The real question is: If you have milk or any dairy product, can you still call yourself a feminist? UnifiedFem’s Hayley Renvoize explores.
As a reader of Unifiedfem, it’s probably safe to assume you believe in the equality of the sexes and you may consider yourself a feminist.
However, if you’re partial to a cheesy pizza and take your tea with skimmed milk – you may be unknowingly supporting the oppression and exploitation of nonhuman females.
In the dairy industry, animals are sexed which determines the specific form of exploitation that is performed on that animal. For female animals, their reproductive organs and their ability to breed, lactate and menstruate dictates how they will be subjugated within a patriarchal society.
“Women and nonhuman animals are exploited for their reproductive abilities, and both are devalued as they age and wear out – when they are no longer able to reproduce.” – Lisa Kemmerer
Let’s break down a short list of the treatment of male and female cows in the dairy industry and why this is a feminist issue:
1. Female cows are repeatedly impregnated so they will lactate and produce milk for the dairy industry.
2. Their babies which they carry for 9 months are stolen from them the minute they are born.
3. If the calf is male, he will be sold and slaughtered for veal.
4. If the calf is female, she will be locked into a crate and raised on meal replacements while the dairy industry profits off of mother’s milk which is sold for human consumption.
5. The term ‘rape racks’ was coined to describe the stalls in which female cows are artificially inseminated (i.e. forcing long metal sticks into their vaginas to implement semen that was forcibly stolen from a bull).
6. Due to extensive genetic mutilation their bodies now carry up to 12x more milk and their overworked bodies start producing less milk at 4-5 years old.
7. When they no longer produce enough milk, they are considered ‘spent’ and will be sent to slaughter for cheap meat such as hamburgers.
8. This translates to other nonhuman animals such as pigs that are immediately impregnated after giving birth to piglets. Hens are manipulated into constant cycles of ovulation to produce reproductive eggs, and as male chicks are not profitable, they will be discarded and killed in huge grinders.
“As feminists, to consume raped and tortured non-human animal bodies, while fighting against rape culture seems a topic worthy of discussion.” – Aph Ko
So, does consuming dairy make you anti-feminist? As Aph Ko asserts, to consume and contribute to the dairy industry whilst advocating women’s rights is definitely a topic worthy of discussion.
What do you think?