After defying all odds of ending up at the slaughterhouse, Samuel was given a second chance at life, and he is certainly making the most of this opportunity at his new home, Gaia Sanctuary.
Capturing the hearts of people from all over the world, Samuel and his incredible story allows us to see how intelligent and emotionally complex farm animals really are. Rescues like Samuel’s, while they remind us of the cruel and barbaric practices taking place each and every day, simultaneously give us hope of the beautiful world we can create when we start to see animals as our friends and not as our food.
It’s obvious when you look at Samuel’s lust for life that he doesn’t want to die. He wants to live just like the rest of us. He wants to feel love and experience friendship. He wants to be free to eat, play, and sleep as he pleases, and thankfully, now he can.
Unvaluable to the Industry
Samuel was born into an industry which does not value the life of each individual animal. The almost inevitable fate of a calf like him is to spend their few short months on this planet confined in tiny veal crates, near to starvation, unable to walk, and crying out for their mothers.
Samuel was born a twin, and twins born into the industrialized farming industry are seen as surplus as they are often smaller and weaker than their sibling, and farmers do not want to spend money raising them. This would usually result in slaughter in the first few weeks of life, but in a strange twist of fate, this same fact ended up being the very thing that saved him.
As the farmer did not consider Samuel’s life to have any value, he agreed to let him be rescued by Gaia Sanctuary, an animal rescue located nearby.
An Emotional Rescue
Like all calves born into the dairy industry, Samuel was torn away from his mother just hours after birth and confined to a tiny crate, only just big enough to stand up and turn around in. Scared and unaware of what was happening, he and all of the other calves in the farm cried endlessly to be reunited with their mothers. When the rescuers arrived to take Samuel away to his new life, he saw them and immediately tried to escape through the cage.
Sadly, his twin brother was to suffer a different fate as the farmer would not agree to release them both. With a heavy heart, they put Samuel into the van and headed back to the sanctuary leaving his brother and all the other crying calves behind with the heartbreaking knowledge of what their future held.
Having been awaiting an early trip to the slaughter house, Samuel was extremely underweight and in a seriously poor condition. The milk he was supposed to have from his mother to nourish him and build strength in the first few hours and days after birth was instead being collected for human consumption. Thankfully, with a lot of love, care, and bottle feeding, Samuel began to recover and gain strength. He was ready to begin enjoying life outside of a veal crate.
A Life of Freedom
Since his rescue, Samuel has gained a huge following of people who have completely fallen in love with his gentle, inquisitive, and fun nature. To see a cow come from such a desperate situation, enjoying the sunshine, wagging his tail as he eats the fresh grass, and springing around with excitement when he feels happy is a reminder of what life should be like for all animals. Thanks to the photographs and videos from the sanctuary, we have been able to catch an intimate glimpse into Samuel’s life as he grows up.
It has been an emotional roller coaster for all involved to say the least, especially after complications with a hernia operation left him bedridden, unable to go outside in fear of infection to the wound. Having been cooped up indoors, watching Samuel return to the field which he so loved was a truly touching moment.
Captured on video, Samuel was so excited to be outside again in the sunshine, with the grass under his feet, and his new friends in sight once more, he began to leap around with excitement, running around the pen like a child in a playground.
A Future Full of Light
Samuel has befriended many different animals at the sanctuary including goats, dogs, sheep, chickens, and of course, humans. He has inspired change in the way people view cows, with many of his new found fans pledging to give up meat and dairy after falling in love with his special story, a story which has now been made into a beautiful children’s book.
Being able to watch Samuel grow from a scared, lonely, and debilitated veal calf, into a gentle, loving, and friendly creature, able to explore the world without fear of abuse or torment, reminds us all of how different the future of this planet could be if we continue to reject the widespread exploitation of animals.
All images courtesy of: Gaia Sanctuary