10 Cows Who Were Drowning in Their Own Waste Find Sanctuary
Joint Rescue by Farm Sanctuary, Large Animal Protection Society (LAPS), and Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue Proves that One Man’s Trash Is in Fact a Beautiful Treasure
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 7, 2017) – In a joint rescue effort, Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization, the Large Animal Protection Society (LAPS), an all-volunteer organization in Pennsylvania with investigative authority, and Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue, a farm animal sanctuary, rescue and advocacy organization in Wantage, New Jersey, have come to the aid of 10 “show” cattle who were literally drowning in their own waste inside a barn at a “hobby farm” in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Five calves had already died— their corpses buried so deep that it was hard to find them beneath the layer of feces and decay— but the remaining 10 cattle were removed from the barn and will be given a second chance at life at sanctuary.
The farm owner and his family had taken the cows to fairs, where they were paraded in front of judges, and received prizes. LAPS learned of the cattle through the police, along with another Pennsylvania group, Helping Hands for Animals. They had responded to a complaint from a good Samaritan about a dead horse seen in a pasture. Thankfully, the horse turned out to be sleeping — but the complaint launched an investigation into the cruel and neglectful practices taking place in the idyllic Pennsylvania countryside.
When investigators arrived at the scene, what they found was not valued, prize-winning cattle, but instead 15 bovines closed inside a barn with mud and feces so deep that five calves, each just a few weeks old, appeared to have literally drowned in the muck. Only three of 8 calves—so covered in feces they looked like they had been dipped in it—survived. One surviving bull calf — a little Holstein whom the farmer had purchased from auction just a few weeks before — was found snuggling up to a deceased calf for comfort. Likely a dairy baby, he had already been separated from his mother and shipped to auction, only to be forced into another cruel environment.
The other survivors included a year-old bull, and two other 8 week old female calves are residing at their home at Skyland’s in New Jersey. The remaining survivors, four 1-year-old females, and two adult female cows, at least one of whom is pregnant, are living at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Although the farmer claimed that he wasn’t sure how the cattle had been closed inside the barn, and that they couldn’t have been in there for more than three days, it was evident that they had been confined much, much longer than that.
Fortunately, the farmer agreed to surrender the 10 cattle, though, shockingly, he was permitted to keep many more animals, who were found outside of the barn. Charges have been filed against him, including failure to provide veterinary care and failure to provide sanitary conditions to his animals.
Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue will keep two twin female calves and the year-old bull, who recently arrived in New Jersey after a week’s stay at Cornell University’s Nemo Farm Animal Hospital. The Holstein calf, who required medical care at Cornell as well, will recover at Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter in Watkins Glen Other survivors included four yearling females who are recovering at Farm Sanctuary until traveling to new homes arranged through Farm Sanctuary’s Farm Animal Adoption Network. The two adult females and the Holstein calf will remain at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen Shelter.
Says Farm Sanctuary’s National Shelter Director Susie Coston, “Anytime an animal is seen only for financial gain their value is determined by that. Now these amazing cows will live a life where they are seen as someone, not something and get the individual love, respect and care they each deserve.
Meet the animals and discover their unique personalities on the Animals of Farm Sanctuary blog.
Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary works to change how our society views and treats farm animals through rescue, education and advocacy. The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at three sanctuary locations in New York and California; promotes compassionate vegan living; and advocates legal and policy reforms. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit farmsanctuary.org.
Established in 1988, the Large Animal Protection Society (LAPS) is a nonprofit, state chartered, humane agency that has state authority to investigate cruelty complaints and prosecute offenders in order to enforce Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws in Chester, Delaware and Lancaster Counties. Our board of directors and Humane Police Officers are all hands on volunteers and we have no paid staff. All donations go to the care of our animals. Our goals as stated in our charter are specific: “to protect large animals from abuse, neglect or cruelty through education, abuse investigation and arranging lifetime adoptions.” To learn more about the Large Animal Protection Society, visit our website,
Founded in 2014, Skyland’s Animal Sanctuary & Rescue is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and advocating on behalf of and providing lifelong homes for farm animals and promotes a vegan way of living. To learn more about Skyland’s, visit skylandssanctuary.org.
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