The cow on the milk bag is smiling. Its presence on the label reassures us consumers that cows are happy to give us their milk because the whole Creation is at our service. In a way, we are all Cinderellas and Snow Whites: our fellow humans may make us suffer, but hens still lay eggs for us, cows produce milk for us, and all sorts of animals gladly sacrifice their thoughtless lives for us to have a nice barbecue.
However, deep down we know that there are few things as sad as the life of a cow, and few things are as disturbing as looking at the thousands of milk bags sitting on a supermarket shelf and wondering how many cows are helplessly attached to a milking machine right now. And then, how many cows are being slaughtered for us to relish the weekend, how many pigs, how many chickens. How many hens are trapped in a cage laying eggs for us to have a “wholesome breakfast.” The panorama is pretty bleak when you think about it and you realize you’re a city animal with no survival skills who has to rely on the mass production chain and its torture methods.
I know it’s not as bad in some parts of the third world, though: people own cows, cows are free to graze day in and day out, and their product is taken manually and sold to the big companies through a truck that stops farm by farm stacking milk churns. Maybe this is becoming less common now, but it’s the way I came to know it at my grandfather’s farm. Still, it’s a small comfort compared to the amount of lives we destroy for something far less important than nutrition: the joy of eating.
And then we take a look at ourselves and it so happens that we are rational beings that are willing to eat plastic and who knows what other strange and harmful chemical components for the sole reason that they taste good. Pleasure is our downfall, and we’re taking the whole planet with us as we go down.