Mother cow & newborn calf happily greet visitor in their meadow
Fiona is a wonderful cow with a very sweet disposition. She loves the farm where she lives, grazing happily in the sunshine, wandering freely over many acres of lush, green pasture. She has ponds full of fresh water and some forested area for shade. She enjoys the company of a small herd of very relaxed and happy cows. There is even a large bull named Gus who watches over the herd protectively as he grazes among them. Life on this farm is as close as possible to what nature intended for these gentle souls.
Spring is calving time and Fiona has had her first calf, Hope, just three days earlier. Like Fiona, Hope is friendly and gentle natured. She is curious and affectionate, and like her mother, she enjoys being petted like a family dog. Dave, who lives near this farm often visits and spends time in the meadow, helping the farmer with caring for the animals or checking fences. He has gotten to know the cows well and they are quite used to seeing him in the meadow. Fiona greets Dave like a trusted friend and she enjoys having her ears scratched or her head rubbed. She also enjoys corn as a treat and Dave often brings her a few handfuls.
On this warm, spring day, Dave walked into the meadow and watched from nearby as Hope nursed and Fiona chewed on fresh grass. Hope eagerly approached Dave and demanded some attention. She was followed closely by Fiona who wanted some attention of her own. Normally, it would be very unsafe to approach a calf when the mother was likely to become protective and even aggressive, but Fiona is exceptionally tolerant and she has demonstrated that she is not concerned at all about Dave spending time with her baby. Even still, Dave waited for both of them to make the approach, just to be on the safe side.
This farm in Millbrook, Ontario is what is referred to as an "ethical" farm. The farmers place a greater importance on herd health than on profit and they treat their animals like family, carefully looking after their welfare and ensuring that they have the best living conditions. There is no crowding and the cows have never been treated with anything but kindness. As a result, they have no fear of humans and they respond well to being handled. Farms like these can be found in almost all areas. It is well worth the time to seek them out when looking for food. Supporting those farmers who do things right might cost a little more, but in doing so, we reduce the cruelty associated with larger, factory farms.