World Farm Animals Day

Today, Monday, October 2nd is World Farm Animals Day, created in memory of Ghandi, who believed in treating all living beings with respect. Meant to highlight the poor conditions suffered by farm animals in animal agriculture, we wanted to take the time to share Paolo's story. Paolo lives at Farm Sanctuary in Los Angeles and had a sad start to life, as most cows in the dairy industry do. Luckily, his story has a happy ending (a spoiler alert of the best kind). 


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Paolo, the Soulful Steer Whose Injury Saved His Life

Anyone who has visited the Southern California shelter has met our beautiful mahogany steer friend Paolo. And, it’s hard to imagine anyone meeting him and not falling madly in love with him. Paolo is gentle, kind, and mellow. While weekend visitors spend their time admiring, adoring, and lavishing attention upon him, Paolo stoically accepts their affection. Ten years of living at a sanctuary have treated Paolo well and he expects nothing less than love from the people he meets.

Paolo’s journey began with a healthy and deserved distrust of humans. Paolo is a brown Jersey, a cattle breed exploited in the dairy industry. As such, he was born to a mom who wasn’t allowed to nurse him and who had to watch him cast aside deemed useless as a male calf in the industry. Paolo likely then was sent to auction and sold cheaply to be raised for veal or beef, which is the typical fate of male calves born into the dairy industry. Thus, Paolo’s likely journey began with fear, sadness, and forced abandonment. 

From there, he landed at a small farm in Southern California, where he lived with many goats. Paolo and the goats lived in a pen without any secure shelter. Coyotes lived in the mountains nearby the farm and would often come down at night and prey upon these vulnerable animals. One night Paolo was attacked by a coyote or a pack thereof. Although he survived the attack, he was horribly wounded and left with a giant wound on his side. The wound was left untreated. Instead of getting Paolo proper medical care, the farmer duct taped the wound shut. Thankfully, a nearby neighbor knew that Paolo needed and deserved better care and called animal control. Due to the farmer’s failure to provide proper medical care, animal control officers seized young Paolo and brought him to the sanctuary where Paolo immediately received proper care. Paolo survived the ordeal without any lasting effects; however, Paolo does now carry the scar of that horrible attack. We hope it reminds him of how he gained his freedom and not the attack itself.

Paolo’s healthy wariness of humans quickly dissipated at the sanctuary, where he was nurtured and doted upon. As Paolo became confident that he was safe and in good hands, he came out of his shell and returned the affection.

As a young calf at the sanctuary, Paolo met his now best pal
Bruno, whom also had been recently rescued. Bruno bullied the smaller steer at first with the bad influence of some older steers. After the older, more rambunctious steers were transferred to another sanctuary location, Bruno calmed down and befriended sweet, young Paolo. The two have been bonded ever since. They spend their days lounging near one another and often can be found grooming one another.

Bruno is not Paolo’s only friend in the herd. Upon arrival, all of the young steers integrated into the herd are initially befriended by Paolo. Paolo grooms and mentors the youngsters. The newly initiated find comfort in Paolo’s friendship and often tag alongside him as anxious, fun-loving younger brothers. Each of these youngsters has outgrown Paolo, whose stature is more short and stubby, and then challenged him. Paolo seems to accept this rite of passage graciously, settling back into his role at the lower rung of the herd awaiting his next mentee.

With this same grace, Paolo meets and greets all of the visitors to the Southern California shelter. Unlike Bruno, who always accompanies Paolo in meeting visitors, Paolo does not wow visitors by licking them and putting on a show. His approach is much more subtle and simple. But that does not mean he doesn’t have super fans…

In repose, Paolo accepts all of the love and affection given him. And we welcome you to share his story. Together, we can encourage awareness and understanding about the deep emotional lives of cattle as well as the unfortunate truth about the beef and dairy industries. With a growing number of delicious dairy- and meat-free options and recipes, it’s never been a better time to make the switch. And it is one of the easiest ways to honor Paolo.

To see the full article click here.

I hope you all take a moment to make the connection to these wonderful animals and what you choose to put on your plate. A vegan diet is not only the most compassionate way to help animals, but improve your health and the planet's future.

Thank you!

xx Maria