Tobias and Buster were born on a small goat dairy. Like other mammals, goats lactate only if they have been impregnated, and on goat dairies, as on cow dairies, females are subjected to a continuous and exhausting cycle of insemination, pregnancy and milking that ends only when declining production consigns them to the slaughterhouse. Mothers and newborns are separated almost immediately, and the milk that mothers’ bodies produce as nourishment for their kids becomes instead a liquid asset of the business that has bred them. Tobias and Buster were born so that humans could sell and drink their mother’s milk.
Like male dairy calves, once born, male dairy goats have no value to producers, so Tobias and Buster were to be taken to a packing plant. But these two youngsters met with an exceptional bit of good fortune: A family member of the farm owner could not bear to see the little goats sent to their deaths, and this person reached out to Farm Sanctuary. Gladly we agreed to welcome Tobias and Buster to our New York Shelter.
The two are already right at home here. They frolic and play the day away, pausing to cheerfully greet their delighted visitors. Their joy in life underscores the absurdity that anyone could consider them worthless, that anyone could revoke that life. Yet life is revoked from countless young, male dairy goats every day. And from their mothers is revoked the joy of nurturing and protecting them. Having cared for many female goats who were rescued with their offspring – and some who were rescued during their pregnancies and gave birth in our own barns – we know well the intense love shared between a mother goat and her babies. It can be witnessed in the very first moments of a newborn kid’s life in this world, when his mother, though tired from her labor, immediately begins to wash him so that he will be dry and warm. It saddens us to think that the mother of Tobias and Buster will never get to know her wonderful sons. But we have hope that, as ambassadors for the victims of dairy production everywhere, the dynamic duo will change minds and hearts and habits, helping to relegate such loss to the past.