Upstate New York might not be the first place you’d expect to find a Scottish Highland cow, but this fall, our Watkins Glen shelter became home for a stunning senior named Sweet Pea. After spending two decades being used as a breeding cow, Sweet Pea has finally found the peace and safety of sanctuary.

We welcomed 22-year-old Sweet Pea at her guardian’s request. With plans to move across the country, the woman feared what might befall Sweet Pea and her other cow — a 16-year-old named Baby — when they were no longer in her care. Sadly, “beef breeds” like Scottish Highlands typically end up on the slaughter line when they are no longer deemed useful. Though Sweet Pea’s guardian had loved her cows, most farmers would not be interested in caring for two older, special-needs cows they might not profit from.

Cows can live well into their 20s, but those raised for beef are killed at just a fraction of their natural lifespans. As a breeding cow, Sweet Pea would have suffered the painful loss of countless children, family members, and friends over the years at her previous farm. Cattle are herd animals and form deep, lifelong relationships with each other, so these forced separations are extremely traumatic for everyone. Mothers like Sweet Pea face repeated heartache over the course of their lives. Once their own bodies wear down from this relentless cycle, mothers, too, are typically sent to slaughter — usually when they are just 7 to 9 years old.

Countless farm animals raised in so-called “humane” conditions each year nevertheless lose their lives in the same manner, and at the same slaughterhouses, as those raised on factory farms. These animals are no different than Sweet Pea or any individual who lives at Farm Sanctuary: They all have unique lives, personalities, and relationships. They value their lives, and there’s nothing humane about slaughtering someone who wants to live.

Safe at Farm Sanctuary, Sweet Pea now serves as an ambassador for her species. In getting to know this gentle cow, people can learn that she, and farm animals just like her, are each someone, not something.

For the first time in her life, Sweet Pea has a place where she truly belongs — and here, she can enjoy her “retirement” years in style! Whether she’s out playing in the snow or relaxing in her new, warm barn, life is truly just beginning for our sweet friend. She spends her days grooming and relaxing with her new friend Baby — the pair did not live together until coming to Farm Sanctuary, and it’s clear that they’re making up for lost time.

Can you help us make a difference for farm animals like Sweet Pea? This holiday season, you can Gift Sanctuary with a one-time Farm Sanctuary donation in her honor! This makes a perfect gift for yourself or a compassionate loved one, and helps us give the gift of sanctuary to farm animals like her.

Thanks to support from friends like you, Sweet Pea will spend the rest of her life knowing only the care, kindness, and joy that she deserves. Together, we can build a more compassionate world for all!