By Kaylee Lindenmuth
ASHLAND - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Thursday sent a letter to Ashland Mayor Ray Walacavage, according to a press release, requesting the borough's permission to "erect a beautiful cow sculpture inscribed with the words 'Respect and Honor all Mothers. Go Vegan'" at the site of the mothers' memorial.
The organization in the release said "would pay tribute to all the nonhuman mothers who also nurture their babies."
“All mothers are loving and protective of their young—and this certainly includes mother cows whose calves are taken away from them, something that causes them great distress,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in the release. “PETA is hoping that Ashland will honor the universal devotion of mothers by adding a sculpture of a mother cow to its historic memorial.”
Erected in 1938, the mother's memorial was devised by the Ashland Boys' Association to honor all Ashland mothers.
"The A.B.A. was formed in the early 20th century in response to the widespread job loss and dispersion of coal miners as mines began to fail. It was a homecoming organization that welcomed former Ashland residents back to their hometown," writes Pennsylvania Historic Preservation. "The A.B.A. was the archetype of a poignant Pennsylvania story: how successive waves of industrialization and economic development create then destroy industries and communities, leaving large groups of people longing for the associations and comforts of family, friends and home. The Mother’s Memorial stands as a symbol of this sentiment."
"At an A.B.A. reunion in 1933, it was proposed to honor all Ashland mothers by erecting a monument or memorial," continued Pennsylvania Historic Preservation. "Members felt that such a memorial would represent the very foundation of the organization, because their motto was, “Come on home” and home evoked thoughts of one’s mother.
In the letter, Newkirk writes "Our sculpture is a mooving tribute to the millions of nonhuman mothers who also nurture their young," continuing to essentially condemn dairy farming, and outlining motherly acts by other species.
Newkirk continues, "[w]hile we chose a cow to symbolize the bond between mothers and their babies, most animal mothers are just as dedicated to and protective of their young as cows are, including emperor penguins, who travel up to 50 miles to find food for their offspring; killdeer, who pretend to have broken wings in order to lure predators to themselves instead of their babies; octopuses, who so fiercely guard their eggs that they’ll starve before leaving them to eat or look for food; and pigs, who sing to their piglets while nursing and defend them throughout their lives."
The full letter and media release can be read here.