A pregnant woman and a pregnant cow have a lot in common. They both carry their babies for several months, they both produce milk to give to their babies, and they both instantly develop a maternal instinct to protect their kin as soon as they are born. Sadly, the comparison between these two groups ends there. Human mothers get to bring their babies home after giving birth, shower them with love, and spend the rest of their lives raising and caring for them. Cow mothers, on the other hand, have their babies ripped away from them mere hours or days after giving birth and they rarely see them again and if they do it’s merely in passing. Not to mention, all of the milk they created for their children’s nourishment is promptly stolen and repackaged for human consumption. This is sadly the reality for thousands upon thousands of cows around the world today.
Once the calves are separated from the mothers, one of two things happen: if the calf is a female, she is moved and set up to follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a dairy cow, if the calf is a male, he is moved and set up to live out a short life of misery as a veal calf. Both scenarios are dreadful. However, there is one third possible outcome and that is moving the calf to a sanctuary to live out their days in peace. Not every animal is lucky enough to be granted this opportunity, but those that do are quite literally getting a second chance at life, albeit it a motherless one.
Meet Gary. A male calf who was deemed completely worthless to his mother’s owner and was promptly discarded.
Thankfully, Farm Sanctuary was there to take this little guy in.
Gary was rescued from the cruel dairy industry mere hours after being discarded. This is time he typically would have spent with his mother.
All of the Farm Sanctuary staffers made sure to make Gary feel as comfortable as possible. Staffers did share, however, that Gary frequently tugged and tried to suckle on their pants, something that undoubtedly reveals how much he misses his mother.
Nothing will replace the love Gary’s mother could have given him, but the little one has definitely been opening up and making friends with the other residents around the sanctuary.
This is Gary with his very first friend, Carlton. Like Farm Sanctuary staffers shared, Carlton is hardly a replacement for Mom but he sure is a good big brother figure.
They make quite the pair!
These three boys, victims of the dairy industry, are all motherless, but at least they are safe and alive in a sanctuary. Goodness knows the other outcome would have been much, much worse.
Gary is making new friends every day. He is cared for and fed by humans, but his social interaction must be with cows. Thankfully, Farm Sanctuary has plenty of those!
Seeing how sweet and curious Gary is, it’s unbelievable that anyone would harm this darling, innocent creature. We are so glad he is away from all of the abuse and will at least get to live his life out in peace.
Gary is just one of the millions of calves that are born into the dairy industry, and sadly, most of them do not have the happy ending that Gary has had. Sometimes it is easier to leave the dots unconnected and not delve too deep into the realities of modern animal agriculture, the cruelty present in it, and how interconnected some of the sectors are. It may be tempting to believe that the dairy industry is different or better than the meat industry simply because they do not kill the animals. However, as Gary’s story proves, there is still a tremendous amount of cruelty involved. At some point or another, it is important for all of us to truly analyze our current food system and ask ourselves: is this really the type of system I want to be supporting?
All image source: Animals of Farm Sanctuary