Jakarta — With Chinese New Year to celebrate bovines in a few days, a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) “cow” stood outside Toko Merah today, holding a sign that reads, “Make It a Good Year for Cows: Go Vegan,” in order to encourage people to make it a compassionate and happy new year for everyone.
Passersby were reminded that cows raised and killed for the meat and dairy industries are capable of feeling joy, love, pain, and fear—just as humans, cats, dogs, and other animals are—and that they don’t want to die for humans to have a fleeting taste.
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“The Year of the Ox is the perfect time to start practicing compassion for cows and other animals by going vegan and leaving meat and dairy off your plates,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “With everything from vegan rendang and bakso to soy and coconut milks to dairy-free cheese and ice cream available across Indonesia, PETA is calling on everyone to make the switch to cruelty-free eating today.”
Cows in the meat industry are often confined to cramped, filthy feedlots without protection from the elements. Many die of dehydration or heat exhaustion. At some slaughterhouses, animals’ spinal cords are severed and they are left on the floor for several minutes before their throats are finally cut. Even in slaughterhouses that are supposed to stun animals before they’re killed, many cows are still alive when they are hacked apart.
In the dairy industry, cows are genetically manipulated to produce 10 times more milk than their own calves can drink. In many cases, their swollen udders become badly infected, and blood and pus end up in their milk. Calves are taken away from their mothers shortly after birth, which causes cows and their babies extreme distress. A cow’s natural lifespan is approximately 20 years, but female cows used by the dairy industry are typically killed after about five years.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.