MILK MACHINES | Organic Dairy
RESPECT | For Their Rights
"If his mother could see him now, her beloved boy, alive and well, and cherished, in a land of love and plenty. If she could see the way he sauntered out of the rescue trailer, swift and surefooted as a deer, the way he glided into this welcoming world as if he recognized it, as if he remembered its essence of love and fairness. If she could see the way the new world embraced her son, with such warmth and benevolence, the way it opened its arms to him and promised everything she had fought so desperately—and failed so bitterly—to secure for him: the peace to live, the freedom to flourish.
Last time she saw him, it was the dead of December. He was two days old—a thumb of a child wobbling around on impossibly long legs, casting the light of his enormous eyes on the dark world that had replaced the perfect promise of the womb, and suckling her with such avid hunger, such astonished gulps, such joyous urgency, as if drinking not the mere milk of a mortal mother, but life itself."
Like humans, the animals used for dairy produce milk only following pregnancy and birth, and then only for the purpose of feeding their babies. Unlike humans, dairy cows are forcibly impregnated by a process that, if it were done to humans, would be termed rape.
After each birth, a mother cow, or goat, or sheep, is separated from her newborn so that her breast milk can be consumed by humans. Her sons and "surplus" daughters are killed either shortly after birth or 4-6 motherless months later, as veal, lamb or "chevon" (goat flesh).
Her "replacer" daughters are raised apart from her to take her place in the line of production. She is never allowed to nurse her children, nurture them, or watch them grow. When – exhausted by endless cycles of forced pregnancy, difficult birth, constant lactation, traumatic loss and grief – her body breaks, her spirit gives, and her milk production declines, she is slaughtered. She is a young adult.
From milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, to ice cream and whipped cream, every dairy product we love has a deliciously vegan version. Below are just a few examples. For a more complete guide to going dairy-free, click here.
FREEDOM | From Exploitation
"In the blush of her first weeks at the sanctuary, when everything astonished her – the open sky, the endless fields, the scent of rain, the feel of straw underfoot – we thought we heard her voice a few times: small, joyful cries coming out of nowhere, seemingly formed out of thin air, the musical friction of invisible particles, not the product of straining, vibrating, trembling vocal chords, but a sound of pure joy coming from the heart of life itself. But, after she paired up with Louie and became his sole partner, Libby turned so completely quiet, that we began to wonder if the voice we had heard in the beginning was truly hers." Read their love story
Egg production on any scale, from family farms to factory farms , begins with the killing of male chicks. Because males do not lay eggs, they are considered waste products and are thrown alive into high speed grinding machines, or left to slowly suffocate in garbage bags under the weight of their dying brothers. They are one day old.
Genetically manipulated to overproduce eggs, the females are used until their morbid overproduction declines at which point they are considered "spent" and discarded by the cheapest means possible — low priority slaughter, gassing, or abandonment in landfills. They are 18-24 months old, a fraction of a chicken's lifespan.
"SEAFOOD" | Fishing at a Glance
RELIEF | From Persecution
Studies have shown that fish can learn some things better than primates. They are social creatures who often live in social hierarchies and court prior to mating.
They can make mental maps of multiple tide pools when picking and choosing the one they want to hang out in during the next low tide and remember them a year later.
They use their own language to communicate, sending electric or other signals to work together or issue early-warning alerts that a predator is lurking nearby, to convey emotions like aggression and submission, or court their mates.
Whether raised in overcrowded, filthy enclosures where many die of injury, disease, and parasites, all fishes used for human consumption are subjected to the final horror euphemistically known as "harvest".
When dragged from the depths, many are crushed in the nets, or die from the rapid pressure change which can cause their organs to rupture. Those still alive when pulled out of the water—in the wild or on fish farms—are beaten to death, cut up alive, or slowly suffocate.
"HUMANE" MEAT | At a Glance
LIBERATION | From Oppression
He shows up every morning, this small, slight, inky-eyed child. You can see him teetering across the prairie on his absurdly long legs, toiling across tough, tangled, thistly terrain on his pale hooves, struggling to cross the field that separates the neighboring farm from the sanctuary -- a nub of a child, pushing forth on his spindly bug legs, in his tiny bug body, with infinite bug determination — so scanty against the hulking earth, so tender under the bleak sky, so unprepared for the demands of the journey, yet so determined to undertake it. Nothing deters him until he reaches his destination: a thorny scrap of scorched dirt on the sanctuary border where the fence wires are slightly bent, stretched and loosened. There, he stops with a sigh in his body, with a hitch in his shoulders, as if tossing an invisible burden. [...]
He is the sole survivor of a "grass-fed beef" herd. Left behind in the commotion of "auction day", in the terror and thrashing of families being torn apart, in the deafening roar of mothers and children calling out for each other and, most deafening of all, the cries of his own mother being beaten, shocked, dragged into the truck as she begged for his life and hers.
Whether killed in their own backyard by the very people they trusted, or hacked to pieces in a distant slaughterhouse where they are dragged onto the killing floor after enduring the prolonged agony of auction and transport, all of the young victims of our appetite are killed violently, unnecessarily, and in cold blood.
None of these youngsters wants to die, none of them deserves to die, none of them has to die for us to live and thrive. And not a single one of them experiences his or her own brutal, untimely death as “humane”.
“Broiler” chickens are decapitated at 40-50 days old, so young that they still peep in their baby voices. Turkeys are slaughtered between 2 and 4 months, when they are barely adolescent. Pigs and lambs are brutally killed at 6 months of age, when they still act, think, and play like “puppies”. The oldest goats killed for meat are “yearlings”, the youngest are unweaned, 4-12 week old “suckling kids”. “Beef” cattle are murdered between 12-15 months, at the age when, in nature, they are still deeply connected with their mothers.
SWEETENER | Why Honey is Cruel
IMMUNITY | From Harm
Joan Dunayer has described how “scouts (all of whom are sisters) search for a cavity of suitable location, dryness, and size” when planning their colonies. “A honey bee scout may advertise one site over a period of days,” adds Dunayer, but “[i]f a sister’s find proves more desirable than her own, the honey bee stops advocating her original choice and starts dancing in favor of the superior site. She’s capable of changing her mind and her ‘vote.’"
Bees form abstract concepts and use intricate methods of communication to share information and reach consensus. They obviously experience their lives, avoid harm, and seek out what appeals to them and sustains them.
Many bees are killed during the extraction of honey. But even prior to this, they are forced to live in unnatural and unhealthy hive structures so that we can take their winter reserve of food (honey) and be shipped around the country to pollinate crops (edging out the natural species that would normally do so).
Most honey on the market today is procured through farming practices where the majority of the honey is taken from the hive and replaced with sugar water. The queens are killed to prevent the hives from swarming (escaping) and the drones, who do not produce honey, are killed to make more room for bees who are producing honey.
TRINKETS | Fabric & Fiber
PROTECTION | From Injustice
She woke up hungry, thirsty and, despite the deep, lingering weakness, she eagerly accepted every treat and absorbed every bit of affection with the intense urgency of the starved, demanding more, nudging you gently if you stopped stroking her, extending her swan neck towards you and leaning her face against your cheek as if inviting a kiss, nuzzling your nose with the fuzz of her nose, making intense eye contact as if trying to read something important in your gaze -- or communicate it -- and, when all this activity left her exhausted, she merely leaned against you as if the nourishment of a loving touch was enough to sustain her.
And, by mid morning she seemed strong enough to withstand the trying trip to the vet where she was scheduled for tests, evaluation, diagnostic, treatment and, we dearly hoped, a cure.
When the quality of their fleece declines, every young sheep, goat, rabbit or llama used for wool, cashmere, angora or alpaca is killed and replaced with a younger, more "productive" victim.
Like all animals used for human purposes, "fleece" animals are permitted to live only as long as they can profitably overproduce whatever it is we want to extract from them — be it wool, eggs, milk, flesh, or babies.
The sheep used for wool are usually three or four years old when their aging fleece condemns them to death. For most of these young captives, the unspeakable horror of slaughter is preceded by weeks of misery on "livestock" ships to the Middle East.
TEST SUBJECTS | Vivisection
JUSTICE | A life of their own
When Poof was young and healthy, he had an exuberance that could make you laugh out loud. Our happiest times with him were when we were all together in a group, and he would get so excited he would jump up in the air, kick his heels, and sometimes even do a twirl in mid-leap. If he was in a particularly good mood in the morning, sometimes he would give some lucky person what we called a ‘bunny blessing’, running around and around him or her in ecstatic circles. And right up until the very end, a gentle rub between the ears or a handful of lentil sprouts could send him into a state of bliss.
Perhaps the best way to understand what animals used in vivisection are forced to endure, is to let a former vivisectionist describe his work. In his book, They All Had Eyes, Michael Slusher chronicles the animals that he worked on - from mice, to dogs, to monkeys - and the terrible procedures that he performed on them as a matter of business. This book highlights the intense suffering and waste of thousands of lives in such a way as to leave the reader without any doubt about whether animal research is justified or required.
In today’s technologically advanced world, there are numerous alternatives to animal testing, many of which are much more accurate and reliable, and are already being used with great success. Not only do we already make use of in vitro testing, computer modeling, and epidemiological research, scientists now have access to state-of-the-art microchips that mimic human organs. There are even computer programs that make dissection in schools and universities obsolete, as students are able to examine highly detailed, 3-D anatomy models and even perform digital autopsies.
BeFairBeVegan is an animal justice campaign run by the Colorado-based non-profit Be Fair Be Vegan. The first high-profile vegan campaign in the US to present the end of all animal use as a prerequisite for a fair and just society, it was launched in New York City in August of 2016. Created and designed by Joanna Lucas, it is managed by a collective of vegan activists. All content subject to copyright.