Saturday, September 25, 2010

Solidarity Sisters

Have you ever taken a moment to feel bad for cows?  No, vegetarian haters, I do not mean because you poachers eat them.  I mean have you ever thought of the poor dairy cows?  Ok, well I hadn't either, that is until that fateful day a couple of weeks after Kaia was born and in entered my good old friend medela.  To those not in the know, medela is a brand of breast pump.  That's right ladies, every morning I now look forward to being milked by a machine like a poor dairy cow.

So, feeling some solidarity, I felt like doing a little research.  Dairy cows must first breed and produce calves.  Ok, makes sense I suppose.  A dairy cow can live between 15-25 years - that'd be a whole lot of milking and a lifetime of sore nipples people - but, instead, they are usually killed around 5 years and have a short life of sore nipples and general unhappiness.  Apparently, depending on the cow, she can produce between 15,000 - 25,000 lbs of milk per lactation.  To put that in to perspective, on average, milking myself once a day, I produce 3 oz.  If I did this every day for a year, I would produce roughly 68 and a half lbs of milk (granted we all must keep in mind that I have no idea where I fall on the spectrum of above, at, or below average when it comes to human mommy milking). 

To ensure that the cow cannot "dry up" and experience some relief, 40 to 60 days after labor she is bred again.  That means mama cow is forced to stay barefoot and pregnant or die people!  This can happen anywhere between three and upwards of ten times before she is slaughtered.  This is starting to sound like a horrific idea that could be twisted into a brilliant book.  But I digress, I think the cows need a women's movement.

And I, for one, will never look at a bowl of cereal the same.   


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