Posted on Jan 03, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
A week ago we didn’t know he existed as we went about our lives and routines; making the bed, cooking breakfast, feeding the dogs, and going to the movies, blissfully unaware. Then we got a call that changed everything. By the time we had pulled out of the slaughterhouse driveway with a little-orphaned calf buckled into the back seat next to me, his head resting in my lap, I was already in love. And over the course of three days, I poured my heart and soul into him, believing that saving him would have righted a horrendous wrong. No baby should ever be born in a slaughterhouse. No mother should ever be ripped away from her baby, slaughtered as she cries for him. And no baby should ever be left on a concrete floor alone. Yet this goes on in slaughterhouses across the country every day.
Christmas never got enough colostrum, milk, or time with his mom at the slaughterhouse. He was weak and dehydrated. By the time he arrived at The Gentle Barn his body was no longer able to digest food, and his organs were failing. Because of the love we gave him, he tried to live, he tried to overcome, but his body was already too broken to survive. After working with three veterinarians, trying every treatment they could think of, all I had left was my prayers. I wrapped my arms around him and held him. I sang songs to him. I whispered in his ears how much he was loved and how much he mattered. I stroked his baby fur. And I kissed his forehead. He became weaker and less responsive through the night, and at two in the morning when he arched his back and his little legs started running in place I knew he was leaving. I closed my eyes and envisioned him lifting easily and effortlessly out of his body, unafraid and at ease. I felt his mother’s warmth as she came for him. And in that moment I didn’t feel sorrow, that would come later, I felt peace and pride that I could walk him home. His struggle and pain was over. There was no longer cruel people, physical pain, or the sadness over losing his mom; he was free.
This sad little journey happens for animals all the time, but most die unnamed, unloved, unheard, and definitely not held in loving arms. But here’s the good news: we determine whether this story continues. We are the ones supporting the meat industry and we are the ones who can end it. They exist because we’re buying their products. And the minute we stop buying their products is the minute the meat industry ends, and the suffering ends with it. There is no greater New Year's resolution than to go vegan! There is no other decision that will heal our bodies, sustain the planet, and bring peace to animals, like going vegan. It is the most powerful, most effective, most impactful thing we can do to stand up to injustice, be the voice for the voiceless, and bring peace to animals. Please join us in adopting a vegan diet, let us know how we can support you, and let’s create a gentle world together, for Christmas, and for all of us!