Author: Nicola Harris.
When organizers from Rostock Animal Save heard about two bull calves with pneumonia on a dairy farm in Mecklenburg Vorpommern they set out on a rescue mission to save their lives.
Snatched from their mothers at birth, the calves were destined for a short life of violence and oppression, as is standard on dairy farms. Jule from Rostock Animal Save says, “The milk system is sick and completely broken for humans and animals. The innocent children born on these oppressive farms are seen as nothing more than commodities and if they do not yield a profit they are wistfully discarded.”
Someone living near to the farm alerted Rostock Animal Save to the situation and they immediately launched an investigation. The group discovered the farm was unwilling to pay the €50 veterinary fees to treat the calves, since their “financial worth” was a mere €30.
The group approached the farm and started to negotiate their release, but it was not an easy task, “The farmer wanted to kill them and we literally had to beg him to show mercy and release them to us. To our surprise it worked and we gave the farmer a hamper of vegan food in return. The farmer said he was glad he didn’t have to kill them in the end, so he still has a bit of heart.”
Without the action of Rostock Animal Save, these beautiful boys would have been left to die.
On the day of the liberation, rescuers were saddened by what they saw, “We were watched by many sad eyes on the dairy farm. So many calves were imprisoned in tiny boxes and we could only save these two. That broke our hearts. We would have loved to take them all with us.”
Oskar aged 5 weeks and Pepe aged 3 weeks set off on their adventure. First of all they received urgent medical care for a fever and pneumonia before settling into their new home at the Calf Nursery, a sanctuary where cows rescued from the dairy industry are able to live out their lives without fear and exploitation by humans.
During their recovery they are resting up together in a cosy stall full of fresh hay and a heat lamp. Oskar is a great support for Pepe who is more nervous and likes to stay close to him, but once they are feeling better they will have lots of new friends to make and for most of the year will live in protected pastures in the middle of a beautiful forest.
Rostock Animal Save organizers try to help whenever they see suffering. Two years ago they were able to rescue two sheep (one of which was pregnant) from slaughter as well as some lonely rabbits. They hold monthly animal vigils in front of a cow and chicken slaughterhouse where they bear witness to truck-fulls of animals arriving to be killed. They document the horrific suffering to show people through photos and videos the violence that ends up on their plates.
In Germany there is an advertising slogan, ‘the milk does it’ and activists find this is deeply anchored in people’s minds and they still believe dairy makes bones stronger. The group regularly engage in street activism to counter this and encourage everyone to become vegan and join them, “The vegan lifestyle only has advantages, and no disadvantages for anyone. Together we are stronger and can make a difference.” They say that milk alternatives are easily accessible all over Germany and you can even buy oat milk in the smallest of villages.
If you would like to sponsor Oskar and Pepe with a one off or regular donation to help towards their vet bills, food and housing, please contact Rostock Animal Save. It is estimated that it will cost €200 a month to take care of them.
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Interview conducted with organizer Jule from Rostock Animal Save
Jule is 42 years old and lives in a small village near Rostock in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Without a plan or a clue they became vegan 7 years ago for health reasons. Being a trained cook helped, as well as books and YouTube videos. A year into vegan living Jule met new vegans who informed them about animal rights. zoos, circuses and factory farming. Learning that there is no difference between a dog and a pig, so why stroke one and eat the other changed their life and thinking fundamentally. The subject became deeply important and Jule now organizes monthly vigils in front of slaughterhouses to show people through photos and videos the suffering ends up on their plates.