If Cows Could Speak

I am a cow. I like to feel the sun on my back, graze in an open field, roam freely, and nurse my young.

I provide milk for my babies and I love them as you love your family.

I also like to groom them and explore the world around us like any other animal that inhabits the earth.

I am a cow. If I could speak your language I would tell you about my life in an industrial factory and you would probably never eat hamburger, veal, or steak or buy shoes, purses, clothes, chairs, or sports equipment made of leather for the rest of your life.

I am born for the sole purpose of being killed so you can eat me or wear or use my skin. I live a life of pain and suffering and I die a gruesome death.

It is not the idyllic and humane scene you may imagine. If I am selected to produce milk, I am forced to have a calf every year. Like women, I have a nine-month gestation period. Imagine the discomfort of giving birth every year for your entire life.

I am also forced to produce 100 pounds of milk every day. In the wild, I would produce only 10 pounds. Normally I would live to be more than 25 years old but I’m ground into meat after just three years which means I will only live approximately 12% of my life. That’s the equivalent of ending your life at age 8.

I am a cow. I am scared when I am rounded up for transport and I am often injured in the process. After removing my horns, I am packed on trucks and sold like a slave at auction.

In order to identify me, I am branded with a hot iron. It is frightening, unnecessary, ruthless, and painful. There are other ways to mark my identity but factory workers don’t do it because I am just a commodity to them.

The workers also cut a chunk out of my neck so they can tell I belong to them from a distance. I receive no painkillers.

I am a cow. My owners show me no mercy. If they did, compassionate humans wouldn’t have to create organizations called Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Farm Animal Rights Movement, The Humane Society of the United States, or Farm Sanctuary. These organizations exist because I am abused.

I am force-fed genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase my size and milk production which also contains my pus and blood that you drink. The growth hormones cause my milk to contain high levels of Insulin Growth Factor-1 which has been shown to cause breast and colon cancer in people like you. There are much healthier options that don’t involve hurting animals.

As a result of ingesting these steroids, my calves often have birth defects.

I never have the chance to interact with them and their father is killed for meat since he can’t produce milk. Since there are so many males that don’t produce milk, my owners decided to find new ways to use them so they created the veal industry.

They force males into wood crates for months so they can’t even turn around stretch their legs or lie in comfort. They wear chains around their necks and they feed them diets deficient in necessary nutrients so they will be anemic and atrophy, causing their flesh to soften. The crates have no bedding. They sleep on a the cement floor until workers cut them up so people can eat them for dinner.

I live in dust and manure-filled holding pens for months. As a result, I suffer from respiratory ailments. Many of us contract cancer eye. Left untreated, it eats away at our eyes and face and creates a hole in the side of our heads. It is painful beyond measure.

I am a cow. I am transported multiple times before slaughter sometimes traveling thousands of miles on trucks. Many of us die of heat exhaustion and disease. The stress is enormous.

Raising us for slaughter also harms the planet. We release massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions wrecking havoc on the environment through the emission of methane released from burping and excretions. The greenhouse effect is worse than carbon dioxide and every form of transportation combined.

We also consume billions of pounds of food because factory workers feed us grain instead of grass. The grain could be better used to feed starving people since we provide so little food in comparison to the food we eat. The grain should be consumed by hungry children, not us.

It takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one pound of our flesh. The improper disposal of our feces and chemicals used to raise us pollutes your air, oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams sickening and killing thousands of people.

We often become terribly sick or break our legs and can’t walk. They call us “downed” cows. Our illness and inability to move angers some factory workers so they brutally beat us and drag us to our deaths. They often use heavy equipment to transport us while we’re still alive putting hooks into our backs to lug us to our fate.

I am a cow. Before they hang me upside down and bleed me to death, I am supposed to be knocked unconscious with a bolt gun to the head but it often fails so many times cows like me hang upside down kicking and wailing in unthinkable pain until if we’re lucky someone comes along and sticks a knife in our throats and ends our misery.

Please think about your actions.

They matter to animals, your health, and the planet.

I was a cow.

This was me.

This was me.

This was me.

This was me.

This was me.

I’m dead now.

But it’s not too late for you to save others from the life I lived. You have the power to save thousands of animals just like me from abuse and suffering simply by not eating us or buying products made of us. I know you care. I know you have the capacity to show mercy. I hope you will.

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a volunteer grassroots animal rights advocate and the organizer of the 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive Dr. Kirschner’s new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.

This entry was posted in Cows and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to If Cows Could Speak

  1. Stefan LeClair says:

    I am speechless. This is so well explained and so sad… I hope this opens the eyes of many who will change their diet in the name of compassion and the environment. For both species in fact. Kudos!

    • Stefan LeClair says:

      Changing for a dairy free diet and meat free diet would benefit both species…the cows and us (that is what I meant).

    • Andrew Kirschner says:

      Thank you very much for your feedback. I agree — it is tragic. Thank you for standing up for animals.

  2. I’m already an animal activist, and i’m aware of all the suffering, but this made me cry again…I wish everyone would read this.

  3. Melissa Wilson says:

    This makes me so sad and angry! I don’t know how to make other people understand that when they are eating a hamburger all I can see is a helpless and defenseless cow hanging and getting her throat cut while she bleeds to death! I wish everyone could see this too!

    • Andrew Kirschner says:

      Thank you Melissa. Stay encouraged. People are seeing it and they are changing. More and more people are transitioning to plant-based eating every day thanks to people like you who are sharing information about factory farming.

  4. I just wanted to comment here.. I live in rural Missouri. My neighbor raises Black Angus. One of his mama cows contracted that horrible eye cancer that you have a photo of. A local vet told me that it is quite common, and can be treated if caught early. He refused to treat her, and left her suffering in the field with the other cows, who shunned her from the herd and picked on her. This is common in prey animals and is a method of survival. He tried to sell her at the auction barn but in that condition, they would not accept her. She may or may not have been bred, so he decided to keep her living until calving time. (To make money off of the baby.) At the time, we were very good friends with these people. We offered to pay to have the cow treated or even to purchase her pain meds. He refused, insisting that it was “part of life.” We disowned the family because they forced us to watch this poor beautiful animal suffer all summer, in 100 degree weather, bleeding from her face, covered in flies. She moped around with her head down, lost weight, and looked horrible. It killed me to watch her suffer but despite multiple phone calls to the sheriff and the Humane Society, nothing was done to help her. I’m not sure what he ever did with her, she is no longer there. My point is, though, that this farmer was one of the “good ones.” His cows roam free for the first 8 months of their lives. They are the picturesque “home on the range” cows, happily munching on grass and playing in the sunshine until they are sold at auction. I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for 20 years now. I’m 32. This totally destroyed my tender heart. The only thing that makes me feel better is Simon. Simon is a 3 year old Jersey/Holstein mix, purchased as a 3 day old calf from a dairy farm. He lives in my backyard as the only safe cow for miles and miles
    :)

  5. Well done, Andrew. Fantastic.

  6. sharon says:

    This pretty much says it all. Thank you.

  7. Pingback: To the “Little Monsters” Opposed to Gaga’s Fur Coats | Kirschner's Korner

  8. Joan Sanfilippo says:

    I also have been vegetarian/vegan for over 25 yrs. I try to make people aware of the terrible life of farmed animals. Some listen, so don’t want to hear about it. I pray that I will see the end of factory farming in my life time. So much cruelty, so much pain. It breaks my heart. But there is definitely hope because of all the wonderful people who have come to the defense of these animals…. Thank you so much everyone.. It’s wonderful, rewarding work.

  9. Lisa K says:

    Thank you for this. I am a vegetarian who is now going vegan. We had a wonderful State Veggie Fair of Texas and I got the honor of meeting Gene Baur and hearing him talk . His talk and the one from and Virginia Messina, author of Vegan for Life made my meat eating all the time boyfriend say “I want to go vegan with you.” I wish it was mandatory for photos of the animals being tortured in those farm factories to be put on each piece of meat sold in the supermarkets. And I wish everyone HAD to sit and watch Earthlings.

  10. This is terrible this is why I don’t eat meat. Our Creator didn’t intend us to eat meat. He made us Vegan. This changed after we disobeyed our Creator. But even when he gave us permission to eat meat, he told us not to abuse animals. The factory farms are directly in opposition to the Creators will. All living things must be treated with respect and be loved.

  11. nishantkavi says:

    the way this article is written, i appreciate because many times we just ignore issues related to animal welfare . this article brings back that lost harmony with those who can’t speak their problem to us. i respect your effort to provide the voice to those unheard cries.

  12. No says:

    This is extremely sad and true. However there are fact

    • No says:

      *factories and farms that have free roaming cow that live healthy, generally happy lives until humanely put to death, but this is not the case with most.

      • Hi Mollie,

        Thank you for your comments.

        Unfortunately, that’s a myth. First, 99% of land animals killed for food today originate from industrial warehouses known as “factory farms.” I hesitate to use the word “farm” because they don’t resemble a traditional outdoor farm, therefore, it’s not worth mentioning the 1% since most of the tens of billions of animals killed for food every year come from non-farm environments.

        Second, there is no such thing as a humane death on a factory farm or any other animal farm. That’s also a myth to make people feel better about eating animals. Under any circumstances, the animals sense their death, they smell it, and they feel pain. Often the death is neither quick nor painless. From a morality standpoint alone, I could never call killing an animal for food “humane” when we don’t need to eat them to survive.

        Regards,

        Andrew

  13. Jim K says:

    Andrew You say why love one and eat the other…..but these ones you love Dogs and Cats by the millions are a huge big business who are canivores are are consuming meat galore from the same factory farms!! They also are being mass-produced and separated from their families and having their genetials cut out!! This is a limited picture of the bigger problem which is Agricultural society in it-self(vegetable production) which goes hand and hand with animal husbandry&domestication……which has caused widespread enviriormental damage both to indigineous plants and animals on a massive scale that it is to mind-boggling to comprehend!!! 40 million buffalo used to roam the great plains of America-go there now and you will find…fields and fields of “cash crops”, grains, cotton, potatos, tomatos Etc………this modernization from hunting and gathering to strict agricultural society led to the demise your now speaking to! It lead to money systems and individualization of people and jobs and cars and roads which has done incredible damage to the envirorment!!!

    • Hi Jim,

      Thank you for your comments. Dogs can eat plant-based foods (check out V-dog food) as an example. I agree though that the pet overpopulation problem and the breeding and domestication of animals contributes to the problem of animal agriculture.

  14. Mujo says:

    We couldn’t eat plant based food i mean look how long dogs live. I don’t know how I ended up on here am high as fuck and will never eat meat again this is fucked up yo ohhhh yeah I was searching the meaning of beef (meaning disagreement with two black people

  15. Pingback: How to Stop Sucking at Life | Kirschner's Korner

  16. Phil Nicols says:

    thank you for this. its nice to know, some people “get it”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s