Every year in New Zealand, millions of days-old ‘bobby’ calves – mostly males, but also females superfluous to requirements – are slaughtered.   It is the most tragic practice in an Industry that severely exploits dairy cows.

Fortunately there are individuals who rescue them.  They pay the farmer for them, look after them until they find a forever home paying for food and veterinary expenses, and sometimes they even continue to monitor them for the rest of their lives.

One of these individuals is Lynley Tulloch of the Starfish Bobby Calf Project.

Read Lynley’s article about New Zealand bobby calves here, first published by Vegan FTA.

(Featured image by Emere McDonald)




‘1803’. A Short Story By Lily Carrington

A dairy mother watches helplessly as her calf is taken away from her and killed.


I do not have a name. I have a number. 1803.

My black and white hide quickly becomes sodden as the taunting rain explodes like a million tears falling to earth. I stand by the heavy gate, my hooves unsteady in the mud, long lashes blinking in the rain. My heart pounds in my chest and my breath comes in harsh gasps.

I hid him this time, his newborn body disappearing easily in the long grass by the shrubs. But they found him of course, and took him away like last time. They think I am stupid but I remember.

“Get in there, you little piece of sh*t!” A male voice rises above the repeated crying of my baby from across the yard. A black bird flees from near the lean to where my one was dragged. Two bodies still lay outside the wonky structure from the day before. The dark coloured puddle that appeared around them has long washed away. I remember the sudden air splitting noise, one piercing crack followed by another, and seeing the two little bodies fall, one struggling on the ground for a while till they both went still.

A rough thumping then a squeal of pain sound from across the yard and another wave of anguish washes through me. A large tear escapes from one of my big brown eyes and mingles with the rain on my face.

“Stop your whining,” the voice continues. “you’re useless, you know that? No good for nothing”. My large soft ears twitch towards the sound. I know the voice. My whole self recoils from it. He has my baby, that human. I can just glimpse into the corner of the lean to where my baby stands on wobbly legs, shaking and looking around, confused. The man stands looking down at him and takes something black and solid from his jacket. I pace back and forth by the gate.

The man has stopped talking. I see him holding the black object to my baby’s head. He takes it away a fraction, looking at the gun then the tiny, weak calf in front of him and back to the gun again. He seems to hesitate, his brow furrowed. Then he shakes his head and roughly pushes my baby out of view, muttering something under his breath. I hear my calf start crying out again, high pitched, scared, cries. Calling for his mother.

I push against the gate again, but it doesn’t give. I try the fence but the strange pain flashes through my body like I knew it would and I pull back abruptly. I pace again, the blood from labour now mixed with mud on my hind legs and my udder hanging heavy with milk ready for my calf.

A gunshot sounds. My babies crying stops. I let out a long, mournful cry, then let my head hang and do not move for a long time.

See also:






Lily Carrington is a dedicated animal rights activist who is driven by a strong sense of justice for all beings. She is fighting for a world where all non human animals are granted respect, compassion and freedom. Lily lives in Hamilton, New Zealand, with her Mum and 10 companion animals, and has recently graduated from school. 

Slaughterhouse Vigil, Whanganui, New Zealand 1 September 2019

End Animal Slaughter website owner Sandra Kyle has been attending and documenting slaughterhouse vigils for years, the last several under The Save Movement banner.

This is her latest vigil, at the AFFCO Imlay slaughterhouse in Whanganui, New Zealand.



My Vigil partner Monica is still away so I did the Vigil alone today, at the slaughterhouse that specialises in killing sheep and bobby calfs, main male babies, slaughtered at just days old because they are a ‘waste product’ in the dairy industry. I was hopeful I would bear witness to a truckful of bobbies, as many are being born and transported around now  (two million average are killed every year in New Zealand).   However, none came while I was there.

Instead, a load of sheep arrived. The road between Whanganui and  Palmerston North an hour’s drive away are filled at the moment with mother sheep sitting in paddocks with their little lambs, who trot after them wherever they go. I wonder how many babies are missing their mothers today, and if any of the girls in my photos are pining for their offspring? At Christmas it will be the lambs’ turn to board the truck for the slaughterhouse, and then the horror cycle will start all over again.

In Christianity and other schools of thought lambs are a symbol of purity and cleanliness. For reason of his stainless nature (and also because he was ‘sacrificed’) Jesus Christ was called the ‘Lamb of God’. But not only lambs, all animals are free from sin. They are completely innocent. And instead of loving and protecting them we slaughter them on an industrial scale, the most relentless, heartless and destructive behaviour ever inflicted on sentient beings.

Look into the faces of these sheep, and recall RALPH WALDO EMERSON:-

“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”

RIP dear sentient beings.  We will continue fighting for you.