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In Tenderly. More on Medium.

In Germany, rescued cows are finally getting the respect they deserve — and now they’re movie stars, too

Former dairy farmer Jan Gerdes at his sanctuary. Photos provided by Hof Butenland

Jan Gerdes was a third-generation dairy farmer. He took pride in his work, for a while. But then he started to feel torn, about the work that for so long felt perfectly normal, then began to feel the opposite. He was burnt out, and in 2002 Gerdes decided to sell off his herd. But when the day came to send the final twelve cows to slaughter, he just couldn’t do it. Instead, the farmer was compelled to keep the lucky dozen, and offer them refuge at what would become Germany’s first cow retirement home.

“As a dairy farmer I was…

Four black-and-white cows frolicking on a grassy field on an overcast day.
Four black-and-white cows frolicking on a grassy field on an overcast day.

From Laurie Lyons-Makaimoku’s photoessay, ‘How Hawai’i Found Sanctuary…

Don’t get defensive now; open your mind and listen

Photo: Leah Kelley/Pexels

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I considered myself a feminist. Equal rights among all individuals and living beings were never something that crossed my mind in my day to day life. It’s shameful yet truthful. I attribute that to a lot of things—ignorance mostly, the blind privilege behind my “whiteness,” but most profoundly to me, the inability to justify the process demanded to get my food to the table.

So why should feminists stop consuming dairy? There are a lot of various definitions and subsets of what feminism actually is. Most of them focus on advocating…

Sanctuary Stories

Antonella is enjoying a rare privilege for a cow: a chance to raise her own baby. Ag-gag laws could have made her rescue impossible.

Antonella and Noel. Photos provided by Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary

Though the name may give a different impression, it’s not only dogs being cared for at Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada. Over a hundred farmed animals also call the sanctuary home, including horses, cows, donkeys, sheep, pigs, chickens and ducks. And though each farmed animal has their own unique rescue story — most from dire situations and impending early death — two in particular, explains staff member Cassandra Ferante, have an especially important tale to tell. It’s one she says local legislators really need to hear.

The Gentle Barn is a safe home for the animals “too old, too sick, too lame, or too scared to be adoptable.”

Ellie Laks and a lucky turkey friend. Photos provided by The Gentle Barn.

Since childhood, Ellie Laks saw animals as sentient beings, able to heal and be healed just like people. “I would always bring home lost and injured animals. By the time I was seven, I knew I just wanted to be surrounded by animals.” That desire in her soul to create a life driven by empathy, compassion, and peace became reality twenty years ago with the founding of The Gentle Barn.

Santa Clarita, California is a warm and dry canyon region approximately 35 miles north of Los Angeles where the remnants of the old west, including acres and acres of farmland…

A look at what happened next when an enormous dairy farm on the Big Island was closed for waste violations

The tropical state of Hawai’i typically conjures a certain set of images for most people — white sand beaches, vibrant blue water, and fruity umbrella cocktails. Of course that’s not all there is to this diverse island chain, and one thing the Aloha State rarely elicits is images of factory farms. Sadly, paradise isn’t immune to the horrors of the dairy industry, and Hawai’i Island (also known as the Big Island) was long home to an enormous dairy farm that housed more than 2,500 cows and calves. Because of the devotion of community activists, Big Island Dairy is now closed.

I spent a day with the rescues at Farm Sanctuary in Acton, and learned how unique each cow really is

Leo and Bruno

Considering the prevalence of endless traffic jams and high-speed car chases in Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine a cow toppling out onto an LA-area roadway and surviving. But that’s exactly the case for Bruno, the resident Black Labrador Steer at Farm Sanctuary in Acton. And in his tumble from the moving truck, he survived not only the fall, but an impending trip to the slaughterhouse to find long-term refuge at the sanctuary. …


good living for every being

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