Berkeley students protest for cows' rights on Mother's Day

Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy protested the consumption of mother cows' milk.

In addition, the group has protested against a Domino's Pizza ad campaign and held a pig funeral.

Mother’s Day held special significance this year for an animal rights group at UC Berkeley and other Bay Area activists, who claim that exploiting the breast milk of “another’s mother,” namely a calf’s, is unfair and disrespectful.

On May 10, the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy (BOAA) at UC Berkeley protested the consumption of mother cows’ milk at Andronico’s Community Market and Safeway, two dairy and meat-selling grocery markets in the San Francisco Bay area.

A group of about 20 students and alumni marched through the grocery markets consecutively, chanting lines such as “animals feel pain, just like us,” and holding signs that read “dairy cows are raped and forcibly impregnated” and “dairy cows are exploited for their breast milk.” 

“Every time you drink the milk of a mother cow, there is a baby calf who isn’t,” BOAA organizer Reilly Gardine said in the group’s press release.

“There is no humane way to forcefully impregnate a cow and separate her from her baby, only to steal her milk,” Mike Harvey, another BOAA organizer, said in the press release.

In addition to a press release and media advisory, BOAA created a video of their demonstration for calves:

Warning: Video contains some graphic footage.

“This is not food, and this is not veal,” student member and demonstrator Kitty Jones declared in a speak-out, “this is the body of someone.”

The demonstrators were met with mixed reactions during their protests on Sunday. BOAA co-president Justine Carion told Campus Reform that the staff at Andronico’s “were actually really understanding,” allowing the group to peacefully demonstrate until they were done.

At Safeway, however, the group was met with confrontation as security seized the grocery products and posters that they were holding and asked them to leave the store.

Carion told Campus Reform that this was the group’s first Mother’s Day protest. BOAA was responsible this past semester for several animal rights advocacy protests and fundraisers, beginning with the protest of an “offensive” ad campaign at Domino’s Pizza in January, a story covered by Campus Reform.

The group hosted a pig funeral at a local restaurant in Berkeley in March, as captured in the video below:

“Pigs have proven to be smarter than dogs but a lot of Americans see them as just bacon,” Carion said. She added that as an animal lover and former meat-eater, she was inspired to join the movement after she realized that her actions were “hypocritical.”

In April, BOAA protested at a goat festival in San Francisco featuring a petting zoo and a meat-cooking demo, which they succeeded in shutting down, according to their website.

When asked about BOAA’s correspondence with the university and future plans, Carion told Campus Reform that the group is working with the university to introduce more vegan options “because we think that if options are easier and more accessible to students then they might choose them.”

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