This is Stanley.
He escaped his fate, as an Angus cow, of being butchered and eaten and currently lives in sanctuary with his Holstein (white cow with black splotches) brother, Theo. He was very sick when he first arrived and it was thought that he might not survive, but this little one proved to be even stronger than first thought.
His mum was likely not as fortunate. It is possible that she is currently being forced to have more babies that will be taken from her for meat, or that she herself has been, or will soon be, slaughtered.
Bovines, being herd animals, are very social creatures and they form amazing relationships with each other. They are the kindest and most peaceful beings I know; they call out to one another when separated and they protect and groom each other.
The bond between calf and mother is one of the strongest. I knew a mother and son who lived on a sanctuary and they were inseparable until the day she died. The baby suckled until he had to bend down on his knees to reach her udders and she never once pushed him away. The few times they had to be separated for medical reasons, the mum would scream for him constantly until they were reunited, and indeed it became so traumatic for them that they had to stop removing them from each other, even for a short period of time.
It is rare that a bovine mother gets to keep her children. In fact some dairy mums have their babies taken away from them the very day they are born. It is devastating for both of them, it is not uncommon for the mums to stop eating out of sadness, or for the babies to suckle on random objects as a way to feel comforted.
Stanley engages in this suckling behaviour every day. He sucks on everything from his brother’s tail to human ears. In these photos you can see him “nursing” from my forearm. You can feel the desperation in his actions, you can tell how much he wants to be his mum. We try to care for him and snuggle him, but we are no replacement for the mum he should have had.
As long as the beef and dairy industries exist, billions of babies and their mums will face the tragedy of losing each other every year; the mums will yell for their children for days, and their babies will attempt to nurse from the farmers’ or slaughterhouse workers’ fingers.
This is not only sad, it is evil and unnecessary .
Give up beef and dairy and stop contributing to this travesty.
Do it for babies like Stanley.