How now, brown cow?
On Saturday, artist Zoe Birrell’s newest work debuted at the Glasgow School of Art’s “Degree Show.” Inspired by the horrendous lot of dairy cows—who are kept continuously pregnant and have their calves taken from them almost immediately—as well as by society’s treatment of women, the vegan artist took her body weight in chocolate and used it to create 420 cows. According to Birrell, “The fact that I am creating an entirely female herd is not a coincidence, as this herd is the result of the exploitation of another animal’s sexuality.”
Of course, the chocolate is vegan (using fair trade cacao from a company that supports women’s rights), donated by Plamil Foods. Three hundred of the cows will be sold to the public, with the money going to rescue and care for a dairy cow and to fund similar projects in the future.
Birrell’s work is being shown on the heels of reports of new cases of mad cow disease in the U.S., which officials are saying may have “spontaneously” appeared. Haven’t they figured out yet that when you keep pushing nature, eventually nature pushes back?
Albert Einstein told us, “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Until we learn that animals are not commodities for us to do with as we please, until we learn that that they are unique, precious, sentient beings with a right to live as nature, not man, intended, we will suffer the consequences. And unfortunately, so will the animals.