February 24, 2017

Cute Newborn Calves vs. Vegan Advocates

Say you see a picture or short, 20-second video of a very cute, newborn baby calf posted somewhere on a social media site, be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Now, say this calf is tied up--a piece of twine around its neck--and inside what looks like to be a house or an office, like a farm office, and with no momma cow in sight.

Got the picture? Okay. But I'm not finished yet.

This calf, in particular, is all brown, very fuzzy and hairy. He (or she) looks to be a Scottish Highland or Galloway calf. Again, newborn, brand new, and looks a little wet.

So why is he inside this office? Where is his mother, and why is he tied up with a thick piece of baler twine tied around his neck?

Well...



Probably close to 70,000 or more people who commented on that video thought that calf was being cruelly treated. And you might have too if you didn't read or misinterpreted the description:
A snowy day on the farm didn't stop the birth of this little Scottish highland calf!
So, was little Diego being cruelly treated?

No.

He was actually being saved from being born in a snowstorm, out in the cold and wet. Snowstorms are not friendly to newborn calves, as a matter of fact they can cause a new baby calf to become sick or extremely cold. Newborns are much more sensitive to the cold than their mothers, and when born out in a snow storm, this calf was at risk of severe cold stress, and/or frostbite if he didn't get rushed in to a warm place and have a couple of hair driers and warm towels put on him to get him warm again.

The folks of the calf mentioned that he was only inside for half an hour. Then he was carried out again back to his more-than-likely impatiently-waiting mother. He would've been up and suckling and getting the necessary colostrum for his body.

It's pretty hard to bring a Highland cow into the office when she's pretty big--most of those cows weigh around 1200 pounds, and stand a good 4 to 5 feet at the shoulder--and since she already has that amazingly thick winter coat, she's fine being outside while her calf is inside getting warmed up.

So that's where the cow was.

Finally, why the twine around the calf's neck? Well, calves are naturally very inquisitive. They simply must wander around and lick and taste anything in their reach, and this can certainly land them into trouble: Either they'll swallow something they shouldn't, or get hurt. So, he was tied up to keep him out of trouble, basically, and to prevent him from doing a bit too intensive exploratory research in the barn office.

Newborn calves are brought inside an office or house all the time when they need to be brought in. The reasons they're brought in is because they need that extra TLC--tender love and care. Be it warm blankets, a heat-lamp, some colostrum to suck down, whatever is needed to make that calf warm and comfy for the time needed to allow it to gather its strength to get up and move around.

The sad thing was, almost every person that was saying something negative about that newborn calf was thinking of dairy production, and how dairy calves and cows are treated.

Except, Scottish Highland cattle are not dairy cattle. They are beef cattle. This means that they're raised quite a bit differently from the typical dairy operation these people are used to seeing in animal rights activist videos.

Yet pretty well every single person on that thread predicted a horrible death and very short life for that calf. Here's some examples of what these people had to say:

--> "Are you kidding me?! An animal farm posting a video of a newborn calf separated from the mum, with a rope tied to its neck, who will soon be murdered for its meat as if it was something cute!?"

--> "Poor baby should be with it's mother... but alas the cruel side of using animals for their body parts or secretions. If it's a boy it will be slaughtered within 48 hours 😢 poor baby."

--> "Horrible He's crying for his mom who is probably sending her milk to people... Not to mention this is a factory farm Ugh disgusting. Poor thing with that rope around his neck is doomed to a life of horror.... disgust disgust.... :(""

--> "How cute they stole him from his mother and will slit it's throat for a burger."

--> "Poor thing, he wants to be with his mother but instead he's been ripped away from her so that evil humans can take the milk which was intended for him. You may all say how cute he is but it wouldn't stop the majority of you from eating him. He will end up at the slaughter house, have his neck slit and then end up as someone's Sunday lunch. He has a very sad existence born into a very cruel world. Make the connection between what's on your plate and the sentient beings they are."

--> "He needs his mother, not a red rope tied around his neck while his family is being slaughtered. Think about your actions and stop exploiting this poor baby for likes and shares when you know he's going to be killed for food regardless.."

--> "It's really sad you're showing off this poor baby calf who you've taken away from his/her mother, tied him up, and eventually are going to chop him up into little pieces. It really makes me sick to my stomach. :("
You get the picture. There are thousands of comments like these on that video.

The thing is, none of them are right. The calf is actually still alive, and with his mother. He's living a happy, healthy, vibrant life as he should, and that's really what matters most.

He was not destined for a short life and a horrible death. If he is even going to be killed for beef, he won't be until he's at least 2 years of age. From now to then, from what I've seen on that farm, this bull calf, probably going to be turned-steer (it's hard to tell at this point), will be living a wonderful and full life as any farmer could give such animals.

I think this baby calf is a way to show that we should all focus on the happy moments that are right in front of us, not the dark and scary things that may lie ahead in the future.