The Handmaid’s Tale and Dairy Farming

The Handmaid’s Tale is a Hulu web series based on a dystopian society where fertile women are captured and forced into slavery to fulfill their “destiny” and provide children to the men (and their wives) who helped create the society, named Gilead. The women are raped and inseminated, as well as being abused in their journey in Gilead, with little chance of escape. Any effort at escaping will result in death, if and when they are caught. Once they have fulfilled their purpose, they are either killed or sent to the Colonies, where they will work in waste facilities until they die. The women’s children are taken away from them, and given to the prestigious families of Gilead.

Does any of this sound familiar? If you know the practices of dairy farming, they should. Much of what these women, the handmaids, go through is similar to what dairy cows go through in most farms, be they family farms or industrial.

Dairy cows are inseminated by the farmer, who shoves an insemination rod up the cow’s vagina – a confusing and uncomfortable situation for the cow. She becomes pregnant, and once she has her calf, the baby is taken away from her and raised to be a dairy cow, or sent to slaughter to make veal. Farmers then take the milk that was meant to be for the baby cow and sell it to humans. This cycle continues until the dairy cow is exhausted (to the point of her collapsing), where she is then sent to slaughter to make beef.

I know Margaret Atwood did not mean to allude to animal farming when she wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985, however the similarities between what a handmaid and dairy cow go through were clear enough for me to write about. The biggest difference is that one is a fictional novel (now web series), while the other is happening in the real world right now. Most people are horrified to see one sentient being raped and having her baby taken away, yet justify it all happening to another. Mothers are mothers, whether they are human or not. Why cause them pain and suffering if we don’t have to?

The World is Dying

And no matter how much we try to help it, there are 20 more people contributing to its demise.

Nobody seems to want to help the planet, they’ve all given up without even trying. And they’re still adding on to all the bad things done to this world.

Ice caps melting

Climate changing

Garbage piling

Animals dying

The land being used up to bring more animals into the world and then kill them for food. Because it “tastes good”. Because we pay for it, and ask for it.

We ask for meat

and dairy

and plastic

and oil

and gasoline

and we ask for climate change

and garbage piles

and extinction.

Yet say we can’t do anything about.

And blame those who are fulfilling our wants.

The world is dying, and we need to help it. Individuals can make a difference, and instead of giving up, we need to change our everyday choices to better our and our children’s futures. The alternative path is right in front of you. Will you take it?

Being Vegan in an Anti-Vegan World

Vegans are some of the most hated people right now.

We are hated for loving animals… and trying to tell people that animals should be treated with respect.

ALL we want is to end the mass murder of trillions of animals yearly. Why are we hated for that?

We can’t even mention it without being brigaded with verbal abuse and negative comments. Not to mention all the comments about how “delicious” meat is.

We can barely get a word out. We want to stop any more animals from suffering, but we can barely even speak up, without being hated and insulted. Imagine if you were insulted for trying to defend someone with Down syndrome, or someone from another race – in a time that many call “progressive”.

So many animals are tormented, tortured in the most unimaginable ways, and slaughtered every second, and we can’t even speak up without being called “crazy” or “preachy”, when those who eat these animals are “normal”, and those who insult us are praised.

Videos of vegan activism and helping farm animals will get few views and the rescuers will be called thieves and terrorists. While videos of people saving dogs will go viral and the rescuers will be called heroes.

We want to spread the message that all beings deserve love and respect, but we are hated for it. What are we supposed to do? Just step aside and watch as everyone around us participates and pays for torture and slaughter, without saying a thing? Should we pretend it’s all okay? Pretend that animal agriculture isn’t killing billions, and increasing climate change? Or should we speak up, and find ways to spread the vegan message?

I don’t know about you, but I want to help end animal oppression. And I want to spread our message of love and compassion. Even if I am hated for it – because if I’m going to make enemies, I’d rather do it by speaking up for those who can’t, and helping end the longest lasting form of oppression there is.

Being Vegan is Exhausting

I’m writing today after my usual scroll through social media. After seeing images and articles of helpless animals trapped in cages, stuffed into trucks, and sent to slaughter, I realized that being vegan is extremely exhausting.

But it’s not for the reason you might think.

I’m exhausted, not because of what I eat, but because of everyone around me. My family, my friends, and almost everyone else, all contributing to the mass murder and abuse of billions of animals every year (not counting the trillions of fish caught and killed every year). It’s exhausting to see how much pain and suffering they’re causing, not really caring about their food or cosmetics, or how they got there. And when you try to discuss it with them? The plethora of reasons for not going vegan pile on. “But we’ve always eaten meat!” “Those animals were born to be food!” and the ever so popular, “Plants have feelings, too!” are just some of the excuses we get (if you need more, check out Veganspeak’s “The Complete Vegan Arguments Guide”). After hearing these, we almost lose all hope in humanity, and wonder why people try so hard to find excuses to not quit meat, instead of just thinking a bit about what we’re trying to explain. No matter how many myths we destroy, it seems as though everyone is still stuck in their ways. Even those who claim to be “progressive”.

All we want is to put an end to the animal abuse going on. Is that too much to ask? So many people claim to love animals and be against animal abuse, but if we point out that they’re contributing to it, they become defensive. We’re surrounded by this, by animal agriculture, animal testing, animal entertainment, etc. etc, and it feels as though we can’t do anything about it. The same people who want to see a progressive and liberal world not only do nothing to end the torture and imprisonment of trillions of animals, but pay for it and try to defend their actions, telling us what we’re doing is wrong. We start to feel alone. This “revelation” of seeing what’s behind the mask of the animal industries should be a blessing, yet it feels more like a curse. We should feel lucky to have been able to stop ourselves from contributing to what’s happening, yet we feel heartbroken, and drained from seeing others do just that. We want to be positive, but sometimes, things just seem bleak and hopeless. Even though we know things are slowly getting better… we want them better now.

Funny thing is, the easiest part about a vegan’s lifestyle is the variety of food and other products we have available to us. But the most difficult is dealing with the realities of animal exploitation around the world, and the fact that almost everyone we know is contributing to them.