Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hayom echad v'arbaim yom, shehaym chamisha shavuot v'shisha yamim baomer

Happy Mother's Day! Chickens and turkeys in the meat industry never get to meet their parents or be raised by them. As I explained in a 2005 article, veal calves and dairy cows are "tied together by a disregard for the universal 'honor thy mother' commandment":
On the first or second day after calves are born, they are taken away from their mothers for good. Once milk turns from colostrum to a commercial entity, mothers are taken to the milking parlor and then return to find their calves missing. The mother will often bellow constantly for a day or so, searching in vain for her calf.

Mothers bond with their calves during the first few hours. A 1977 study in Applied Animal Ethology found that even five minutes "of contact with a calf immediately post partum is sufficient for the formation of a specific, stable, maternal bond with that calf." In nature, cows would continue to nurse their young for nearly a year. . . .

Many calves are sent to veal auctions, where they are generally nervous and presumably still looking for their mothers. As Erik Marcus explains in Meat Market, "The calves usually enter the auction ring with a few inches of umbilical cord still hanging from their bellies. Their hides are often still slick from the womb."

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