A bumblebee, extraordinary changes for the UK, and thoughts on mother’s day for the most abused of all mothers

I got stung by a bumblebee yesterday for the first time in my life. Since all our usual Saturday activities were cancelled I took the opportunity to do some gardening and as I put on my gardening gloves I felt a sharp prick. Thinking it was a spider (I’m terrified of spiders and yes I know this is irrational) I screamed and threw the gloves to the ground. Out came a bumblebee instead so I gently put it in the garden. It didn’t hurt me at all and I later saw the bumblebee fly away so it survived the trauma of my hand invading its space. My body pretty much ignored the sting with no perceptible reaction. I always wondered whether I was allergic to bee stings and I guess I’m not. The garden is a dangerous place, people! Be careful out there.

Some quite extraordinary things are happening here. On Friday the conservative government announced it will pay up to 80% of the wages of those not working due to the coronavirus. Even more unprecedented is all private hospitals in England have been handed over to the NHS to increase capacity. This is an extraordinary move and overnight adds 20,000 extra staff to the NHS, 8,000 more hospital beds, and 1,200 more ventilators. A third extraordinary move is the army is being called in to help distribute food and medicine to the most vulnerable. There have been reports of NHS staff finishing a 40-hour shift and going to the supermarkets exhausted only to find the shelves bare. This is very distressing to hear and prompted the national medical director of NHS England to say those who are stockpiling food should be “ashamed”.

It’s Mother’s Day here today and people are being urged not to visit their mothers to avoid spreading the virus. I would like to take the opportunity to ask everyone to consider the most abused mothers on the planet. They are forcibly impregnated regularly during their short lives and their babies are taken away from them straight after birth. I’m referring to dairy cows. Before you roll your eyes at me and accuse me of being sentimental, and pathetic – and I know that’s what you think because it’s what I used to think before I became vegan – I’d like to explain what vegans think.

We see photos and videos like the ones below. We find them distressing and wonder why other humans think this is ok?

calves
Hundreds of calves in solitary pens at a farm in England. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/30/dairy-scary-public-farming-calves-pens-alternatives

The mothers are understandably distressed when their babies are taken and they cry for them for days, sometimes weeks.

This mother gets aggressive trying to protect her baby.

This next one is from Australia.

They may be a different species to us but they are mammals who bond with their babies just as we do and they are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. The only reason humans do this to these mothers is for the trivial reason of taste. It’s completely trivial because we don’t need to drink their milk to survive. As mammals ourselves we are weaned as toddlers and have no need for a mammal’s milk after we are weaned. Milk is for babies.

There are so many strong reasons to be vegan that it’s becoming increasingly harder to justify livestock farming and eating animals. The animal suffering on intensive farms is extreme and unnecessary. The carbon footprint and land use of livestock farming is considerably more than it is for plants. Overuse of antibiotics in livestock is contributing to antibiotic resistance and viruses that are capable of pandemics most often originate from animals. This is not the first disease to have come from animals. We have already had bird flu, swine flu, and mad cow disease. How much suffering and destruction must we cause before we change?

10 thoughts on “A bumblebee, extraordinary changes for the UK, and thoughts on mother’s day for the most abused of all mothers

  1. I’m not vegan, but posts like these chip away at my soul. We do need to change: and, yes, I fully appreciate that ‘we’ starts logically with ‘me’. I promise to do better!

    1. I think that too! Your posts do make a difference, Rachel. The other day when I went to support my local cafe (take out only) there was a vegan sausage roll option and when I thought of all the suffering that was probably behind the meat alternative, it seemed natural to choose the vegan roll, where before I might have thought it more natural to choose the meat option.

  2. I, too, wonder how people can think it’s okay to farm animals the way we do, just for the sake of their taste buds. Most people are not bad people, yet wilful indifference allows bad things to continue. Change is never easy, but what are we if we never change?

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