received anonymously (click here to view photos from the rescue):

"Four weeks ago while in the Waikato, animal rights activists stumbled across a paddock of recently dehorned ‘dairy’ cattle. The faces of these adult cows were covered in blood as were their tails, the grass, fence posts and water trough. The practice of de-horning ‘dairy’ cattle is very common because slaughter houses commonly will not take cattle whose horns are longer than their ears. Horns can cause damage to the hide and bruising which ‘downgrades’ their flesh and thus are undesirable for economic reasons. Dehorning commonly involves the amputation of the whole horn with guillotine shears, a butcher’s saw, embryotomy wire or scoop dehorners (interlocking semicircular blades).

The Animal Welfare (painful husbandry procedures) Code of Welfare 2005 minimum standards require that all cows dehorned over the age of 9 months are to be administered pain relief. That said all cows under 9 months can have their horns (which have nerves and blood vessels in them) removed without pain relief. The code also recommends that wound dressing or medication should be applied to the cut horns to prevent infection and excessive blood loss. In this case excessive blood loss appears to have occurred. Many of the cows had blood dripping into their eyes and both sides of their faces were soaked.

The activists returned to the paddock the following day to obtain video footage but found that the cows had been moved. Instead they found a mother cow who had recently given birth to what appeared to be a happy and healthy calf who was drinking from her. It was not until a few minutes had passed that the activists noticed another seemingly abandoned calf in the paddock. His mother had not cleaned him off nor got him to his feet. He was covering in mucous and trying to get up but with no luck. With his mother down the other end of the paddock with her other calf she seemed to have no interest in this boy. Sensing that the little calf was very unlikely to survive and knowing that even if he did he would soon be sent to slaughter the little calf was bundled up into a blanket and onto the back seat of the car.

The little calf, who turns out to be a male Murray Grey, was whisked off to a vegetarian landowner who had him wrapped up in blankets and hot water bottles. He was given some homemade colostrum and thankfully made it through the night.. Colostrum is necessary for calf health, growth and protection from disease. The newborn calf is particularly vulnerable to disease - in particular, pneumonia and diarrhoea (scour). The colostrum contains extra nutrients and antibodies to help protect the calf at this time.

A few weeks on this little guy is doing well and has made good friends with the three dogs that he lives with. He sleeps inside and has a little coat to keep him warm during the winter weather. In recent days he has been put on to a nursing cow and is starting to put on weight. He will likely always be a little smaller and weaker than other bulls because his mother did not give him her colostrum as soon as he was born but things look promising for him. He will live out the many years ahead of him as a much loved member of his new family. Sadly his little bother, who was left on the farm, will have already been sent to slaughter, butchered, plastic wrapped and cooked for someone’s dinner.

Milk is not intended for human consumption any more than human breast milk is intended for cows. Milk is intended for a cows calf and she will not produce milk unless she has been pregnant and given birth, much like human womyn. The dairy industry therefore needs cows to give birth from time to time to keep the milk, and thus the profits, flowing. The calves are the unwanted by-product of pregnancy’s on a dairy farm. Within 2 days of giving birth, the calves are taken from the cow and either sent to slaughter, sold or a small number of females are kept as replacement dairy cows. In New Zealand there are approximately one and a half million calves slaughtered yearly in abattoirs, this does not include calves killed on farms 'homekill' or calves aborted and killed on the farm. Can you imagine taking a crying baby from it's mother at 2 days old, at 4 days old herding it scared and unsteadily onto a truck, sending it to be stunned and have its throat cut? This is the reality of dairy farming in New Zealand, both on organic and non-organic farms. The bobby calf meat industry relies on the dairy industry to supply it with calves for slaughter. Without dairy cows giving birth every year, there would be few calves to kill.