Kissed by a calf
By Erika Abrams, AAU Co-Founder
I spent 30 minutes cuddling a rescued bull calf at our shelter this morning who touched my heart with his search for closeness and comfort.
In addition to rescue and sanctuary, I want to share what Animal Aid is doing to help cows and their babies, whose pure innocence and sweetness is hidden away and unknown to many of us.
To help cows and bulls, Animal Aid co-founded the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) together with a group of about eight other animal organisations. We established FIAPO together in 2006 to serve as an umbrella organisation uniting distant groups under a common flag to help even more animals than we could do in our home cities alone. One of our purposes is to conduct advocacy and improve legislation for how farmed animals are treated.
Changing what people eat is the mission of “Living Free”—a veg outreach effort targeting young Indians considered most at risk for leaving their vegetarian roots and reaching for meat on their pizza, in emulation of the west. Animal Aid is whole-heartedly involved in these campaigns, and has recently produced an educational video on industrialized dairies in India.
FIAPO is running a campaign to stop the introduction of mega-dairies, pitching the campaign against a project calling for the import of 40,000 cows to be housed in a single facility. To stop the project we are working toward establishing codes and regulations that reduce the opportunities for the unthinkable cruelties factory-dairies inflict.
Today, after experiencing at lovey-dovey range hundreds of cows, calves and bulls, my heart has grown many sizes larger than it was 15 years ago before we founded Animal Aid.
My father, in all good faith, told me that cows “grow like mushrooms.” This was how he made sense of eating meat. Because he had never had any contact with cows directly, he saw them as slow-moving munchers who invariably led happy lotus-eating lives until they were killed, and that too was at least a neutral experience, for “they never knew what hit them.”
He died about a year before Animal Aid was launched into the world. He would have been Animal Aid’s biggest enthusiast. His passionate love of dogs and wildlife was what most defined him. And I have no doubt that if he had ever had even a few moments with a new calf or if time had slowed down to let him leisurely observe the personalities and absolute innocence of cows; he would have seen them differently, as I have been lucky enough to come to see them.
Come to Animal Aid to meet cows, bulls and calves, freed from factory farms, enjoying sunlight, trees, and a gentle breeze, where you are.