The Dead Mums at Mother’s Day Brunches Also Loved their Babies

Posted on by PETA Australia

In recent years, Mother’s Day brunches – long, leisurely mornings featuring tables laden with bacon, sausages, eggs, and pastries – have become a popular way for Australian families to celebrate the mums and mother figures in their lives. But when you really stop to think about it, they’re more than a little hypocritical. After all, many of the foods piled on plates on May 12 are products of the exploitation of mothers, who were forcibly and repeatedly impregnated before their babies were torn away from them to be slaughtered.

Mother pigs, who will also ultimately be turned into bacon and sausages like their offspring, are gentle and devoted parents who sing to their piglets while they nurse them. Through this bonding process, piglets learn to come running at their mother’s call. On factory farms – where 90% of Australia’s 6 million pigs are held – sows languish in severely restrictive crates. Unable to even turn around in the cramped space, the mother pig is denied the opportunity to nurture her newborn babies or even reach for them as they lie dying on the cold concrete floor or are taken away to be bludgeoned by workers or fattened and slaughtered. She will be impregnated and caged again and again before she is killed. In these cruel contraptions, mothers are also vulnerable to abuse from human captors – as we saw with Olivia the sow, who was a victim of sexual assault at Victoria’s Midland Bacon.

Young pigs in crowded conditions at a large pig farm.Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur | Animal Liberation Victoria | We Animals Media

This sad story is the same for all animals bred to be eaten. Behind every cut of meat is a mother whose only value to the industry that exploited her and the public who funded it is her flesh and that of the sentient beings she birthed.

For dairy, cows are similarly abused. Cows naturally live for 20 years, but most of Australia’s 1.4 million cows used for dairy won’t see their fifth birthday. Before their exhausted bodies are hacked apart at an abattoir, each cow is repeatedly artificially inseminated – a cow must have recently given birth to make milk – and the babies for whom their milk is intended will be pulled from their side, leaving them bellowing in pain and confusion for days. If a baby is a girl, she will likely follow in her mother’s tragic footsteps, while boys – deemed “waste” because they don’t lactate – are killed and turned into veal within the week.

Cows stand in feces and urine at Australian dairy farm.Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media

Eggs, too, are the result of exploiting females’ reproductive systems. Confined to dark, dusty sheds or cages, without room to even stretch a wing, hens endure short, miserable lives. If you’ve ever witnessed the challenges of rescuing and rehabilitating hens from a laying facility, you’ll know the toll that repeated forced egg-laying takes on these clever, curious birds. Many die when multiple eggs become stuck inside them, and others suffer from painful and sometimes fatal reproductive diseases or osteoporosis as a result of the unnatural production of up to 300 eggs a year, which diverts nutrients from their bones. Like the birds themselves, their suffering is hidden from public view.

Several egg-laying hens poke their necks out of the battery cages they are confined to at a chicken egg farm in Australia.Photo: Seb Alex | We Animals Media

While none of these facts are pleasant to contemplate, we can all help to change things. We can easily uphold traditions such as enjoying a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed or family brunch without harming other mothers. There are vegan upgrades to pretty much everything you can think of – from crispy vegan bacon and scrambled “eggs” to fluffy dairy- and egg-free pancake recipes and succulent sausages made from plants. Many of the breakfast and brunch trimmings we love, like hashbrowns and crumpets, are already “accidentally” vegan. Aside from a plethora of animal-friendly supermarket finds, restaurants and cafés all over the country offer delicious vegan menus, making it easy to honour all mothers this Mother’s Day – and every day.

While countless mothers are forced to suffer in silence, we each have immense power to stop this and bring each of them the freedom they deserve. As Ann Reeves Jarvis, the mother of the creator of Mother’s Day, said: “She is entitled to it.”