the same as her mothers, and her mothers before her. 

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The painful milking process is repeated daily until the milk intended for her baby is finished. She is then, again, sexually violated and becomes pregnant for the second time. 

The pain from her first born being stolen still lingers in her each day, and she hopes for her baby to be returned with every passing minute. 

The excitement of a new baby is somewhat suppressed by the terrifying realisation that this new baby will probably be taken as well. 

And it is.

She experiences this exact cycle at least 7 times throughout her life, until the pain and utter exhaustion consumes her and her legs literally give in. The man then returns, the one who has taken so much from her already, and forces her frail body onto a truck. She looks to her side and sees her friend is there too. They don’t know where they are going, but they are scared.

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They arrive at a new building, where they are forced off to walk to their own death. There is the smell of blood in the air. 

In her last moments, she sees her friend killed in front of her. Now, it is her turn - a bolt to the head and a knife to the throat. This is how she is thanked for everything she has done in her life. This is how we repay her.