Moose: the Bobby calf who lived.

As the sun rises over South Western Victoria, and on the many Dairy farms in this area, the morning’s work is well under way…

It was a regular day for the farm hand responsible for feeding and tending the Dairy’s calves who reside in their designated shed. So close and yet so far away from their loving and grieving mothers who again this year, carried a baby to term and saw them removed shortly after birth. The milk her body worked so hard to produce intended by nature for her baby’s nourishment, shipped off to supermarket shelves instead.

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Ticking off her morning chores as per the usual routine, the farm hand had only just knelt down when a sweet little boy (spoiler, it’s Moose), walked up and gently headbutted her. As she looked up to see who had the audacity, her eyes met his and he instantly wiggled his way into her heart right then and there.

Moose was only days old and days away from being loaded up and trucked to the slaughterhouse with his brothers when an unlikely twist of fate changed his destiny in the most incredible way. See in the Dairy industry, boys are surplus, “Wastage”. They can’t produce milk and have no use, they are dispatched quickly and often sold as veal.

When the time arrived for Moose to board the truck, the farm hand couldn’t let him go. She decided to load him into the back seat of her car and chauffeured him to her home instead, to be raised as a loved friend; a miraculous and rare break in the conditioning that saw his comrades sent to their ends without a second thought. She lived alongside Moosey for 10 months until he outgrew her yard and then set out to find him a safe forever home.

Bold and confident, huge but friendly, Moose now lives a life of love. He gently leans on fences and accidentally folds them over with his big and beautiful body. He barges through the herd confidently to get the primo snacks and will try to play fight with any vehicle that enters the paddock. Neck and cheek scratches are a favourite as are massages at the top of his tale, ignore him when he wants attention and he will rub his face up and down your back until you afford him the attention he desires. The fun part is trying not to fall over!

Knowing Moose today, it comes as no surprise that he made his way free from the same scheduled death that claims hundreds of thousands of Bobby calves each and every year in Australia alone. But we know all the other lads who lose their lives and their right to be raised by their mothers, were equally as unique.

The Dairy industry is the Meat industry, there is no separating it, and there is no denying the suffering it inflicts.

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As we geared up to leave after loading Moosey into the trailer for his long trek home, the farm hand and Moose's unlikely saviour asked a simple request, 'Can you send me a picture when he is grown? I have heard the Holstein steers grow really big'. A woman who has worked in the Dairy industry a large portion of her life, feeding and tending calves, had not seen a Bobby boy fully grown. It's simply because they don't live long enough, their lives are taken as babies or adolescents at best.

We are so grateful Moose will live his entire natural life loved and respected. We can never change what he and his mother endured but we can take it from here and make sure he has a life he loves living.

We acknowledge the innate compassion that lives in most of us and the potential for it to be awakened to include animals. When we look at animals and see *who* they are, it’s impossible to justify how we treat them. On that day, the farm hand saw Moose’s personhood and because of that he is a loved family member and always will be, for that we are so grateful!

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Meet Our Other Animals

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Moose: the Bobby calf who lived.

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Groundhog Day

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From Little Things, Big Things Grow – The Birth of a Sanctuary