Many people have seen the pictures on Face Book of the darling baby goats that were rescued last week by myself and two of the volunteers at Sasha Farm. The comments and compliments came flowing in as soon as the pictures were posted. The volunteers and I anticipated the love and excitement we would feel to see and hold these three-week-old baby boys–so furry, fluffy, innocent and adorable. To hold them, cuddle them and kiss them endlessly all the way to Sasha Farm, on this gorgeous, warm and sunny day was truly a treat few of us experience. The rescue was an adrenaline high. After all the excitement and fuss though came the questions: “What happened to the moms?” And “Where are their mothers?” My answer was true to what I saw: The mothers (four in total, two had baby girls and two had baby boys) were each in their own small metal fenced dog pen type of quarter; all four in line in a very small, old, dark wooden farm building. No windows. Cement floors. Each with a collar of some sort around its neck and a heavy chain anchored to the ground. Maybe they could move a foot in one direction and two feet in the other. No windows. Cement floors.
“Oh, my God! Don’t tell me any more! I can’t listen.” And “How could you do that; go there and get them? Wasn’t it too painful? I could never.” That being said, I have something to tell you: the milk you drink, the cream in your coffee, the ice cream cone in the summertime, your yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese–all cheese; it all comes from cows that are treated much, much worse than what I saw. The mommy goats didn’t have to stand in mounds of excrement like dairy cows do. They didn’t have their tails cut off like dairy cows do (without anesthetic). They didn’t have to inhale the strong ammonia that comes from urine that sits in the hay mixed in with the excrement beneath their feet, fermenting, creating such stench that it burns your nose and your eyes and in some places you literally can’t breathe. They weren’t milked to the point of painful open bloody sores and infections on their teats so their product meant for their babies could be given to humans THAT don’t even need it!
Yes, it was hard to see the mommy goats in this situation, especially when we had to listen to their bleating (bahing) in anguish as we left with two of their babies. Though the three of us were comforted in knowing the babies were going to a haven and not a slaughterhouse as the woman pointed out to us she really didn’t care where they went as long as she made a couple of dollars. These mommy goats got to nurse their babies for three weeks. At a dairy factory the babies are taken as soon as they are born, not once nursing their mothers. The mothers do not get to lick, cuddle, sniff, nuzzle and care for their babies. They are literally ripped away from them at birth! They are milked by machine as they cry in anguish for their babies to be returned. They don’t forget. Sometimes they cry for two weeks straight. Two weeks straight.
I am not bashing you for eating dairy. I love dairy products though I gave them up about 18 months ago when I began to learn what I now convey to you. I am giving you knowledge that is intentionally hidden from us, showing you what I have seen so you can make an informed decision. That is all. I only want people to have information so they can decide what feels right for them. You test drive different cars, try out different TV’s, select a specific vacation. Do the same with what you eat. If there was anything that bothered you about this article on how dairy cows are treated then check out different options. Make your decision based on information, not just blindly grabbing a milk carton because it has a cute cow on it.
I have done extensive research and want to share it with you. I encourage you to try soy ice cream, soymilk and/or coffee creamer. It’s flavored and really good. Or try coconut. Coconut milk ice cream is so good that I don’t buy it often because I can’t stop eating it. It’s amazing. There are also almond milk products on the market now. They are really good and healthy. Put almond milk in your cereal or oatmeal and you have a very healthy breakfast full of protein. Many of these products come in low fat if you want and vanilla, hazelnut and chocolate flavors.
Now, if you positively can’t go to a nondairy product (yet) please, please, please buy from these companies because they DON’T abuse their cows. They are: Organic Valley Family of Farms, Andrew and Everett, Calder Dairy and Farm, Traders Point Creamery and Kalona Organics. The first two on my list have many, many dairy products: milks, creams, yogurts, cheeses, etc. Calder has a lot too and they even will deliver to you and use old-fashioned glass milk bottles that are recycled.
If you feel any love for animals help give them a fair chance. A cow has a brain, a heart and emotions just like our pets do. In fact, when I go to Sasha Farm once a week I can tell you what cow loves grapefruit and which one finds it too sour and would rather have broccoli or green pepper. Really!