Abbey and Bella feeding

Who has lovely long lashes and pokes out their tongue when they’re hungry?

Abbey and Bella of course! And these girls sure have won our hearts since we were asked to take on two “bobby calves” late last year.

The term “bobby calves” refers to newborn calves that are less than 30 days old, which have been separated from their mothers. The majority of calves (female) are not required to replenish the milking herd, and along with all bull calves (males), are considered “wastage” by the dairy industry.
Every year in Australia, approx. 400,000 bobby calves are slaughtered.

For cows to continue to produce milk, they have to give birth to a calf every year! Without human intervention, calves would suckle from their mother for months and like any mother, they have a strong maternal bond. Under constant pressure for every dairy cow to produce more and more milk, calves are taken from their mothers within a day of birth. You can imagine the stress this separation can cause to both mother and calf but remember the mother cow is subjected to this practice repeatedly. At just five days old, the babies can be legally transported to abattoirs and sale yards. At such a young age, they can be difficult to move which increases their risk of injury.

Nick feeding Abbey
Volunteer Nick bottle feeding Abbey

Many people have visions of dairy cows living idyllic lives in the country side, and the belief that they naturally produce enough milk to provide for both human consumption and their baby. In reality, the dairy cow is subjected to a continuous cycle of calving, milking and impregnation.

With more people choosing to buy cruelty free and the increase in allergies and intolerance’s, there are now many alternatives to dairy products. The supermarket shelves are brimming with healthy milk choices including soy, coconut, rice and almond. You might even be surprised to know that some of the alternatives are actually higher in calcium then cow’s milk so it’s worth doing your research.

No cow in either the dairy or beef industry, live out their natural lives of 20 to 25 years however, unlike the thousands of babies considered “wastage” by the dairy industry each year, Abbey and Bella will remain safe with us at the BAWCS Shelter for the entirety of their lives.

If you would like to help give them the life they deserve, why not become their Farm Friends Sponsor?


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