Cows are farmed extensively for their meat, milk, and hides, and frequently endure cruelty and trauma within the industrial farming system. In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year. Young cows face branding, dehorning, and castration without painkillers and when they are old enough, most cows raised for beef spent their short lives on filthy, outdoor feedlots before being sent to slaughter.
Cows used in the dairy industry are kept nearly constantly pregnant, so that they continue producing high quantities of milk. Their newborn calves are traumatically taken away from them so that their milk can be sold. After only a few years, their bodies are exhausted and these mothers are sent to slaughter. Female calves are raised in the cycle of the dairy industry, while male calves are killed after only a few weeks, and sold as veal.
Cows deserve better. They are incredibly sensitive beings, capable of feeling complex emotions and forming deep bonds.
Honey & Benjamin
Honey came to Charlie’s Acres at 10 years old, after spending her life in the dairy industry. Like most female cows used for dairy, she was taken from her mother shortly after birth, and raised to suffer the same fate. Cows used for dairy are kept nearly constantly pregnant so that they continue producing milk. After Honey was rescued, she gave birth to her final son, Benjamin, in 2018. Despite her tragic upbringing, Honey is incredibly sweet. She is happy to finally be able to nurse and raise a child and spends her days grazing with her son and enjoying a well-deserved retirement with her beautiful family.
Simon was born on a dairy farm in late September, and then brought to a petting zoo where he eventually developed pneumonia. When some kind observers saw him sick and emaciated, they knew he needed help and negotiated with the petting zoo owners for him to come to Charlie's Acres. Thanks to the generosity of one of our donors and volunteers, Simon was able to receive the vet care he so desperately needed. By March, Simon was ready to meet our other resident cows and join the family.
Jade & Juno
Jade and Juno came to Charlie’s Acres as the result of a court case. Deemed unprofitable by the dairy industry, they were scheduled for slaughter. When activists protested outside the slaughterhouse, they were sued by the slaughterhouse owner but won on the grounds of free speech. Rather than accepting money, the lawyers at Advancing Law for Animals asked for several cows to be saved. Though they came close to ending up on the dinner plate, Jade and Juno now live happy and carefree lives, and spend their days foraging on grass with their friends.
Mitch & Judy
Mitch & Judy are Miniature Dexter siblings who were born on a beef farm in Oregon. Destined for slaughter, Mitch and Judy were fortunate enough to be rescued by a local woman who had them join her herd and kept them as pets. Judy sustained a leg injury some time later, and had trouble walking down the large hill to pasture. Mitch saw this every day and would stick next to Judy for her slow walk down. The two have been inseparable ever since. When Mitch and Judy’s rescuer downsized her property, they came to live at Charlie’s Acres.
- Cows are highly devoted mothers and mourn the death of and separation from those they love, often calling out and searching for their babies.
- Calves will nurse from their mothers for up to three years if given the opportunity.
- Researchers have found that cows not only can solve problems but also enjoy the intellectual challenge and get excited when they find a solution, just as humans do.
- Cow herds have complex social dynamics and relationships are very important to them. Each cow can recognize 50 or more members of the herd!
Cows are clever, inquisitive, playful, and sweet. Their natural curiosity and large size can make them challenging to keep, but a little extra knowledge will help you and your cows live harmoniously together. Read on for more information about how to keep your cows happy and healthy.
Cow care sheet
Find fun animal-themed activities, as well as educational and compassionate lesson plans for kids and teachers on our kids page!