"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." ~ George MacDonald
Daisy was born in October 2008 and arrived at Little Oak Sanctuary on 30 June 2021.
Daisy was born on a small scale dairy farm in the spring of 2008. Once Daisy grew to adulthood she joined the milking herd.
In order for a cow to produce milk, they need to deliver a calf. As mammals, cows only produce milk for their young (like humans).
In commercial dairy farms across Australia, cows like Daisy are impregnated, then (all going well) nine months later they will deliver their calves. Typically between the first and fifth day of the calves life, they are taken from their mothers and milking of the cow commences.
What happens to the calf depends a lot on which sex they were born. As male calves will never produce milk, they are typically sent straight to slaughter. As female calves do have the potential to one day produce milk, some of these may be retained to replace their mothers at a later date, but often if they are surplus do demand they will be shipped with their brothers to the slaughterhouse.
Meanwhile, their mothers grieve the loss of their babies. Cows, as mammals, have a very similar profile of hormones releases as people do when they deliver their babies. The hormones that help to bond a mother and child are released, ensuring that the mother stays and protects their vulnerable youngster. Cows will bellow for their lost children, and return to the spot where they were taken until eventually, they will lose hope. Over the years as this process is repeated, cows may begin to accept this tragic fate that is continuously thrust upon them; however, this is more a state of learned helplessness than no longer caring.
And so the dairy cow's life continues, a cycle of reimpregnation, birth, loss. In between, she is subjected to milking, cases of mastitis, a painful infection of her mammary glands, and then when she can no longer continue to sustain this, she will be sent to slaughter. For most cows, this happens by the time they are around 7 or so, despite the fact a cow can live to 30 years of age.
Daisy came from a small scale dairy. For her, she received wonderful care, love, and she was valued as an individual. But we are sure she still suffered heartbreak. Daisy, at 12, is considered by many to be an old dairy cow. In the year before she came to the sanctuary, Dairy trod on her udder twice, damaging her teats. One teat, in particular, is so badly damaged that she would be at constant risk of mastitis if she were to give birth again and once again start to produce milk. This injury is actually not that uncommon in Dairy cows, whose udders are far larger today than nature ever intended, due to our selective breeding cows to produce far more milk than a calf would ever need. Where Daisy's story differs is that her owner valued her as an individual - for most, this injury would mean a trip to the sale yards, where they would very likely end up at the slaughterhouse. Daisy's owner valued her enough to find sanctuary for her.
Daisy reminds us that each day we are alive is a gift - so many are not given.
Daisy will live her life as an advocate for bovines across the country. You can support her and our work by donating or becoming a sponsor today.
Help Protect Cows
For their size, cattle are remarkably gentle creatures. Despite their gentle nature and capacity to suffer as any other animal, cows aren't protected by the same laws as dogs and cats. 'Codes of Practice' side-step the rules, meaning that painful procedures can be undertaken without pain relief, and their lives are routinely ended well before their natural lifespan has been reached. It doesn't have to be this way.
When you sponsor a Little Oak calf or cow you will be helping protect all cattle. Your sponsorship will support Little Oak's essential advocacy work – sharing the stories of individual cows and the plight of their kind across the nation.
Sponsor today, and we'll take you on a journey to learn more about cattle through our regular updates - exclusive only to our monthly sponsors. We'll also keep you up to date on how your monthly gifts are helping to secure a brighter future for the cows at Little Oak, and their kind across Australia.
Covers routine vet care for the year
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Covers routine vet care and one emergency call out a year