To animal lovers, there is no difference between a dog, cat, goat, chicken, or cow; all of these innocent creatures are deserving of love and compassion. Unfortunately, it’s more common for people in our society to regard dogs and cats as furry life companions while deeming cows, chickens, and other farm animals as nothing more than a meal. From a young age, we are taught to pet the puppy but eat our chicken. But what if we really got to know these animals? Could we still mercilessly send them to factory farms? Could we still steal babies from cows to exploit them for their milk, eventually condemning them to a gruesome slaughterhouse for a painful death? Could we still view this suffering as acceptable, all for a glass of milk?
Betsy, a cow living at Farm Sanctuary’s Northern California location, was spared this torment by the TV show producers who owned her. After getting to know and bonding with her, they did not have the heart to sell her to the dairy industry as planned. Shortly after her happy retirement, Betsy gave birth to a beautiful little calf named Nutmeg! Nutmeg is the first baby calf born at Farm Sanctuary’s Northern California Shelter, and came into the world early, healthy, and strong.
Before being put to work for the film industry, Betsy was originally a dairy cow who previously had her babies taken away from her. After giving birth to Nutmeg, it was clear that she still remembered this trauma. Every time staff members approached to tend to her baby, she anxiously shuffled him behind her and showed clear signs of stress. Over time, Betsy learned to trust the staff at Farm Sanctuary and understand that her baby would not be taken away from her. Now, mother and calf are living a carefree life together. Nutmeg has gone from being a smiley little calf who loves nuzzling under his mother and frolicking in his pasture, to a growing young steer with a fun-loving spirit.
Though Betsy was lucky enough to have a happy ending, most animals on farms don’t. Many people see farm animals as simple minded creatures with little understanding of their surroundings, even though they are quite the opposite. Farm animals are just as, if not more, emotionally complex as our pets. Betsy’s anxieties after giving birth to Nutmeg clearly demonstrate the mental and emotional depth of farm animals. Farm animals are more like us than we realize, yet we continue to subject them to the horrors of factory farming.
Luckily, many organizations like Farm Sanctuary are trying hard to change this, through rescuing and rehabilitating creatures of all kinds and working to change public perceptions of “food.” You can help too, by donating to sanctuaries and educating others! Your voice makes a difference!
Lead Image Source: Connie Pugh/Farm Sanctuary