This is a picture of a cow being slaughtered. Seeing undercover photos and videos of slaughter, as well as other types of animal cruelty, has impacted my life hugely from a young age, It has changed my political views, my diet and even what I think about other people! I think it has made me a compassionate, kind, thoughtful and well-informed person. It has also made me strong, clear in my views and passionate about animal rights.
I used to think animals were shot to kill them for their meat, and that it is all very quick, clean and painless. Sadly this is not at all the case. When animals are slaughtered they are stunned using an electric bolt gun, which shoots an impact into their brain rendering them unconscious, or using electric tongs or an electrified water bath which passes a current through their brain rendering them unconscious. The animal is still alive, but should not feel pain or know what's going on. Cows are then hoisted up onto a conveyor belt by shackles on their leg and their throat is cut open with a knife, cutting the main artery. The animal must be alive for this as they need the heart to pump all the blood out. Unfortunately stunning is often ineffective or incorrectly done, and animals regain consciousness whilst they are dying. This is why you see hideous images of blood sprayed slaughtermen, walls and rivers of blood on the floor of abattoirs. Sometimes if the animal hasn't died yet they suffocate on their own blood. It makes me feel so sick.
What has affected me the most is knowing that pregnant animals are slaughtered, especially dairy cows. Dairy cows are made pregnant, usually by artificial insemination, as a calf needs to be born for the cow to produce milk. After the birth, the calf is taken away from the mother within three days and is either shot in the head, put in a veal crate and sent to the continent to be turned into veal meat, or if it's a little girl she might become a dairy cow. The calf is taken away so humans can have the milk rather than the calf. The cow is then made pregnant again straight away, so is milked during pregnancy which exhausts the cow. Within three years the cow usually stops producing milk due to being worn out, and is slaughtered, often while pregnant. I have read reports of undercover investigators seeing the baby calf kicking inside it's mother after her throat is cut, struggling for life inside her whilst she is dying, and still kicking once she is dead, until it too dies. This image has affected me more than anything as a mummy myself, it's a scarring, devastating thing to happen. This is why I don't drink milk.
If this picture has affected your views and you are considering giving up meat or dairy please read more on www.viva.org.uk or www.peta.org.uk or see my post about vegan alternatives for animal foods http://teawithfelicity.blogspot.com/2011/06/list-vegan-alternatives-for-foods-you.html :)