Cows in the dairy industry suffer no less than those who are bred for meat. The idyllic picture of dairy cows frolicking in big, green, open meadows, among their calves, and waiting for friendly farmers to milk them are all false. That’s what the dairy industry wants us to believe. But, as consumers and compassionate human beings, it’s our job to seek out the truth and know what’s really going on.

Life for a dairy calf is all but happy. From the moment they are born, they know of only fear. Within hours after birth, male calves are taken from their mothers and are confined in small crates, known as “veal crates,” where they will never know the love of another.

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Then, they are fed watered down milk substitutes for a few weeks before they are sent to slaughter — to be made into “veal.”

Fortunately, this was not the fate of Woody, a two-week-old dairy calf who was saved by two very compassionate friends of Signal Hill Sanctuary, one of which Woody was named after.

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Woody was among several male calves being sold for $20 on a classified advertisements website. The accompanying ad photos showed frightened one-day to two-week-old calves tied to posts with ropes around their necks.

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“If they weren’t sold, they were to be shot,” Kris Ingram, manager of Signal Hill Sanctuary, in Yass River, Australia, tells OGP. “There was no shelter, they were denied any comfort or contact, fed from a bucket that they didn’t know how to drink from and all at a time when all they wanted were their mothers.”

Unfortunately, when the friends of the sanctuary came to the dairy farm, all but one dairy calf stood there. The others were all sold. And thus, Signal Hill Sanctuary took Woody in under their care on June 22, 2013.

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“When Woody arrived, he was dying,” Ingram tells us. “He was very sick when he was collected and the bacteria which already had a hold of him by that stage really started to attack while he was on his way to his new life. He had pale grey diarrhea, a terrible fever and could no longer stand.”

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With almost constant supervision and medical attention, Woody slowly recovered…

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…and he began to explore the sanctuary’s grounds once he was a bit stronger.

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During his recovery, Woody was fortunate to find a friend in Jitterbug, a goat kid born around the same time Woody was.

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As Woody grew healthier, his silliness started to shine through…

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…along with his friendly and loving personality.

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Today, Woody is 11 months old and is happily flourishing at his new forever home. Hooray!

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“Woody is special to us, but all of the others who aren’t saved have the same capacity for joy, for play, for love and attachment,” Ingram reminds us. “They are individuals – each and every one of them.”

If you would like to learn more about Signal Hill’s work, check out their Facebook page here, and to help animals like Woody, please consider making a donation to the sanctuary by sending them a message for donation information.

Lead image source: Signal Hill Sanctuary

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