Cow Proves Animals Love, Think, And Act
I would like to tell you a story that is as true as it is heartbreaking. When I first graduated from Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine, I went into a busy dairy practice in Cortland County. I became a very popular practitioner due to my gentle handling of the dairy cows. One of my clients called me one day with a puzzling mystery: his Brown Swiss cow, having delivered her fifth calf naturally on pasture the night before, brought the new baby to the barn and was put into the milking line, while her calf was once again removed from her. Her udder, though, was completely empty, and remained so for several days.
As a new mother, she would normally be producing close to one hundred pounds (12.5 gallons) of milk daily; yet, despite the fact that she was glowing with health, her udder remained empty. She went out to pasture every morning after the first milking, returned for milking in the evening, and again was let out to pasture for the night — this was back in the days when cattle were permitted a modicum of pleasure and natural behaviors in their lives — but never was her udder swollen with the large quantities of milk that are the hallmark of a recently-calved cow.
Think for a moment of the complex reasoning this mama exhibited: first, she had memory — memory of her four previous losses, in which bringing her new calf to the barn resulted in her never seeing him/her again (heartbreaking for any mammalian mother). Second, she could formulate and then execute a plan: if bringing a calf to the farmer meant that she would inevitably lose him/her, then she would keep her calf hidden, as deer do, by keeping her baby in the woods lying still till she returned. Third — and I do not know what to make of this myself — instead of hiding both, which would have aroused the farmer’s suspicion (pregnant cow leaves the barn in the evening, unpregnant cow comes back the next morning without offspring), she gave him one and kept one herself. I cannot tell you how she knew to do this—it would seem more likely that a desperate mother would hide both.
All I know is this: there is a lot more going on behind those beautiful eyes than we humans have ever given them credit for, and as a mother who was able to nurse all four of my babies and did not have to suffer the agonies of losing my beloved offspring, I feel her pain.
Holly Cheever, DVM
Vice President, New York State Humane Association Member
Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association’s Leadership Council
The brave cow who managed to escape from the perils of a Paterson, New Jersey slaughterhouse has found sanctuary and received a heartwarming bovine fairytale thanks to an upstate New York man.
Animal rights advocate Mike Stura rescued the 750-pound cow and guided it to a Woodstock, New York animal sanctuary where as Stura put, “He’ll never end up on someone’s plate, that’s for sure.”
A veterinarian treated the dehydrated cow and found it had been struck by a vehicle, causing the animal to lose some blood and incur an infection.
The sanctuary specifically works to find homes for farm animals including cows, pigs, sheep, and more.
On Tuesday, Paterson’s chief animal control officer confirmed the cow’s safety and reassured the owner of the slaughterhouse would not claim her again.
This brave cow escaped from a slaughterhouse in New Jersey and ended up in a sanctuary in New York.
Photo Credit: Eccorazzi