This summer’s edition of Compassion Over Killing’s Compassionate Action magazine features two friends we know and love: Betsy and her son Oliver, rescued residents of Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. Their beautiful photo was taken by photographer Beth Lily Redwood. Get your copy today at COK.net/magazine!
Born into the dairy industry, Betsy was destined for a short and miserable life of being impregnated, giving birth, and having her baby taken away from her so that the milk she produced could be used for human consumption. Like other mothers, Betsy yearned to provide love and care to her calves, and in place of her stolen babies she stepped in as a surrogate mother for goats, lambs, and any other abandoned baby that needed her love.
Despite this ability to form strong bonds with their family and other animals, female cows in the cruel dairy industry are subjected to this sad cycle of exploitation until their exhausted bodies stop producing high levels of milk and they are sent to slaughter.
Luckily, that was not the case with Betsy. When the farmer posted a Craigslist ad offering her for sale, she looked so sad–like she had completely given up. After some negotiation with the farmer, he miraculously agreed to give Betsy to Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary so that she could live out the rest of her life in peace.
When Betsy arrived at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary she was suffering from a life-threatening case of mastitis. Sanctuary caregivers worked around the clock to care for her.
Betsy was also heavily pregnant–with the first baby she’d get to keep. On a chilly February morning, sweet little Oliver was born. After his birth, Betsy was rightfully wary as staff cared for Oliver, but the sanctuary was careful to never separate them for any reason. Betsy embraced her newfound freedom with her baby boy and set out to show him a world full of love and adventures.
A year later, they are still inseparable, their bond unbreakable. It is a bond that so many other moms and calves are denied by the dairy industry. Had Oliver been born on a dairy farm, chances are he would have been taken from his mother almost immediately after birth, kept confined in a small pen for just a few months and then slaughtered so his meat could be marketed as veal. Had he been female he would have entered the same cycle that his mother escaped and been slaughtered after a few years of milk production.
While there are still millions of cows being exploited for milk in the United States, Betsy and Oliver will never know that cruelty again. Instead, they will live out the rest of their lives–together–at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary.
Plus, if you’d like your own issue of Compassionate Action featuring Betsy and Oliver, join our efforts and become a member of COK here: cok.net/magazine.
Stuart McDonald is a Creative Writer at Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national non-profit animal protection organization based in Washington, DC. She is passionate about making an ethical lifestyle easy and accessible for all and collaborating across social movements to create a kinder world. She writes about everything vegan: from plant-based eating to activism to legislation. Read her work on TryVeg.com and COK.net.