Hear No Evil
BFA thesis series, 2018
One cruel aspect of the meat industry that is often overlooked is the mode of transportation for livestock. This can be one of the most fatal aspects of meat production depending on weather, duration of travel, and the number of animals crammed into the narrow space of a trailer. However, these are not factors we regularly think about when we pass a transportation truck on the highway. Though my sculpture Hear No Evil touches on the idea of travel, the representation of the crates is mostly a symbolic reference to the reality of the situation, which illustrates a newborn calf being forcibly taken away from her mother. The reason the calves are taken to growing facilities is to halt their dependency on their mother’s milk so that it can be harvested for our selfish good.
The separation of mother and calf is not as cut and dry as it seems on paper. In fact, cows react similar to humans in that they form an intimate bond with their child and will become depressed if that child disappears. The mother cow will send a distinct call to her calf, awaiting a return response in order to locate the missing infant. Unfortunately, the calf will never hear the mother’s attempts, which causes an emotional strain on the cow. This tragedy is only heightened after repeatedly going through this process. It is important to understand that these animals have a cognitive awareness similar to humans, so imagine the emotional devastation if humans lived in this kind of system.