When compared to the meat industry, we tend to regard dairy as the lesser of two evils. Media and advertisements for milk and cheese are peppered with images of smiling cows hocking cheese, and bizarre advertisements of talking cows with Valley girl accents who serve as exemplary models of the supposed “humane treatment” in the dairy industry. Unfortunately, we have been misled; the meat and dairy industries are undeniably connected. As with humans and other mammals, dairy cows produce milk in order to feed their babies so in order to get dairy cows to produce milk, they are forcibly impregnated. Because their milk is intended for human consumption rather than helping their baby grow into a happy, healthy cow, mother cows often have their babies torn away from them shortly after birth. If the cow is male, he is sentenced to become a veal calf. If the cow is female, she will be like her mother: another victim of the violent cycle of dairy production. Mother dairy cows have been known to grieve for days after being separated from their babies.
The little cow below was born to Betsey Moo, a former dairy cow who was rescued by Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Oregon. According to the Statesman Journal, Betsey Moo arrived at the sanctuary after a concerned animal rescuer, Brandy Schwerdt, saw a listing for the unwanted dairy cow on Craigslist. She reached out to sanctuaries and animal rescues in the area and Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary was the first to respond. Schwerdt raised $350 to transport Betsey, who was pregnant at the time, from the farm to her new sanctuary home in late December. She was due to give birth at the end of February, but life had other plans.
The nameless calf, born to a former dairy cow, will never know the pain of being torn away from his mother as many children of dairy cows are.
Although she is just three-years-old, Betsey Moo was more than halfway through the average lifespan of a dairy cow, which is about five years. At Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, Betsey Moo will be able to live a full life of up to 25 years. Not only that, she will get to be a mother to the first baby that she will ever get to keep. According to Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, little baby Moo will go unnamed until they find a name that best suits his personality. We can only imagine how happy his mother must be to finally be able to keep her baby.
To learn more about Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, visit their official website.
Lead image source: Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary/Facebook