Somewhere in California, a mother cow is mourning the loss of her newborn baby as a machine attached to her udders drains the milk that was to nourish him. And somewhere that baby is being auctioned for veal or some other sad end.
William and Harry safe and healthy at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres.
Like humans and other mammals, cows must bear young in order to produce milk. To keep cows in production, dairy producers must regularly impregnate them, resulting in the births of millions of calves every year. Many of the female calves are raised to replace their mothers at the milking machine, but to the dairy industry, the male calves are a useless ‘byproduct.’ They are taken from their mothers during their first days of life and sold at auction to be slaughtered at once for bob veal, to be kept tethered and anemic for weeks until they are slaughtered for white veal, or to be raised for cheap beef.
William and Harry were headed to such a fate when their fortunes drastically changed. Crowded inside a truck with nearly 100 other calves, they were on their way to a factory farm.
Through a series of events, the lucky calves found their way to wildlife rehabilitators at Valley Wildlife Care in West Hills, CA. As these kind rescuers sought to provide emergency care for the calves, their veterinarians told them that the boys might not survive through the night. Sickly and weak like many industry calves, the two were emaciated, hypothermic, and suffering from diarrhea so severe that they were seriously dehydrated. Their bones bulged beneath their flesh. Harry was so terrified of humans that he began shivering whenever anyone came near.
Fearing for the worst but determined to fight, the rehabbers set to work caring for William and Harry. IVs supplied fluids, vitamins and antibiotics, while medication helped relieve their stress and shock throughout that first harrowing night. When the morning came, both calves were alive to greet it. William and Harry continued to receive treatment and slowly regained some strength. Before too long, the wildlife rehabbers who had saved them realized that they could not continue to provide proper care or shelter for the calves, so they contacted us.
Now at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres, these two young calves are growing by leaps and bounds. With the help of our shelter staff, they are also learning to trust and experiencing something almost no dairy calf ever does: peace. William and Harry found their way to one of the few places that can provide the specialized care and environment that farm animals need.
Like the other calves and cattle that come to live at sanctuary, they will be able to live long, healthy and happy lives, spending twenty years or more roaming the pastures and passing the days with their friends.