It was dark, the acrid smell of fear surrounded me, we had been overcrowded and traveling for days without anything to eat or drink. The truck jangled on through the night as I felt the life growing inside of me move again.
The sound of air brakes whooshed us into a dead stop, hooves readjusted their stance on the metal floor, we all tried to move back away from the opening door knowing we were not in a safe place, we were at the end.
The searing electric shock prods made our exit, inevitable. In between the iron barred aisle and the doorway of the foul smelling building there was not a blade of grass nothing green, no respite from the hunger was my last thought before I collapsed. I woke up to the pain of birth, I had felt this way before with my five calves, not once did my captors allow me to keep my baby, not even for one day, why would this time in this hellish, horrible place be any different?
My chestnut brown and white calves’ eyes opened as I cleaned and nuzzled her, determined to give as much comfort and protection as I can until they dragged us apart. Here they come now…wait two of these people are different, they are speaking in soft tones, and looking into my eyes. I am still not sure, in my experience the human animals are not to be trusted. Yet, these two humans are opening the iron gates and speaking softly, a trailer door opens, my baby is still unsteady on her feet as I lead her away from this place and into the trailer. They are saying words I have not heard before like haven, home and safety. Is this open trailer door my glimmer of light leading to a peaceful, natural life for my calf and I?
This short piece was written by veteran animal activist Susan Hargreaves, AnimalHeroKids.org founder, and author of “Animal Hero Kids Voices for the Voiceless” .
Authors note: This is the true story of a groundbreaking rescue which happened on September 26, 2017 in Los Angeles County. Heartfelt thanks to Los Angeles Animal Save, Russell Simmons, Shaun Monsoon, Kat Von D, and Amy Jean Davis. The slaughterhouse owner called Simone Reyes, a long term animal activist, and told her about the baby being born at the slaughterhouse, Anthony the owner, consented to the mother being saved too. Simone sprang into action to rescue both mother and baby. The voices mentioned in the story belonged to Simone and Jane Velez Mitchell of the Jane Unchained news service. See rescue video.
Update: Today notes of music and song drift across the paddocks where the rescued mother and calf reside as award winning song writer Diane Warren creates.
Photo credit: Los Angeles Animal Save