19th June 2006
Hello, my name is Micaly and I am a Poll Hereford heifer (Poll means I don‛t have horns, Hereford means the breed of cow I am and heifer means I am a young girl) and although I look may look smaller than my buddies I am actually older than them. I was born prematurely and one of a twin, my twin was a boy calf. When cows have twins and they are of the opposite sex the female is generally infertile, it‛s call “freemartinism”. Now I bet that is something you didn‛t know. Being premature has made me small for my size, they say I will always be small, like a dwarf cow really, and I cannot run as fast as the other cows. But who cares I still get there in the end, I prefer to call it smelling the roses on the way.
I came to live at Edgar‛s Mission after the caring farmer‛s wife did not want me to end up as most Herefords do and that is on someone‛s dinner plate. Boy I am lucky for that.
Did you know that there are two classes of us cattle based on what humans intend to do with us. Cows like me are beef cattle, we are more robust the other type of cattle is dairy cattle they are a bit more lean and lanky and they are used for mike production. Us Herefords are really placid and friendly, we like to watch things; the birds flying, the sheep grazing, even the grass growing. We don‛t ask for much in life, just for people to be kind.
I hope you can come and visit me and my friends real soon.
Love Micaly, mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Your first kiss, your first car and your first camping trip– all treasured memories that opened up an entire world of possibilities. For better or for worse, they shaped your world and helped chauffeur you toward who you are today. For me, so too did my first cow. Visitors to Edgar’s Mission came to know her as Micaly, a gentle slow moving brown-eyed Hereford beauty. She entered my life on the 19th of June 2006 as a tiny wee twin calf, rejected by her mother. Right from the start she touched hearts. The first to be hooked by those big doey eyes was the farmer’s wife, who didn’t wish Micaly to go the way of other ‘non-productive animals’. You see for cattle, unlike humans, twins share one placenta and when one of the twins is male, this presents a problem. The faster developing male foetus sees the presence of male hormones passing to the female, causing her reproductive organs to be affected. This results in approximately 90% of these females being infertile in a condition known as ‘freemartinism’.
Sadly for the Micalys of our world, cattle culture dictates that ‘heifers born twin to a bull have to be considered sterile and should be identified as early as possible to cull them from replacement stock’. But the farmer’s wife would have none of this so instead of taking Micaly to the abattoir she took her aside and began bottle rearing the hapless heifer. And when a place of sanctuary and lifelong love was required for the maturing cow, Edgar’s Mission provided the answer- for six and a half fun filled and happy years. But sadly at 4.48pm yesterday, Micaly passed from our world.
Having unexpectedly gone down the previous day, Micaly never again gained the strength to stand. Whilst we will never know exactly what caused her demise, we do know that she failed to rally to all our efforts of assistance (veterinary and otherwise) and the gentle licks of encouragement from her pals, Tippi, Latefa, Rosa and Shirley.
Micaly will be buried here at Edgar’s Mission, in one of her favourite spots in the paddock; her spirit free to run with her buddies once more. As her lifeless body lay in the fields she had once roamed, one by one her bovine buddies came over, bowed their heads and offered their friend one final goodbye. They are grieving, as are we. Of that there is no doubt. Micaly was a friend. She was a sensitive and unique creature who was given to bouts of euphoria, with her happy cow dance receiving over 8,400 views on Vimeo (and counting). But Micaly did prefer the sedentary life; she would always be the last to arrive for snacks, working by the logic that they would still be there when she arrived. And on that we never let her down.
That Micaly was the first cow to touch my heart and confirm what many of us have read; that cows are kind, fun loving, curious and loyal, is something I will treasure forever. Their huge form belies their gentle nature, for they truly are one of the most mild-mannered creatures to walk among us. I remember how I was able to pick Micaly up and move her from paddock to paddock. But that quickly became a thing of the past, not so much for the fact that she grew (and oh, how she grew!), rather Micaly’s gentle and obliging nature (and love of wheetbix) came to the fore. I loved her then as I love her now. I will always love her. And as I close my eyes, saltwater welling, vivid are the memories of Micaly’s big pink tongue as it was slowly launched from her mouth and in a deft but unhurried motion, with the precision of stealth bomber, it hit its target – a wheetbix treat held nervously in the hand of an adoring new fan. In cobra like fashion, Micaly’s tongue would caress the wheety treat, grasping it firmly and withdrawing it into the cave of her mouth. Eyes closed in culinary bliss; Micaly would point her head skyward and slowly chew the most delicious morsel on the planet. It and many more, were all hers.
Micaly and her friends have proved staunch ambassadors for cows everywhere. Their uncanny ability to live harmoniously together is something we humans could well do to emulate. And while our ears hear their eloquent moos, our hearts hear a humble plea for mercy. Oh how could we ever seek to harm such a benign creature?
I didn’t say goodbye to Micaly as I gently stroked her for the last time, I told her I would see her again. I don’t know where and I don’t know when, but we will meet again. God speed.