Dear friend of farm animals,
I’ve just returned from two of the most intense days I’ve ever experienced in my time rescuing animals at Farm Sanctuary. I have a harrowing story to share. It will break your heart and give you hope at the same time.
We received a call about a calf on the loose — just a baby, alone and living under a tractor trailer near a run-down apartment complex. It turned out that he had been out there since August - eating what little grass he could from a hilly, rocky, thorn-filled field full of rusty equipment and trash — at least until the ground froze and was covered with several inches of snow. The area was surrounded by people who were very enthusiastic about “shooting the calf for some veal.” It was clear he was in more danger every day he was out there.
Once we learned of this lost calf, our Emergency Rescue Team immediately mobilized to bring him to safety. From afar, we could tell that he was emaciated, stunted in growth, and absolutely terrified of people. When we could finally get closer, we noticed a chain around his neck that must have been put on him recently - someone had attempted to capture him.
We spent more than 20 challenging and emotional hours luring this terrified baby with food and water. We even brought another calf, Ari, along in the safety of our trailer to moo in hopes of convincing the lost calf to come to safety. Unfortunately, his fear kept him away. For more than 10 hours, we could not get closer than six feet without him running back into the thorny brush.
Finally — good news! We were able to catch him several hours later. Because of his body condition and concerns about his health, we drove him directly to Cornell University’s Large Animal Hospital. He is still frightened, but has started to eat and drink water. Now it is up to us — with your help — to nurse him back to health. We have named him Nik.
I’ve posted a few pictures from the rescue site here. Please, if you have a moment, will you take a look and make a special year-end gift to Farm Sanctuary to help us care for Nik and rescue and care for more farm animals like him?
It was cold, exhausting and stressful as we worked in shifts to rescue Nik. But it was nothing compared to what this boy experienced over the first five months of his young life. This month’s temperatures have been frigid, in the single digits. Can you imagine this calf, night after night, alone, starving, in pain — freezing cold and frightened beyond belief?
Nik is safe now at Cornell University — but his situation is still critical. He has a very thick crusty rash on both the inside and outside of his ears — probably from frostbite, and he is exhausted. The initial exam revealed a heart arrhythmia. Blood work will show us if he has any diseases or underlying infections. With his adrenaline running so high from his fear, it is difficult to accurately assess his condition without running further tests. He is clearly malnourished — 200 to 300 pounds underweight and we are unsure of what further damage this malnutrition may have caused. Psychologically, he has a long way to go, but we hope he will soon learn to trust. Right now, every treatment must be administered slowly and quietly in an effort to keep him calm. His fear is palpable.
I know you agree with me that no animal should suffer like this. If you can, please make an immediate contribution to our Emergency Rescue Fund for Nik’s care and to rescue more farm animals from cruelty and provide them with lifelong care.
I will keep you posted on Nik’s progress. He is a fighter, but with the food and critical medical care he needs, and the love of caregivers and supporters like you, I am confident that he will make it.
Thank you for reading this, and best wishes to you and your family during this holiday season.