Hazel, my daughter, loves farm animals. Cows, sheep, ducks, horses, donkeys; Old Macdonald’s entire collection amuses her. Farmyard Tales of Chloe the Cow is a favourite picture book of hers. Giggles every time we read it.
There was a time when she wouldn’t look at animals. An entire trip to a farm park or zoo and she would turn her head at every exhibit, steadfastly and determinedly look the other way.
Try as we might she wouldn’t look at the animals we’d brought her to see. Not sure why. Perhaps they scared her. Maybe they were too enormous for her to deal with. Whatever it was she blanked them.
They were not acceptable to her.
Now she is a little older she no longer shies away from those same animals. Instead she watches them, she laughs at them, though she has been known to aim a rather firm boot in their direction if they get too close.
Hazel likes a cow. Especially when it moos; it makes her giggle. She has a cuddly one at home called Daisy. Daisy the Cow.
Strange creatures if you ask me, cows. Constantly grazing. Tearing up grass and then moving on to new and better pastures. Never really satisfied, always eating.
There are over a 1000 species of cow in the world apparently. Plenty of giggles to be had then Hazel!
But there is one species of cow that I hope she never finds out about.
It’s big. It’s scary. It’s overwhelming. Most people don’t want to look at it. They’d rather pretend it wasn’t there. Look away. The proprietors of the farm parks it is usually found in are acutely aware of this fact and so have thought long and hard about to make this cow less scary, attractive even.
Its image problem is so great and potentially very damaging to its owners that they have disguised the cow. So good is the disguise that most visitors have no idea that there is a cow there at all. They do not see it. The owners have dressed it up and given it fine clothes to wear. Now it is respectable and acceptable; praiseworthy even and by rights it must be honoured. Its existence must never be questioned or its true identity revealed.
Here in the U.K this cow goes by the name of Choice, not Chloe or Daisy.
This cow is no friend to Hazel, or anyone else with an extra chromosome. This cow is not cuddly. It will not make her laugh. This cow is bred and sold by a Global Genomics Organisation. This cow is making them vast sums of money in detecting more and more babies with Down’s syndrome, in utero, all over the world.
This breed of cow is a Cash cow.
This cow is hungry but does not eat grass. It’s appetite is for children. And if you don’t believe me then watch this video to hear it from the breeders mouth. They are very pleased with their cow. It’s prizewinning. Best in show.
I’ve seen this cow; I wonder if you have too?
And now that I’ve seen it I refuse to look away and cannot remain neutral, for this is a cow that will affect my daughter and anyone else with an extra chromosome for years to come. It doesn’t just affect the unborn, though they are the ones the cow desires the most. This cow affects people I love. People I value. People who have as much right to breathe the same air as the rest of us. People.
I cannot look another person with Down’s syndrome in the eye and celebrate their lives whilst ignoring this cow or trying to remain neutral. You see this cow thinks children, and by association, people with Down’s syndrome should be screened out, devoured before they are even born. This cow deems them worthless and disposable, yet at the same time sees pound signs over their heads and goes all out in search of them.
This cow tried to devour my child but failed. It wants the likes of her screened out prenatally. This cow will do all it can to devalue her life and the lives of others with Down’s syndrome. It is in no danger of starving; the grass is very green and business is booming. This cow is not remotely interested in offering women choice in their pregnancy, only in limiting it. I hope my daughter never finds out about this cow. Sadly, many people with Down’s syndrome will have found out about this cow and may wonder what they have done wrong to deserve such treatment. How unimaginably distressing to find out you are so despised.
Neutrality is not an option for me. I know I am not able to stop this cow; I am no match for it, that’s for certain. But I will face it and call it by its name as long as it feeds anywhere near me and the people I love.
This cow isn’t called Daisy and it certainly isn’t called Choice.
Its real name is Discrimination, its breed is Deceptive and its origins are in Eugenics.
We must stare it out.
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