As William Shakespeare fans around the world mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death on 23 April, Downton Abbey star Peter Egan is proving just how relevant Shakespeare’s works remain today.

Video: Shakespeare's Message About the Cruel Dairy Industry as Relevant Today as It Was 400 Years Ago

In a brand-new PETA video, Egan, who is vegan, recites a passage from Henry VI over footage from a modern-day dairy farm:
Thou never didst them wrong, nor no man wrong;
And as the butcher takes away the calf
And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays,
Bearing it to the bloody slaughter-house,
Even so remorseless have they born him hence;
And as the dam runs lowing up and down,
Looking the way her harmless young one went,
And can do nought but wail her darling’s loss.

“William Shakespeare wrote these words more than 400 years ago,” says Egan in the video, “but to this day, mother and baby cows continue to be torn apart and killed. You can help them today simply by choosing vegan meals.”

Shakespeare vividly describes how a distraught mother cow cries out for her stolen calf for days. Just like a human female, she is pregnant for nine months but typically, her calf is taken away from her within hours of birth. Most female calves are destined for the same fate as their mothers: repeated artificial insemination until their bodies give out and they’re slaughtered for cheap meat.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – notes that plant-based milks are far kinder to animals and contain none of the artery-clogging animal fat and cholesterol of cows’ milk.

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