Tinsel and Holly: It’s a Wonderful Life for Two Calves

2012 Update: Tinsel and Holly

By early spring, Tinsel and Holly had not only recovered from their ailments but they had also grown strong enough to travel from our New York Shelter to Melrose, Florida, where their adoptive home awaited. The two friends will spend the rest of their lives together at Rooterville, a sanctuary that provides rehabilitation and refuge to animals of all species. We recently got an update from the calves’ new caregivers (who adore them), and we couldn’t wait to share the good news.

Tinsel and Holly are as healthy and happy as can be in their new home. The two currently share a paddock with a mini horse named Eddie, a pony named Ernie, and a goat named Jethro (who likes to follow Holly around and take his meals with her). The calves will soon move to a large, grassy pasture.

Although they were shy and a little nervous when they first arrived, the two now love to play and soak up attention. Cheek scratches, especially, will have them rolling their eyes in ecstasy. After a hearty breakfast, they lounge and chew their cud. Tinsel likes to lie in the sun, ready to welcome visitors and bury his head in their arms. Late afternoon will find the calves grazing on grass and munching on their coastal hay.

Amidst this busy schedule of eating, playing, and napping, Tinsel and Holly have also found time to change someone’s life.

“It was around the time Tinsel and Holly came our way that I moved from being vegetarian to becoming vegan,” says Rooterville volunteer Rebecca Bauman. “What goes on in industrial dairy farming has always been abstract to me — horrifying, but two-dimensional. Getting to know these calves helped me to realize that my obligations to the animals I care about move beyond just avoiding their flesh. Finally, the issue of their treatment — not just their deaths — hit home, and I’ve slowly gotten off the milk and eggs … something I never before thought I could do.”

After an anguished start, life is now beautiful for Tinsel and Holly. And, through the affection and joy they bring, they are helping people make choices that align with their personal values. Says Bauman, “Just as we like to believe we’ve helped Tinsel and Holly, they’ve helped us, in turn.”

Tinsel and Holly’s rescue story:

Tinsel and Holly never had a chance. They were born to cows used in the dairy industry, which meant that within a few days, perhaps even just hours, the newborns were ripped from the loving care of their mothers. Frightened and shivering in the bitterly cold December air, the babies were taken to a livestock auction. Without the vital colostrum from their mothers’ milk, the babies quickly became weaker and weaker. Wanting to sell them fast, the workers at the auction prodded them to keep them on their feet. If they were standing, they would fetch a few dollars.

Tinsel and Holly  Farm Animal RescueBut because they couldn’t receive even a little nourishment from their mothers, Tinsel and Holly couldn’t muster the strength to stand and so they were left to suffer on the floor until the end of the auction day. Witnessing the disregard for the helpless babies, Farm Sanctuary’s Emergency Rescue Team waited with them, and as soon as they could, the team scooped up the fragile calves and brought them to safety. Care for the calves began immediately once they arrived at our New York Shelter. Holly was seriously dehydrated and hypoglycemic. She required fluid therapy and antibiotics. In even worse shape, Tinsel was unable to stand when he arrived and needed antibiotics treatment and fluids too. Once stabilized, both were taken to Cornell University Hospital for Animals to receive plasma to give them the vital antibodies they needed to fight their infections.

Now these two are growing stronger, healing and transforming. That dark and terrifying day at the livestock auction is, we hope, fading into their past. They can now discover the joy of fresh snow on sanctuary pastures in the morning and the peace that comes from knowing that when they see a human coming toward them and reaching out a hand, they will only be offering warmth and compassion.

Tinsel and Holly were rescued just as 2011 ended; a year when we saved more than a dozen calves born into the dairy industry. All of these calves are a reminder to us of the pain and suffering that happens every day on dairy farms, of the mothers who always have their babies taken away and live short lives in constant milk production, as well as their children who are cast off to grim fates in places like the livestock auction. We are grateful to provide a wonderful life for Tinsel, Holly and many other calves, and we are working toward a day when many more people understand the extent of the cruelty that brings cow’s milk and cheese to our grocery stores.

Tinsel and Holly Farm Animal RescueTinsel and Holly  Farm Animal Rescue