After 8 months of working with Justin to keep him healthy and happy, on Thursday night he decided enough was enough and left us.
Justin was born on an organic free range dairy farm that holds multiple awards for animal welfare. When he arrived at the sanctuary with his two brothers, Joshua and Jacob, he and they were covered in lice, ticks and fleas.
After his brother Jacob died from the stress of being removed from his mother at the standard dairy farm age of 6 days, Justin soon began to display symptoms of Joint Ill. This is a condition that derives from the umbilical cord not being properly sanitised by the dairy farm at birth which causes bacteria in a goats joints to seize up causing paralysis and severe arthritis. We treated Justin with 14 days of antibiotic injections into the muscle and he made a full recovery.
About 4 months ago, Justin began to display arthritic symptoms again. He was also losing weight and his coat lost its sheen. We diagnosed CAE, although we are still awaiting lab results to confirm this. CAE is a chronic wasting disease similar to human HIV. It is endemic in goat dairies throughout the US, Europe and Australia. There is no cure and no treatment. The condition has become endemic because of the practice of group feeding kids in goat dairies, a practice that still continues in many dairies.
We have been working with Justin to keep his immune system strong and to keep him comfortable. Visitors have often seen us massaging his joints to keep the pain at bay.
On Thursday we found Justin down in one of the paddocks (meaning he could not stand). We carried him back to the barn and had a vet attend. He was given anti-inflammatory injections to manage his pain. Justin died during the night on Thursday from his CAE condition.
We all spent so much time with Justin, it is so very difficult to say goodbye. It is important however, when we remember him, to remember that both he and his brother only died because standard goat dairy practices are unnatural and cruel. Goats struggle to survive without their mothers care, no matter how many animal welfare awards a farm has.
While most males born into goat dairies are slaughtered at 6 days old or sent for live export, even those who are rescued can suffer throughout their lives from their early traumatic experiences. Please think about Justin and his cruel short life whenever you are considering the use of a dairy product and remember how different his life would be if we just chose soy or nut milk, or soy or nut cheese instead.
Thank you for your generous support of the sanctuary. Your kindness has allowed us to keep Justin healthy until now. Your support is so important to the animals, and so important to our mission to tell their stories.
In remembrance of all the dairy babies who lose their lives every day.