Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless


I have been thinking about fatigue a lot lately. Perhaps because despite my best intentions, when I get home from work I don’t seem to have “it” in me to do a post. To process pictures.

The winter is perhaps taking a toll. But it is more than that. It is reading people talk about “sustainability” who have no real interest in anything other than justifying the next cow they kill. Who claim that cows don’t have much more intelligence than the food (i.e., grass) they eat.

I find that offensive, and unbelievably ignorant.

I especially find offensive the thread that runs through so much of the world around me – that change is needed, but that people hope someone else does it.

And so, fatigue. I’m in need of a little vegan island where I can recharge and gird myself for the next round of “I don’t want to hear/believe it.”

Yet, my fatigue is something I’ll get over.

Jake, on the other hand, is making faces at me as he eats his medicine-laden bananas.

He’s a dairy cow, which is likely obvious given his clear Holstein heritage. And as a result of the genetic mutilation in the never-ending quest to turn Bessie into the perfect milk-producing machine, Jake has severe arthritis. He is, I believe, 7 years old, what should be a youngster when it comes to cows. He is a victim of his genetics.

And so I fed him his bananas with their medicine. Without it, he would have stayed in that one spot all day. With it, he was up and moving about not long after.

Though rescued from a fate that would have had him killed within his first month of life, he will never be free of the dairy industry. His life will be shortened by their actions, though he has been lucky enough to live at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary most of his life.

I could easily mourn for Jake’s shortened life, but to do that I would have to ignore that he is living his life fully right now. He has the freedom of 400 acres, and the security of living at a sanctuary. He has people who care about him and make sure he is as comfortable as he can be, and who will make however many years he has the best they can be for him. People who believe that he has an inalienable right to all of his years.

He has a lot, really.


8 responses to “fatigue

  1. Asma February 5, 2009 at 2:08 am

    I have wonderful pictures of Jake intimidating me (or maybe, me allowing myself to be intimidated by him) from last week.

    I hope you feel better! We’ve also been feeling some of that fatigue.

  2. nothoney February 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I find my island of vegan renewal at the sanctuary, which I’ve dearly missed these last two weekends. I hope to be there on Saturday, depending on the results of Mina’s vet visit today.

    Y’know, part of it could be the weather. It’s depressing.


  3. Stephanie E. February 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Ahh, that fatigue. I know it well. I could really use that vegan island for a week or so too. Let me know if you find it, and maybe I’ll join you.

    Thanks for sharing Jake’s story (and face).

  4. Ari Moore February 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Take heart! Every day I meet more and more people who are making the connection between sustainability and a plant-based diet – and I keep seeing people waking up, taking action, starting to engage. You and your blogging and photography are helping to change the world! πŸ™‚

  5. Deb February 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Asma, for purely selfish reasons, I would love it if you and Kaiser ended up back in the DC area! Jake is so huge, it is hard not to be somewhat intimidated by then when they’re up close. It is Carlyle and Ainsley you have to watch out for though!

    nothoney, should be a gorgeous weekend, 60’s and sunny. make sure to enjoy it, whether at the sanctuary or at home!

    Stephanie, I knew you’d know that fatigue! I don’t know how you do it over there at I will definitely let you know if I find that vegan island. It will be somewhere warm, that much is certain!

    Ari, you know, I think about you when I think about sustainability, and that’s why this other “sustainability” person is so infuriating! That’s awesome that you are meeting more and more people making that connection, engaging, taking action. That was exactly what I needed to hear. (If you met my coworkers, you’d see why it is so easy to wonder if change is possible!) I’m not sure my blogging and photography are doing anything to change the world, but I love that you said so. πŸ™‚

  6. Pingback: mid-winter blues: all the good news « Invisible Voices

  7. Ari Moore February 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    “I’m not sure my blogging and photography are doing anything to change the world, but I love that you said so.”
    Oh your blogging and photography really do count! Look at all of us reading your blog and being inspired by you and finding community here in these dialogues. That’s social, cultural change – all of us waking up to what we can do, and talking about it, and sharing ideas and energy. Never doubt that your blog is having an impact.

    We might all feel like we’re just typing into the ether sometimes – but just think of how many times a blog has opened your eyes to someone’s experience, or helped you see that you’re not alone, or helped you feel more motivated to go do something. I really do believe that writing, especially the interactive, bloggy sort, is a form of activism. You’re definitely spreading vegan ideas in a really effective way – that counts.

    Anyway, I loved your follow-up, so glad to hear you’re feeling less fatigued. πŸ™‚

  8. Gary February 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    What it is we’re sustaining is even more important than whether what we’re doing is sustainable.

    Besides, I would argue that cruelty in any form is non-sustainable in that it takes something out of us in some form or another. It degrades our moral potential. Whatever our vision of the ideal possible world, we cannot reach it if we engage in avoidable violence, cruelty, and exploitation every day.

    To switch subjects somewhat…Hopefully blogging about the fatigue of trying to help animals in a world that largely treats animals as disposable commodities is cathartic and/or helpful in other ways. If nothing else, reading your blog post about it has those positive effects. πŸ™‚

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