By Swati Poddar:
Who I am is not important, but what became of me is. Maybe you have seen me, and maybe you have heard my story before. But I will tell you my story because it needs to be told.
It began in a dark room. I was pulled out of my mother in the middle of the night as the clouds roared. My mother kissed me with a tenderness which was absent in the hands of the man who delivered me. I hovered over, my mom constantly stirring at the slightest movement. She fed me, comforted me. But after a while, I was taken away. They held her down as she cried for me. I was thrown in a dirty vehicle along with several others, who seemed as confused and scared as I felt.
After a long bumpy ride, we were picked up and thrown into another dark room, which smelt of faeces and urine. A few days later, I was paraded in the middle of an angry crowd who shouted numbers while I trembled. I was sold to the highest bidder. I was put into a vehicle with 20 more of my kind. After a gruelling ride, we reached a farmhouse, where we were shoved into small enclosures. I cried for my mother, but no one comforted me. I cried for several nights until my tears dried up.
I accepted the reality – I would never see my mother again. We were force-fed. I saw others like me come into that dark place. After a few months, they started the torture. Every day, I was abused, beaten, raped, again and again. They cut parts of my body. The wailing of others drowned my own.
I wondered what they wanted until I saw my reflection in a puddle of my own urine and blood. I looked exactly as mother did when they dragged me away – desolate, hopeless, broken. I guess they wanted something, which my mother couldn’t give them any more.
Eventually, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy with brown hair. He was taken away from me, and he screamed louder than I had. I crossed my heart and hoped he would not experience the same things as I did. But alas, I didn’t know they had a different fate planned out for him. I tried to run away and look for him, which only made them beat me more. They gave me injections when I did not ‘act’ appropriately. I never saw my baby again. I don’t know what became of him.
This life, the torture, the endless screams, it went on for four more years. I had given up all hope, but my body was pumped up with antibiotics, and thus I was forced to live. Finally, I gave in, I let go and walked towards to light. I was finally free.
This is the story of millions of females in shackles. This is the story of millions of females who are not given a choice. This is the story of all animals in the dairy industry, who are used and abused by those in power. This is the story behind the happy cows face on the packet of milk we purchase. This is the story of every female who is exploited year after year for food she produces for her baby, not for us – milk.
The entire milk industry is built on the exploitation of the female reproductive system. In today’s age, when so many of us believe in feminism, we forget about these non-human females who suffer silently. What about these females who are not granted even a moment of peace?
The feminist movement defies man’s predominance over womankind. If we as feminists fight for rights of all females, then it makes no sense to not speak about the suffering of these non-human females. In a country where the rape of one woman outraged the whole nation, where women are worshipped and where a country is run by female politicians, how can we subjugate and slave millions of females and not speak about it?
Because these gentle animals cannot fight back, organise a march or a demonstration or deny consent, we as humans assume we can do as we please to them, usually under the guise of “looking out” for their interests. In the long walk to feminist haven, we cannot assume that only a particular group or section of the ‘society’ is deserving of our attention. It is ridiculous to stand with some but against all the rest.
Feminists believe females cannot be objectified or oppressed anymore. Correction, we believe females should not be objectified and oppressed. Then, there is a moral question one needs to address – are you a feminist if you fund the objectification of another species of the same gender?
As Arundhati Roy says, “Either way, change will come. It could be bloody, or it could be beautiful. It depends on us.”