At Two Years She Takes “Her Boys” To The Abattoir
The growth of the “happy exploitation” movement – particularly over the last decade – has become a big problem. More than ever we need our advocacy efforts to be clear and relentlessly unambiguous in focusing on the immorality of animal use. The promotion of single-issue campaigns and welfare reforms – along with the efforts of animal “save” groups, as discussed in recent articles) are what keep the public waters muddied with respect to our use of animals as resources. The efforts of the mainstream movement have been nothing but vessels for the perpetuation of speciesism and the idea that animals only need us to consider their suffering in the process of using them.
Subsequently, the public have bought into the idea that they can discharge their moral obligations to animals by consuming “happy” animal products – an idea explicitly promoted by Fiona Provan, owner of The Calf at Foot dairy and beef farm in Suffolk, England.
Indeed, Fiona is such a good business person that she uses deceptive marketing to get around the fact that in order to produce milk, the cows are kept on a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth.
On the website for the farm she maintains that the “cows keep their calves” – but if you look further down the page you’ll see the following: “At the age of 2yrs I take the boys myself to the abattoir to ensure minimum stress. The beef is sold as Pasture For Life Beef directly from the farm gate and online.”
When pressed for clarification recently on Gary Francione’s Facebook page, she responded with the following:
So, according to Fiona, the fact that the males are now “fully grown” suddenly makes it morally acceptable to pump them with bullets. Two years of bonding with their mother; two years of building human trust, to then receive the ultimate betrayal where their murder is passed off as an act of love and kindness.
She again reiterates that the age of the males is somehow relevant to the morality of killing in a later comment. It would seem that “fully grown adult bulls” are of lesser moral value than calves. Or is it just that when it comes down to it, Fiona runs a business profiting from the exploitation and deaths of vulnerable sentient beings:
But are they killed at 2yrs or 1yr? Fiona doesn’t seem to know herself in a comment posted by the farm page where she maintains that she takes them herself to be “shot at the abattoir locally” at “about a year old”:
When reading this comment it’s easy to see some of the glaringly obvious problems with the notion of “humane” animal use. The “boys” aren’t really going to care whether they’re taken away from their mothers at 6 days old, 1yr old, or 2yrs old. Whatever their age, they and their mothers will experience a profound level of trauma from the separation. The “boys” also aren’t going to care whether they’re betrayed at 6 days old, 1yr old, or 2yrs old. Their deaths – as sentient beings with fundamental interests in continuing to live – are just as immoral and unjustifiable whatever their age. If anything, after 2 years (or is it 1 year, Fiona?) the level of betrayal is only greater after such a long period of time learning to trust humans.
The only difference between regular animal exploitation and this so called “humane” exploitation is that the latter uses kind words in an attempt to mask the rights violations we engage in via treating animals as property. At the end of the day, Fiona’s “boys” are nothing but wasted space:
As is true of all “happy” exploitation, it’s deeply troubling when those who exploit animals compare their relationship with those animals to the relationship with their own children:
I assume, however, that when Fiona’s children were fully grown she did not feel the need to take them to the abattoir to have a bullet put through their heads on account of not having “enough space to keep them” in her house any longer. And therein lies the speciesism of those within the “animal movement” who have bought into the idea so that so long as animals are being treated “humanely,” we do them no harm in killing them. In reality, Fiona’s position on the cows and their calves is no different to what Gary Francione describes on a recent Facebook post: “[It’s] like saying that we allow human moms and human children to stay together but we kill all children over the age of 18 because they are adults at that time.”
Fiona also claims to grant her animals a “good death” without considering the fact that there is no “good” way to kill a sentient being who does not want to die:
Perhaps most disturbing of all is Fiona’s attempts to convince people that the answer to animal exploitation isn’t veganism, it’s to get them to drink her cows’ milk and eat her “boys” flesh:
In response to this she merely tells people to come and see how good it really is for her animals and that vegans supposedly don’t want to visit because they’re “scared [they] may feel it’s ok like so many other vegans”:
Fiona fails to grasp that – despite the fact that the females are used as human resources and the males are unjustifiably killed – regardless of how her animals are treated it is a direct violation of their moral rights to use them as human resources. To be property means to have no value other than that which a property owner bestows on that thing – the status of property alone denies the inherent value animals as beings who value their own lives. Fiona exercises her property rights over these animals every day where their value is dictated by her and only her. She reserves the right to value their lives at zero when it is convenient for her to do so, as she does when she takes her “boys” to the abattoir to be shot.
But what else are we to expect from a person who believes that the “planet cannot sustain a population of vegans.” I guess it makes owning a business that profits from separating families and killing vulnerable beings more palatable:
I don’t know what’s more unsettling, the idea that Fiona willingly ignores the ecological disaster that is animal agriculture or that she believes herself to have a “vegan perspective” whilst simultaneously exploitating animals and killing their babies. That’s like saying that I have a “feminist perspective” but that I go out and sexually abuse women.
The farm’s marketing is also targeted at trying to keep people from going vegan. In this advert found on their Facebook page, Fiona tells us that there’s no need to import nuts and that people need only switch to “locally produced milk.” Once again, the public are duped into believing that the cows “keep their babies.” The image is rather sickening when you consider that the calf in the image will be one of “the boys” soon to be lovingly driven to the abattoir to receive a bullet through the head:
This, my friends, is the reality of “happy” exploitation; rights violations no different to before but where the injustice is dressed up in deceitful marketing slogans and where love equates to harm. This is what we perpetuate when our advocacy is not focused on the immorality of use. This is what we get the public to believe the answer is when we fixate on treatment and exposing cruelty in our advocacy as opposed to talking to them about why veganism is a moral obligation if we believe animals to have moral value.
The main picture for this article is also taken from The Calf at Foot Facebook page, where the calf is cosying up to his mother’s face. The love and connection between a mother and child is universal, but because we treat animals as property, we have people like Fiona who believe they can violate that connection and separate and kill the child for economic gain. Vegans do not need to visit her farm to see “how good” things are for her animals. We are not “scared” that we may “feel it is ok.” On the contrary, vegans reject the idea that animals are things for human use. We reject the idea that there is a “good” way to exploit and kill vulnerable sentient beings. We reject treating animals as human resources, and even if these “humane” farms involved no killing – it would still be morally wrong to treat animals as property – as things for human use – in recognition of the inherent value that all sentient beings possess. A value that is denied by the status of property.
Animals are not sources of food.