Cows are gentle giants and are as diverse in personality as cats, dogs, and humans! They display a full range of traits including boldness, shyness, sociability, and being temperamental. They are gregarious, preferring to spend their time with other cows, and they form complex relationships, much like dogs in packs. Animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly!
A cruel reality… In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year. Cows are clever and have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to escape from slaughterhouses. They mourn the deaths of and even separation from those they love, sometimes shedding tears over their loss. The mother/calf bond is particularly strong, and there are countless reports of mother cows who continue to call and search frantically for their babies after the calves have been taken away and sold to veal or beef farms.
In late summer of 2020, Safe Haven was contacted by a compassionate individual about two calves born on a dairy farm in need of rescue. Male calves born on dairy farms are torn from their mothers on the first day of life and almost immediately sent to slaughter. Not being able to produce milk, they are called “waste product” and viewed as having no value. Like animals of all species, cows form strong maternal bonds with their calves, and on dairy farms, mother cows can be heard frantically crying out for their calves for several days after they have been separated.
We can’t rescue them all but we had the privilege of helping these two calves – the first cows to call Safe Haven home!
We welcomed Owen (left) and Matteo (right) to our sanctuary in September. They are safe and sound and feeling the love every day from our devoted staff.
In October of 2020, we brought Ethel and her daughter Surprise home to Safe Haven. Tragically, a man who had been caring for these two cows recently passed away after a terminal illness. His wife could not keep up with his care, their cows’ care and the staggering mountain of medical bills from a flawed medical system. She had to make the heartbreaking decision to sell their land and rehome their beloved cows.
Ethel (right) and Surprise (left) are 18 and 11 years old respectively, and are fiercely bonded. Surprise can often be seen licking her mother’s face with affection and adoration.