Consent Has No Exceptions (Opinion)
Similarly, 56 billion animals are killed for food every year. That means that if humans killed each other at the same rate that we kill animals, we would be extinct in 17 days. Due to the fact that most animal products and by products come from females (eggs, milk, honey, etc.), female animals are tortured and abused at a much higher rate than male animals.
Consent is one of the biggest issues we face in the feminism movements around the world and in animal rights. Intersectionality within both movements is another issue. Consent means having agency over one’s own body and what is done to it. Human women are able to consent; however, this consent is not always given or respected. Nonhuman animals, however, are physically not able to consent in a language that humans can understand. Therefore, they cannot consent by our standards. They cannot consent to be used for food, entertainment, experimentation, or clothing.
The most prominent examples of this is the dairy industry. Like human women, cows only produce milk when they are pregnant or after giving birth. Therefore, in the dairy industry, cows are repeatedly impregnated on what farmers and the industry themselves call “rape racks,” by inserting a long metal pole into their vagina. When a human is forcibly and involuntarily violated sexually, it’s called “rape.” When animals on factory farms are forcibly and involuntary violated sexually, it’s called “artificial insemination.”
After giving birth, their baby is taken away from them or sometimes the baby is killed right in front of her mother as she audibly cries out and tries to help her child. This is so humans can drink the mother’s milk without having to share it with the baby for whom it was intended. If the calves are male, they are killed shortly after being taken away from their mother to become veal. If they are female, they suffer the same fate as their mother.
After about four to five years, cows used for dairy will collapse from exhaustion and be killed for cheap beef. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted an eyewitness investigation at Adirondack Farms, LLC, a factory dairy farm that takes 20,930 gallons of milk from approximately 1,800 cows every day. PETA’s investigator documented that a manager there jabbed a fully conscious and immobile cow, whom he called a “dumb bitch,” in the ribs with a screwdriver and used a skid loader to drag her approximately 25 feet. Not one iota of consent is given in the dairy industry.
Cows are not the only example of where female nonhuman animals have it worse than their male counterparts. Hens on most so-called “free-range” egg farms are crammed into filthy sheds, have their laying cycles manipulated, and are slaughtered as soon as their egg production begins to wane, at around two years old.
Female animals killed for their fur are often vaginally electrocuted. In puppy mills, female dogs are shoved into tiny outdoor crates, denied veterinary care, and forced to deliver litter after litter of puppies to be sold. Monkeys, some of our closest relatives, are imprisoned on deplorable breeding farms and forced to breed and deliver babies who will be experimented on.
Right now, there is no possible way for animals to consent, so it is our responsibility as humans to not abuse or exploit them in any way. It is our job to not to use the same systems of oppression that discredit and disregard their voices and excuse the violence we inflict, just as we do to human women. We need to amplify all women’s voices, not just white, cis, upper/middle class, heterosexual, human women. Were you thinking about your fellow women when you ate your last meal or bought your shoes? Is your feminism truly intersectional?
For more information please check out:
The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams
The Sistah Vegan Project: http://www.sistahvegan.com/
And my Ted Talk: Eat Like a Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-3-fsrOJS