Five calves rescued by animal sanctuary ‘should be with their mothers’

Five calves rescued by Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Photo: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Five calves rescued by Hillside Animal Sanctuary. Photo: Hillside Animal Sanctuary - Credit: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Five calves, rejected as by-products of the dairy industry, were taken in by a Norfolk animal sanctuary.

A swan, rescued by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, reunited with her mate. Photo: Hillside Animal Sanctua

A swan, rescued by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, reunited with her mate. Photo: Hillside Animal Sanctuary - Credit: Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Hillside Animal Sanctuary, based in Frettenham, have been helping animals since 1995.

And in one of their most recent rescues, they gave homes to five male calves.

Founder Wendy Valentine said: 'They were rescued by a lady who lives in Leicester and we've taken them in.

'They are all male, and here they'll be able to grow up and live out the rest of their lives, to around 15 years old.'


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Mrs Valentine said male calves were often the victims of the dairy industry.

A cow would naturally suckle her calf for nine months to a year but calves born on dairy farms are taken away from their mothers within a few days of birth.

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And while female calves are useful to farmers, as they will eventually enter the dairy herd, the male calves are usually not kept.

'Cows are put in calf to produce milk,' Mrs Valentine said.

'Farmers don't want the calves drinking the milk. So some are put to sleep, others may be sold.'

She also said the separation immediately after birth could be extremely traumatic, as a strong mother-infant bond is formed between cow and calf.

'They should be with their mothers,' she added.

'It's like with humans, a bond is made.

'The mother is mentally and physically affected, as you can imagine.'

Mrs Valentine said there were thousands of calves in similar positions, and they had cows at the sanctuary which had been able to grow older than they would have, had they not been rescued.

'Farmers have told me that they didn't know the cows could get so big,' she said.

'But that's because they're not usually allowed to grow to their full size.'

Volunteers from Hillside also recently rescued a swan with an injured wing.

She was reunited with her mate after rescuers could not bear to see them kept apart.

Although the swan needed her wing to be amputated, she has now recovered and ready to be released onto Hillside's pond.

• To find out more about Hillside Animal Sanctuary, you can visit their website at www.hillside.org.uk, call 01603 736200 or email contact@hillside.org.uk.

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