My Name Is Henry
Hi everybody – my name is Henry. I know this because I spent 4 hours with my Mommie before I was dragged away from her forever. In that short time with my mother she told me that I had a great, great grandfather who was a prized bull. His name was Henri and I’m named after him. He lived in a beautiul field with green grass and trees and a noisy, babbling creek. I don’t really know what any of those things are but it all sounded so nice.
NOTE: Some Pictures or Content May Be Graphic or Disturbing To Younger or Sensitive Readers
I’m not sure how my Mommie ended up in a dairy farm but I do know that she had a profound and permanent sadness about her. She was big and her body was soft and I felt very safe with her. I snuggled up to her just as close as I could get and stood there feeling her warm body next to mine. She licked my face ever so gently and her eyes, large and brown, were filled with such love for me – that I have never forgotten the short time I had with her.
My Name Is Henry
Then a man came and put a chain around my neck and dragged me away. I could hear her cries as I stumbled along the walkway to a pen where there were other little calves just like me. We cried until our throats hurt but no one came. Then a different man came with a big tool and put a hole in both of my ears and hung tags from them. It hurt a lot for a long time. I don’t know what the tags say. I stayed there for 3 days until my little legs were a bit stronger. Then the man came again and grabbed the chain around my neck and he took me to a wooden crate in a dark place.
There is no straw or bedding in my crate – nothing soft or warm. He snapped the chain to a ring on the wall. The crate was 22″ wide and 54 ” high. I couldn’t move except to lie down when my legs were really tired. I was so confined that I couldn’t scratch an itch or see out of my crate or turn around or walk or kick up my heels or groom or even stretch. I just stood there.
I was there for 20 weeks – that’s 140 days. I thought about my Mommie a lot and I missed her every day. In case you don’t already know – I am a veal calf. This awful business is a by-product of the dairy industry and it allows people to make a lot of money from unwanted male calves like me. I listen to the man talk as he feeds us – you see there are hundreds of young calves just like me in this dark, dreary and horrible barn. In case you’ve forgotten – my name is Henry.
They fed us an all liquid milk substitute which is deficient in iron and fiber to deliberately produce anemia in our little bodies. This results in the pale colored flesh that is typical of veal. My muscles are severely under-developed and I am so tired all the time. I can’t move so my muscles atrophy so you can have tender “gourmet” veal.
When I have to lie down – it’s not nice as my crate is covered in my own excrement. I have constant diarrhea. The man doesn’t give me much water and I’m always thirsty so I drink even more of the liquid food mix that I’m given. I don’t have any iron so I lick the bars and slats in my crate – I can’t help it. I get sores on my sides from rubbing against the crate and my tummy has ulcers. I’m not a healthy wee guy so the man gives me massive doses of antibiotics and other drugs just to keep me alive. One time I had pneumonia so the man gave me more drugs.
I Don’t Want To Be Like This
On a day that seemed like it was going to be the same as any other the man came again. This time he dragged my out of my stall by the chain around my neck. My wobbly, little legs had a hard time keeping up and I stumbled as he walked me towards a ramp that led to a big, noisy truck. Lots of other calves were already inside the truck. I was so afraid that I fell on the ramp so the man kicked me in the side until I struggled upright.
The veal calf industry is one of the most reprehensible of all the factory farming aspects of BigAg. If you want to help – just think about cutting out one meal a week that is related to animals. If the demand for veal decreases you could help to end the incredible suffering endured by veal calves.
Post Script – little Henry was shoved off the truck because he was unable to stand. Both of his front legs were broken. Because he was a “downer” he was tossed to the side of the slaughter house receiving pen while all the other calves were processed. Then he was dragged by his back legs with his sweet little face bumping against the concrete floor to a ramp. He was hoisted up and shoved down the kill chute. There was so much fear and pain and then there was nothing …
Henry’s Mother produced more calves and more milk until she was finally barren and no longer of use – then she too was loaded onto a truck and driven to her death. I wonder if she ever named another of her sweet calves? She always remembered Henry – and he in turn – never forgot her loving brown eyes! My name was Henry and I was a veal calf – I existed in this world for 3360 hours.