Mother’s Day was started over 150 years ago (in the 1850s) as a way to improve sanitary conditions, fight disease, decrease mortality rate of children and milk contamination. It was connected to soldiers (Civil War) as a day of mourning for women who had lost their loved ones. In 1914, Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) was made an official holiday by President Woodrow Wilson. Mother’s Day has grown and evolved into a holiday to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions of mothers, grandmothers and all those who love and care for others. Whether you have or had a good relationship with your mother or not isn’t the point of this article.
Many people send cards, flowers, call her or take her out for a meal to acknowledge their love for their mother. But, there is one group of little ones that do not get to spend Mother’s Day with their mother. In fact, a few hours after being born these babies are ripped from mothers, some not even being able to be nursed let alone growing up and weaned from them. These babies are from the animal kingdom and they along with their mothers share the planet with us.
While I don’t care to go into horrific details about the care and treatment of these mothers and their babies at this time, I do want to make clear that the rights that we have as human beings are, in some way, considered a higher privilege to those of animals and such an ideology is not consistent with compassion.
The majority of mothers in our world would fight, cry, kick and scream if their children were ripped from them. The same goes for mothers in the animal kingdom. The mother/child bond extends beyond that of human beings and animals feel love, loss and pain just like we do.
If we are one world that practices compassion then, we should make sure it extends to all areas of our lives. Consuming animals and their by-products is not conducive to our sustainability, the planet and the lives of animals. Consuming “free-range” or “organic” doesn’t solve the problem. Eating someone’s mother is just wrong. Forcing mother cows to be perpetually pregnant in order to continue producing milk, not for her calf but, for humans to consume is wrong. Grinding up male chicks alive because they are considered “useless” and “unprofitable” is counter to the belief that we are a compassionate society of intelligent beings. Really, think about this. Would you be able to load baby chicks, crying for their mother, into a grinding machine, turn it on and watch them die?
If we truly love our mothers, the planet and all of its inhabitants, then we should live our lives in such a way that celebrates the good in all and does harm to none.
Eating a vegan diet comprised of legumes/beans, vegetables, grains and fruits is the diet that our bodies were designed to enjoy. Consuming such a diet helps us become strong people, shows compassion for our animal friends that share the planet with us and helps sustain the natural resources of the planet.
The best gift you can give to your mother is the gift of love and good health. Taking her out to a vegan restaurant or preparing a healthy, wholesome vegan meal for her will show her that you love her and care about her well being. Not sure how to make a vegan meal? There are some wonderful cookbooks that can help you. Vegan mother and recipe developer Dreena Burton has an excellent cookbook called Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes is a good place to start. Also, Julie Piatt, wife of ultra marathoner Rich Roll and vegan mother of four children, has a new cookbook “The Plantpower Way” that is filled with great tips for the newbie vegan and tasty recipes.
No matter how you choose to spend Mother’s Day, I wish you peace and joy today and every day.
This article was originally published May 10, 2015 on The Vegan Voice. This story has been modified and updated to reflect new information.