Heartbreaking Story of a Mother Cow

I wanted to share the following story and hope skeptics will read it with an open mind. My intent here isn’t to argue with anyone, and so I will not do so (being mindful of the forum rules).

"I would like to tell you a story that is as true as it is heartbreaking. When I first graduated from Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine, I went into a busy dairy practice in Cortland County. I became a very popular practitioner due to my gentle handling of the dairy cows. One of my clients called me one day with a puzzling mystery: his Brown Swiss cow, having delivered her fifth calf naturally on pasture the night before, brought the new baby to the barn and was put into the milking line, while her calf was once again removed from her. Her udder, though, was completely empty, and remained so for several days.

As a new mother, she would normally be producing close to one hundred pounds (12.5 gallons) of milk daily; yet, despite the fact that she was glowing with health, her udder remained empty. She went out to pasture every morning after the first milking, returned for milking in the evening, and again was let out to pasture for the night — this was back in the days when cattle were permitted a modicum of pleasure and natural behaviors in their lives — but never was her udder swollen with the large quantities of milk that are the hallmark of a recently-calved cow.

I was called to check this mystery cow two times during the first week after her delivery and could find no solution to this puzzle. Finally, on the eleventh day post calving, the farmer called me with the solution: he had followed the cow out to her pasture after her morning milking, and discovered the cause: she had delivered twins, and in a bovine’s “Sophie’s Choice,” she had brought one to the farmer and kept one hidden in the woods at the edge of her pasture, so that every day and every night, she stayed with her baby — the first she had been able to nurture FINALLY—and her calf nursed her dry with gusto. Though I pleaded for the farmer to keep her and her bull calf together, she lost this baby, too—off to the hell of the veal crate.

Think for a moment of the complex reasoning this mama exhibited: first, she had memory — memory of her four previous losses, in which bringing her new calf to the barn resulted in her never seeing him/her again (heartbreaking for any mammalian mother). Second, she could formulate and then execute a plan: if bringing a calf to the farmer meant that she would inevitably lose him/her, then she would keep her calf hidden, as deer do, by keeping her baby in the woods lying still till she returned. Third — and I do not know what to make of this myself — instead of hiding both, which would have aroused the farmer’s suspicion (pregnant cow leaves the barn in the evening, unpregnant cow comes back the next morning without offspring), she gave him one and kept one herself. I cannot tell you how she knew to do this—it would seem more likely that a desperate mother would hide both.

All I know is this: there is a lot more going on behind those beautiful eyes than we humans have ever given them credit for, and as a mother who was able to nurse all four of my babies and did not have to suffer the agonies of losing my beloved offspring, I feel her pain."


Dear Spencelo–

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. So many people are too arrogant to consider the feelings of our fellow creatures. :frowning:


The weak and most vulnerable among us must be protected. After all, isn’t that what Christianity is all about?

That is in reference to human beings, may I assume that you are talking about human beings.

Dear Christiano–

I obviously cannot speak from a Catholic perspective, but we Essenes believe that we are to care for and nurture all of Creation, not only the human beings. I would consider a calf to be every bit as “weak and vulnerable” as a human child, or someone mentally handicapped, or elderly, etc. They all deserve our best efforts at love and compassion. :slight_smile:


Good story. I don’t believe for a second that it is true, though.

I agree with your take. The problem is that the OP is trying to use guilt based on an infraction of Christian morality; however, he is deeply ignorant of what Christianity is about. A non-theist is convincing in addressing Christians only if he is capable to make a true argument using real Christian doctrine and on top of that he must show personal credibility by making an argument using a logical approach based on his philosophy. In all his threads of the last few weeks I have seen neither.

In the case of Christianity we have an obligation to treat nature with respect because it is a gift that God gave us, he gave us dominion over nature, and with that gift we got responsibilities too. However, we are not to treat elements of nature like they were human beings, that would be wrong because they have not been created in God’s image.

If you did, would that change anything for you?

I wonder, if a dog went wild and attacked your neighbor would you kill the dog if necessary? Or would you let it kill your neighbor because the dog is just as ‘weak and vulnerable’ as any human. I hope you would kill the dog.

You have a responsibility to take care of humans first. A human child is more important than any animal. I don’t care how ‘weak and vulnerable’ these animals are, if you don’t take care of humans first, then your argument is meaningless. You are human, take care of your own first. Then worry about others.

“” Fragments of a 1.5-million-year-old skull from a child recently found in Tanzania suggest early hominids weren’t just occasional carnivores but regular meat eaters, researchers say.

The finding helps build the case that meat-eating helped the human lineage evolve large brains, scientists added.

“I know this will sound awful to vegetarians, but meat made us human,” said researcher Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, an archaeologist at Complutense University in Madrid…""

Interesting story. As I was reading, just before the story revealed what was happening, I actually guessed what was happening. It’s surprising to me that I cow would do this, rather than some animal we think of as more ‘cunning’, but then again all I know about cows is that they give the milk I drink thand the meat I eat from them being milked and killed.

So if studied more, or if more were revealed about their known behavior…the way that certain animals and their intellecct is discussed on the nature channel…maybe this sort of manifestation to protect its young with a plan that made sense (nothing she could do about the empty utters) among cows isn’t as far fetched as someone like me would have initially thought.

God Bless,

Thanks Bill. The more I learn about nonhuman animals, the more I realize how “like us” they are in many relevant ways.

Moses gave the first laws on the humane keeping and slaughter of animals for human consumption. Mosaic law forbids, for example, the force-feeding of animals to fatten them up quickly or create a fatty liver, so no goose liver pate. Cutting off testicles was outlawed. Slaughter of the whole animal was mandated, and not the slicing off of a leg and letting the animal go; and effected by painless razor-sharp flint knives and bleeding out, not strangling. So now on to the parable of Ol’ MacDonald, who had a farm.

Born Alive!

There was a dairy farmer who had a fine heifer that was delivering by breech birth. She was stressed and he thought he was losing her in the difficult birth. He decided to cut up the calf in utero, and made plans for sausage. While he was getting his flexi-saw, out popped the calf by herself, healthy and strong. Born alive! The famer killed her and ground her into sausage. The same scenario happened the next year, with the farmer killing the calf and making sausage. Word spread, and the farmer was elected president of the farm co-op in whirlwind of hope, change and the promise of sausage.

NEXT: The Miracle at the No-Kill Animal Shelter

Once there was a puppy named Willard, who was kicked to the curb…

My not-so-subtle point is, “Don’t Kill the Baby Humans.”

Absolutely! So you are against abortion now! Congrats on your conversion:thumbsup:

And then you’ll eat the calf when there’s more meat on it, right?:shrug:

Yes, it’s called instinct.

It’s different from individuality, or intellect, or person-hood.

I shoot fireballs from my eyes and lightning bolts from my arse. I know it might be hard to believe, but its true.

And I’ve got some ocean front property in Pennsylvania that I would like to sell you too. Just send me 500 thousand dollars cash, I will send you the deed to the place.

Question: What is Mosaic law and how does it intersect with followers of Jesus Christ today?

I happen to know they give cattle and pigs steroids to bulk them up before slaughtering them as a matter of routine today. They have steroid pellets they inject in pigs that will put like 20 lbs on them in the last couple of weeks of their life or something. And this steroid is not healthy to eat. Bodybuilders use it to bulk themselves up, but I’m not a canibal so am more concerned with the Mosaic law you mention.

Thanks and God Bless,

This should be called a Heartbreaking Fairy Tale about a Mother Cow.

I try not to feed my family too much commerical meat because I think it’s loaded with hormones -> Yuck.

I love organic meat though.

I feel called to to concern myself with human injustice rather than animal injustice.

Humans were created in the image of God. Animals were not, although IMHO, dogs come close.

Curious: why do you say it’s a fairy tale?

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