Animal Studies Journal


Carol J. Adams


Sexual violation and reproductive exploitation happen to vulnerable bodies. After studying systems of female reproductive servitude and visiting ‘parlors’, exhibitions, and auctions where females are sold into captivity, Dr. Kathryn Gillespie of the University of Washington found relentless ‘sexually violent commodification of the female body’. Meet Carly (not her real name). Carly was torn from her mother shortly after birth, and while her umbilical cord hung from her, was auctioned off. She lived a life of physical and social isolation until her captors felt she was sexually mature. She was immobilized by chains or with a specially designed containment device, and impregnated with an insemination gun that was forcibly inserted into her uterus. After nine months, Carly gave birth and bent to caress her child. Once her milk came in (within 24 hours), her baby was taken from her. Left to themselves, Carly would have suckled her infant for at least six months. After the forced separation, Carly called for her baby for at least two weeks, looked for her, and cried for her. Carly is a cow used in the dairy industry.