In a world where confinement and suffering is the standard for farmed animals, sanctuaries like Animal Place exist as a unique oasis. A sanctuary offers you a glance into an ideal world. It is a vision of what animals’ lives could look like if we offered them compassion, empathy and mercy. The animal residents who call sanctuaries home are not only survivors, but beacons of hope. These lucky few have stories that challenge the way their kind are treated.
Calves Elliot and Edgar were born last spring to Honey and Babe, two pregnant cows we rescued. They are some of the few individuals lucky enough to be born into sanctuary life.
Two infants in the grass and sun, as carefree as can be.
For the majority of farmed animals, the miracle of birth is stained by a looming, pre-planned date of death. From the moment these animals enter the world, the clock is already ticking. But Elliot and Edgar have no limitations on the lives ahead of them. Their lives will unfold on their terms. Every caregiving decision made by the people who love them is made in their best interest, not in what is profitable or beneficial to us humans.
The world is not a kind place for many calves.
Bull calves born into the dairy industry are often dumped at auctions, sold to veal farms or killed shortly after birth. Calves bred for their flesh are subject to a number of painful mutilations. Dehorning, castration and branding all occur without pain relief, at a very young age. Those used in rodeo events are roped at breakneck speeds before loud and frightening audiences.
The stark reality of dairy calves: a “childhood” of intensive confinement.
All of these cruel outcomes for the life of a young calf are dictated by the “purpose” a calf was born to serve humans. Animals have no say or choice in these predetermined “jobs”. Far too often, this is the fate of animals. They are born into an existence without autonomy or choice over what happens to them.
Elliot and Edgar, on the other hand, will always have choices. They choose whether they want to interact with animal care staff, or would rather simply be left alone. When the time eventually comes for the family to integrate with other cows, they will choose their friends. The only purpose these calves will ever have to fulfill is being Honey and Babe’s sons. We ask nothing more, and nothing less.
Unlike the many animals who pass through Animal Place, Edgar and Elliot’s lives are clean slates. They carry no uncertainty or fear from their pasts. When they discover the world, they are discovering it for the very first time. Rather than overcoming past trauma as so many rescued animals must do, these two are simply able to learn to be cows from the very beginning.
They will never know cruelty, neglect or abuse. The greatest inconvenience they will likely ever face is breakfast coming ten minutes late.
The bucolic lives of animals at sanctuaries are a far cry from the reality of how farmed animals are treated around the globe. But it’s up to us to create a reality where all animals are treated with the respect and consideration they deserve. Until the lives of all farmed animals begin and end with the same gentleness and love that Edgar and Elliot’s will, we will continue the fight
Edgar and Elliot are growing everyday- here they are with their new winter coats!
Written by Chelsea Pinkham