Walk for Farm Animals: Michael the calf
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Since Liberation BC’s 7th annual Walk for Farm Animals to benefit Farm Sanctuary is coming up on October 5th–this weekend!–we’re introducing you to just a few of the some of the approximately 900 animals who live at Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters. Are you ready for the Walk? There’s still time to register and start fundraising!
This is part of a series of farm animal stories on our blog.
Michael was born on a small dairy farm. We might like to imagine that small farms are somehow drastically different than large, industrial factory farms–and in some ways, they are–but not necessarily as much as we’d hope. For example, even on the smallest, friendliest dairy farms, calves are a byproduct of an industry that requires constant pregnancy–and therefore, constant babies. Most dairy calves have a miserable fate. Females are sometimes kept to replace their mothers; despite the fact that cows can live 20 to 25 years, the turnover rate for the average dairy farm is shockingly high: in British Columbia, for example, cows are sent to slaughter at the age of 5. (Learn more.) Male calves, meanwhile, are most often killed outright or sold at auction for veal.
Two weeks before, the farmer sent a group of calves to auction, yet she held one back. She liked something about this little calf and wasn’t ready to let him go. Eventually, however, she decided that she must. It is uncommon for a dairy farmer to keep a male calf, feeding and caring for him as he grows while gleaning no marketable product. When animals are seen as commodities, it becomes impractical to put their welfare first, and personal connection inevitably yields to the bottom line. (link)
The farmer eventually decided that Michael would have to go to auction like the others. A trucker friend of hers, however, heard about the little calf’s predicament and began sending out messages, looking for somebody who might take him in. Animal rescuer Mike Stura learned about him just in time, and he and his wife leapt into their truck and headed for the farm, still trying to get in touch with the farmer.
They were finally able to get the farmer’s contact details from the truck driver — and not a minute too soon. Stura pulled into the farmer’s driveway just as the auction truck arrived. He lifted the calf into his own truck and headed for our New York Shelter, arriving at night in the middle of a snowstorm. In honor of this valiant friend to animals, we named the new arrival Michael.
Liberation BC is proud to support Farm Sanctuary by participating in the annual Walk for Farm Animals. Won’t you join us?