The Inherently Bad Logic of the "Only One Bad Day" Claim

I am so tired of hearing people quote the "family farmer," saying "Our cows have only one bad day."

Oh really? How do they know anyway?

Wasn't it a bad day when she was taken from her mother so that her mother's milk could go to humans, not her?

Wasn't it a bad day when her calf was taken away from her?

Wasn't it a bad day when a friend disappeared to go to her bad day?

Wasn't it a bad day when she was forcibly made pregnant AGAIN because her milk was drying up? And then, AGAIN?

Wasn't it a bad day each day that she was both pregnant and lactating?

Wasn't it a bad day each and every day that she is producing milk because she has been bred to produce more milk than is natural to her body, and so the weight of her udder causes strain to her back and hips?

Wasn't it a bad day each and every day that her overgrown hooves stood on concrete? 

Wasn't it a bad day when she got an infection, and because the organic farm doesn't use antibiotics a few days were spent discussing options before they decided that though she was only 2 1/2 she would have to go to slaughter? 

What's a bad day anyway? A bad day means that you are going to have some time in the future to look back and say, "Now, that, that day, that was a bad day." A bad day isn't the day your life ended; it's the day your life dipped, or tumbled downward, but in its label there is also contained the promise that other days will be good days. As one person points out: "Calling it 'one bad day' is a horrendous insult in itself. This isn't the same as hitting your toe on the coffee table or spilling coffee on yourself in the car. This is the equivalent of being dragged out of your house and shot in the head with a 20 gauge shot gun. This isn't something that will be better with a good night's sleep or an aspirin."

Each animal is a unique being, with a unique personality, but she is reduced to being a part of a money-making venture, and her individuality is so fungible it can be extinguished when she is no longer producing money for the farmer. As Kim Stallwood has pointed out, why are the people who are oppressing the other animals allowed to be the spokespeople and interpreters of the animals' experiences? Haven't we seen this reversal before when the abusers claim themselves as benefactors? First they murder the victims; then they murder the language. 

 copyright (c)  Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals. For more information on We Animals and the tremendous work of photographer Jo-Anne McArthur:   http://www.weanimals.org/

copyright (c) Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals. For more information on We Animals and the tremendous work of photographer Jo-Anne McArthur: http://www.weanimals.org/

 

I first posted these thoughts on my Facebook page. I appreciate the additional comments by Kara Davis, Kirsten Bayes, Pamela Moriarty, Terri Alice, Richard Gray, which I have incorporated into this blog. The idea that animals are social creatures and would notice the disappearance of other animals was shared with me by Marc Bekoff in conversations.