Mother’s Day: Sadie’s Story

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Mother’s Day: Sadie’s Story

This is part one in a series of stories about mother cows.  Have you gotten your cow ribbon yet?


photo of Sadie, a mother cow


Sadie is from a typical dairy farm. She was impregnated four times and all of her babies were taken from her immediately after birth. Her male calves were sold as veal and her female calves were used to replace adult dairy cows sent to slaughter.

She lived with 6,000 other cows on a dry lot. She never ate grass or roamed free.

When she was 4 or 5, Sadie developed mastitis, a painful, swollen bacterial infection of the udder which reduces the quality of milk by increasing its somatic cell count.  (That’s pus, by the way.  Yum!)  Mastitis is not unusual on dairy farms; in Quebec, one of the biggest milk producers in Canada, it is the second most common reason for culling.  Like so many other dairy cows before her, Sadie was slated to be sent to slaughter at only a quarter of her lifespan.

Before that happened, however, a veterinary teaching hospital purchased her and used her body as a teaching tool.  They did not treat her mastitis, though, and after 20 weeks she was en route to the slaughterhouse once more.

A vet student stepped in and saved her life.  Sadie has lived at Animal Place since June of 2005.

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