We went to the auction barn Monday (10/14/13) and were greatly overwhelmed with sadness and grief at the dark, cramped, impersonal conditions we found the cows. There was so much noise from the cows mooing in distress and banging up against the stalls they were put into. At times it was deafening.
We spotted one calf that looked very young and was just lying there. We were afraid the calf would be trampled upon as there was so much pushing and shoving among the cows. At that point we thought we must save more than one. We then spotted a black heifer that looked fairly peaceful among all the chaos. We wrote down their numbers and went into the auction.
One after the other, the calves came out and they were all so young with their umbilical cords still hanging from their bellies. It was so heartbreaking as they were being slapped around to keep them moving so that the buyers could get a good look at them. The bidding went very quickly starting with the animal's weight. How many such calves are born every day into the meat/dairy industry? How many calves, beautiful and lovely, are valued only for their meat?
We were able to outbid another buyer for the little Holstein calf that we had spotted and the black heifer. After we bought the Holstein calf a beautiful fawn colored calf came out and our 4 year old grandson jumped out of his seat and said," I want that one." We hesitated and then bid for him and got him.
We had not planned on calves or more than one. When we got home we had to secure an area for them while they stayed in the trailer. They all looked weak and exhausted so we began to bottle feed them. The little Holstein bull calf did not know how to suck from the bottle. We then understood that he was taken straight from his mother at birth and never sucked her milk. He was that young!
The fawn colored bull calf sucked the bottle right away and emptied it quickly. The Angus heifer would not take it. She was eating the hay and grain in the trailer. She seems to be about four months old and more frightened than the two bull calves. She is older than the other two and seems to have experienced a lot of abuse which makes her a bit skittish. But she allowed us to pet her so we feel that her fear can be overcome.
ISCOWP Co-Managing Director
We just bought this four month old Angus heifer at the auction barn. She is in the trailer we hauled her in and is about to enter the ISCOWP barn. She is a bit skittish and afraid. The conditions at the auction barn were terrifying for all the cows there. They were mooing in distress and fear and sometimes the sound was deafening. Electric cattle prods were used in the stalls to move the cows and control them. We think she experienced abuse in the auction barn and elsewhere. She is now named Anasuya by the ISCOWP donor who helped save her.
We saw this little baby Holstein lying in one of the stalls with a group of sheep. We were afraid he would be trampled. We knew he was very young but when he came up for auction we could still see his umbilical cord hanging from his belly. We were able to purchase him and two others. They came into our trailer while so many cows were mooing in distress and fear. At first he could not suck from the milk bottle, but a day later he able sucked all the milk from his bottle expertly.
Four year old Balaji jumped out of his seat at the auction and said, "I want that cow." We had to make a quick decision as the auction was moving fast and we decided to bid for him. We got him and he was saved from the electric prods and paddles. There were so many very young calves for sale with their umbilical cords still attached to their bellies. The calf is now named Chandan by an ISCOWP member.