Cows of Awaji

A couple weeks ago a calf was born on my coworker’s mini dairy farm. These mini-farms are prevalent on the more remote parts of this island, often limited to less than a dozen cows. Anyhow, I got around to asking how the calf was doing today and was told it had gotten sick and died. This was of course sad to hear, as this is apparently a fairly rare occurrence in this day and age. My coworker said the last time a calf died on their farm was over fifteen years ago.
He said that the mother was in great distress for a few days, udders swollen with milk and all moany and bereaved. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you,” he said, “that animals do not feel the pain of a child lost.” Shit. I felt like crying, the way he described it. This did not, however, prevent me from asking if they milked the distressed mother to relieve some of the pain (yes), and if so, did they drink that milk (NO! What the fuck kinda freaks do you think we are?).
Maybe I was being a bit insensitive, but hey, I figured that farmers are like salt of the earth type of people, there ain’t no insensitive questions, just stupid city-slicker type ones, right? So I asked why they don’t drink the milk intended for dead baby cows without worrying too much about getting a pitchfork stuck up my ass. And I had guessed right about him not being fazed about it, he simply said, “It’s got too much fat in it.”
So there you go. The reason why you shouldn’t steal mother’s milk from a suckling calf is that you will turn into a cow yourself.

1 thought on “Cows of Awaji

  1. The other reason to consider is that cow’s milk is a hormonal fluid meant as food for baby cows, not so much for humans. When a calf is separated from its mother, it’s the “Dumbo Syndrome” for both mom and baby….sadness, longing, depression and pain are all concentrated in the chemicals which are expressed from mother cow, into the bottle of milk which you drink. Do you remember the Alta Dena Farm we took you to when you were little? Same syndrome. Sad, mooing cows passing by their corraled calves who all moaned loudly for their mothers whose milk was intended as food for mostly adult humans. The calves, of course, become food or food providers for us….some become milk cows, veal calves or meat cattle.
    But it’s the milk of human unkindness that allows us to drink, without thinking, about sad calves and their moms. So, how do you like this uplifting, but very real understanding of the fluid emotions of our bovine friends?

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