Pearl and Merle
28th November 2014
Pearl and Merle give life a whirl!!
There are few things more innocent in life than baby calves. Our new friends Pearl (brown face) and Merle (black face) are no different. With wide-eyed wonder they survey their world and with open-mouthed mooing they will touch your heart. Born to the dairy industry and quickly taken away from their mothers, theirs were destined to be harsh and short lives. But with kindness and a good heart on their side, things took turn for the better.
As humans, we have set the arbitrary boundaries in our world for domestic animals; from our beloved companion animals to those we farm for food and fibre. Yet this murky line we have drawn in the sand, which determines how an animal is not only treated but also how they are valued, says far more about who we are as humans than who the animals are as individuals.
Around a quarter of all female dairy calves will go on to become herd replacement animals. The remainder, plus all of the male calves, are by-products with little ‘use’. These innocent babies can legally be transported to abattoirs and saleyards from just five days old. At this young age they lack developmental following behavior that would assist herding. Often moving this way and that, the confused and bewildered creatures are difficult to move, which sadly often leads to frustrated humans, rough handling and injury. Such young and vulnerable calves are also subject to stress in foreign surroundings with unfamiliar animals and humans. To add to their pitiful woes, they can legally be kept off of milk for up to 30 hours before their deaths by slaughters- surely enough to turn your stomach.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With a growing number of nutritious and delicious dairy free alternatives, surely it is time to provide baby calves just like Pearl and Merle every opportunity to give life a whirl.