Clarabelle and Valentine
29th November 2014 and 14th February 2015
Although her baby was not expected for another week, Clarabelle’s behavior was rather odd. Our first clue was her late arrival for breakfast as she could always be counted on to be waiting patiently at the gate. Our second hint was her quick glance behind now and then, but it was the sole engorged teat that sent our hearts racing and our feet pacing as we then knew this dear aging Jersey cow had something to hide.
With sleuth like precision we scanned the open paddock but it was some distance away in our enchanted forest that we found the answer. A tiny several days old heifer calf blinked at the world in wide-eyed wonder as a nervous Clarabelle looked on. Renowned animal behaviorist and cattle expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, stated that the fear memories of cattle can never be deleted. As an older dairy cow, Clarabelle would have many. Cows are after all mammals and like just like humans they will only produce milk for their offspring. So in order to keep the milk flowing Clarabelle, and like all dairy cows, are impregnated and then shortly after birth their much-loved babies are taken away so their milk can be harvested for human consumption.
But the good news is no one will ever take Clarabelle’s baby away, this baby she can keep forever, or as they say in the classics ‘til the cows come home’.
A footnote to this story: Clarabelle’s calf was discovered on Valentine’s Day. We christened her Valentine, in honour of the love between mother cows and their babies.
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