Only hours out of the womb, a dairy calf’s eye was split open this week by a savage kick in an attempt to make him stand up.
A witness to the event, Riversdale resident Jeanine Lotz posted her outrage on Facebook, like this:
“I just got verbally abused in the most foul way! Why? Because I stood up for a new born calf who was expected to travel, in 30 degrees C, for about 5km on foot to the farmers dairy, where he would begin his short little life by being separated from his mother! He collapsed next to the road , unable to move, where the farm worker kept on kicking him to stand up until his eye split open. I yelled at the man to stop so I could fetch my son’s pickup and drive him (the calf) over to the dairy. My interference did not go down well at all! But I grew up on a farm. I am not a bunny- hugging newby, but my father NEVER abused or allowed his workers to abuse animals this way!!!! My sister and I learned from an early age to respect and value all creatures great and small. I just feel really sad at the unnecessary cruelty of man.
Jeanine’s posting drew a host of supportive comments, some from people who have witnessed similar atrocious behaviour.
Speaking to Animal Voice editor, Louise van der Merwe, today, Jeanine said: “I breed Arabian horses on our farm. My mom and I were sitting on the stoep having a cup of tea when we saw a cow who had just given birth being driven down the side road to the dairy, with her newborn calf trying to keep up. His umbilical was still hanging there. Like I said on Facebook, he collapsed and the labourer kept kicking him to make him get up. I was crying so hard and screaming for him to stop so I could fetch my son’s pick-up and drive the calf down to the dairy. My groom, Willem, ran to the calf. He told me: ‘Die kalfie se oogie is heeltemaal oopgeskop’. My mom (80) was shocked at the foul language that was used by the labourer to convey his displeasure at me!
“What upset me even further was the little 'hokkie' where we had to unload the calf! It was made from portable gates, on hard rocky soil, nowhere soft to lie. Willem pulled a piece of corrugated iron over the top for shade! I was crying so hard that Willem went to talk to the farmer, who said he would talk to his worker. This is one of the biggest dairy farms in Riversdale. And it is nothing new. It happens all the time. These little boy calves in the dairy industry are going to be slaughtered anyway but while they are alive, please let their lives be worth living.”
Note from Ed: Animal Voice has forwarded Jeanine’s story to Dr Nico Schutte who represents the Milk Producers Organisation and asked for a progress report on the MPO’s endeavours to put a stop to the ill-treatment of boy calves.
What you can do!
Please forward this email to your supermarket and ask for confirmation that the calves that supply their milk, cheese, yoghurts, ice-cream and butter products, are properly cared for.
Here are the Customer Care email addresses of the supermarkets: