Mother Petal nuzzles her young calf Little Flower.

Rescued from the dairy industry: A mother and calf, safe at last.

Little Flower isn’t the first calf Petal has given birth to – but she is the first she will be able to bond with and care for.
Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 5 May 2022

For ten years, Petal has been trapped in the dairy industry. Each of her calves were taken from her so that her milk could be used for human consumption. Thankfully, Petal was surrendered to a sanctuary, and her new life is only just beginning…

Petal and her calf Little Flower are learning to navigate a new world – full of exciting enrichment and heartwarming companionship – where bonds will no longer be broken.

Petal and her sisters, Dottie and Gracie, sadly endured what most female animals are forced to endure on dairy farms across Australia and the world.  

Like humans and other mammals, mother cows produce milk to feed their young. To produce dairy products like milk and cheese, cows are kept almost constantly pregnant. And each time they give birth, their babies are taken from them shortly after – so that humans can take the milk 

After a decade trapped in this cycle, these three lucky cows were surrendered by a kind soul to animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission – where Petal gave birth to the last calf she will ever have, but the first she is able to keep.

It was here, on the safe and peaceful sanctuary grounds, that Petal gave birth to Little Flower.

For the first time in her lifetime, Petal’s calf – Little Flower – will get to stay by her side. And all three maternal cows are free to watch and dote over the curious little calf until the end of their days. 

This is what makes these captured moments between mother Petal, calf Little Flower, and aunties Dottie and Gracie, so special… 

What happens to calves born into the dairy industry?

Calves are taken from their mothers within their first few days of days of life on most farms across Australia and the world – even organic ones. 

Male calves, known as ‘bobby calves’, are considered ‘waste products’ of the dairy industry as they cannot produce milk. They are often killed at just a few days old. 

The fate of female calves bred into the dairy industry is no less grim. Many are raised to enter the dairy cycle of forced pregnancy and forced separation from their calves – repeated until their exhausted bodies slow in milk production, and they are sent to slaughter. 

By pledging to be dairy-free, we can each help to spare young calves from suffering the terror of a slaughterhouse.

The separation and killing of calves is possibly the dairy industry’s best kept secret. By shifting demand away from dairy products, to animal-friendly alternatives, we can spare animals from this cruel cycle of use and abuse.

Food that is kinder to cows and calves can be delicious and nutritious

With simple changes to the way we eat, we can create a more compassionate world where animals are seen for who they are, instead of what they produce. 

There are several sources of plant-based calcium — although the dairy industry has used clever marketing tactics to convince people otherwise – so you can be sure that while eating kindly for animals, you are looking after yourself too! 

With next to no effort, dairy products can be swapped out for an alternative in virtually any recipe. We’ve collated a list of some our favourite dairy-free alternatives here for all your cooking, baking, beverage, and dessert needs.  

If you are after further inspiration on your dairy-free journey, check out VegKit.com or order your free Veg Starter Kit today. Jam-packed with delicious recipes and tips on products, nutrition, and more, Veg Kit is a handy resource regardless of how experienced or inexperienced you are when it comes to animal-friendly food. 

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Calf Little Flower is drinking her mother's milk, in a grassy field at a sanctuary.

Take the dairy-free pledge below, for all mothers and their young

Petal and Little Flower’s story is heartwarming – but, sadly, it is rare. Most mothers and calves on dairy farms will face a very different fate.

Human consumption drives demand, so we each have the power as individuals to shift that demand away from industries that breed, use, and kill animals.

Pledging to be dairy-free is a powerful way to help shape a food system that is kinder to farmed animals, as well as wild animals and the planet we all share.

Make a simple but powerful change for mother cows and their calves.

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Animals Australia
By choosing to go dairy-free, you will help to spare these gentle and sensitive animals from cruel industry practices such as mother-calf separation and the killing of 'bobby calves'.

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