Monday, May 11, 2009

For Mother's Day

Yesterday I spent some time thinking about all the beautiful mothers who do not get to care for their babies; who feel the fierce love mothers do for their children, even before they are born, but have their babies taken from them...
and I sent out as much love as I could to them.
Below, a post from Farm Sanctuary, in honor of those suffering mothers:

After having the honor of knowing these sows, it is painful to think about what their lives were like at the factory farms they only narrowly escaped when the Mississippi River overflowed. But we must think about it because Mango, Rosebud, Nikki, and all the other bright, passionate, loving, and sensitive gestation sows rescued in Iowa are not anomalies in their ability to feel so deeply, and they need us to tell their full stories and show the world what is at stake when factory farms treat sentient creatures like commodities. Every day on factory farms, sows like Nikki and the rest are confined inside 2-foot-wide gestation crates with concrete floors. They cannot turn around, or lie down comfortably. In fact, they can barely move. They are artificially inseminated by hog industry workers and left alone in solitary confinement to carry their babies for a term of 114 days. After giving birth to up to 17 piglets, a number that the pork industry continually pushes to increase, they nurse their babies through the bars of farrowing crates, minimally larger than gestation crates, unable to touch their newborns – let alone experience the kind of tender moments with them that we’ve seen here. After 10 days, the sows’ babies are torn away from them while they watch helplessly, and the cruel cycle begins again. These sows are treated as nothing more than piglet breeding machines.

The love between the sows and piglets that we witness during our observations is remarkable, especially in the moments after the piglets wake from naps and run to reach their mothers’ faces, grunting excitedly into their ears as if to say, “thank goodness you’re still here!” One of Rosebud’s babies, Pepper, is so thrilled to see his mother when he wakes that he sticks his entire nose into her ear.

Nikki gave birth to a litter of piglets while seeking refuge on a levee during the massive Midwest floods of 2008. She built them two nests and taught them to hide from strangers. Nikki now shows off her mothering skills at our New York Shelter, along with other sows rescued from the floodwaters.

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