Cows are large, timid and peaceful creatures. They're not indigenous to Australia and aren't well suited to our climate. They drink at least 70 litres of water a day. Did you know the cattle industry is one of the largest consumers of water in Australia?
The sanctuary herd are from the meat and dairy industries. Ferdinand wandered into a council shelter when he was a calf. The council staff grew to live the little (now huge!) Ferdi and refused to allow a mobile butcher to access his paddock.
Precious and Sweety found shelter with Farm Animal Rescue after being unable to squeeze onto a livestock truck. After arriving, we found that they were both pregnant and we were delighted to welcome baby Sam and Sally to the herd.
Mary was a 20 year old rescued cow who had never met other cows before coming to sanctuary. Because of this, she struggled to fit in with the herd and find her place, and would therefore spend a lot of time away from the herd preferring to stay at the farmhouse. However, after babies Sam and Sally were born, Mary immediately joined the herd and became their grandmother. The calves slept on either side of her almost every night.
Murray, a 4 year old bull when rescued, was being sent to market as he continued to escape his previous home. Once rescued, he continued to wander away from sanctuary until the babies were born. From then on he found his place, and was frequently seen babysitting calves Sam and Sally whilst the mums went to graze elsewhere. From then on he no longer strayed and diligently overseas his extended family.
Cows work incredibly hard as a society to protect their calves and their herd. Sadly, in the meat and dairy industry calves are often taken from mother cows and slaughtered for beef or steak products. This leaves the entire herd to grieve.
In the dairy industry, male calves are known as "bobby calves' and considered wastage as they cannot produce milk. They are most often removed and slaughtered at only one or two days old, so that they do not consume the milk that will be sold for human consumption. This is extremely cruel for both new mother cow, and her calf.
When young calves are removed at 6 to 18 months of age in the beef industry, they may be slaughtered in Australia, or exported live overseas. Cattle exported overseas can spend weeks on overcrowded ships, often resulting in fatalities from stress, injury or disease. Others can spend up to three days on a truck with no shelter or protection from the wind or sun.
And for those cows who are killed here, although Australia claims to have high industry practices, sometimes the bolt gun used to stun cows prior to slaughter does not work as it should. There have been investigations where animals have their feet removed as part of the slaughter process, while writhing in agony, the captive bolt gun and slaughter process ineffective in stunning the still fully conscious animal.
We feel strongly that every cow should be given the opportunity to demonstrate just how sweet and intelligent they are. Sanctuary cows demonstrate every day how much they care about others in the herd, how deeply they feel responsible for the calves and how they work together to protect each other. We feel that of everyone could see how much cows care of one another, the world would be a much more compassionate place.