First, I want to thank everyone who has ordered a calendar – it is pretty exciting for me, both to see that some people want to buy my calendar, but also to be able to do a small fund raiser for Poplar Spring. I’ve had this in my head for so long, having put it into action after all this time is almost surreal! In the best possible way, of course.
Last weekend I was reminded that I’ve often tried to portray, with iffy results, just how gigantic the male Holsteins, like Norman are. When people come to the sanctuary, they’re amazed at their size. “I’ve never seen cows so big!” they often exclaim.
And they’re right. When would they have ever had a chance to see an adult male dairy cow, outside of a sanctuary?
Never, of course. They’re killed within days, or within a month, depending on whether they are killed immediately after birth and buried in a trench, or slaughtered for veal at a month old. Not that it is just the male calves who are discarded in this manner – the girls have the same fate, save for a few who will be “reserved” to become replacements for their spent mothers.
There are quite a few female cows at the sanctuary whose fate would have been veal had they not been rescued. The females Holsteins are plenty big, but the males…they are enormous. This is due to the genetic manipulation of the farmers, out to maximize their profits. The males end up with health issues related to their immense size that drastically shorten their lives. The farmers have no idea that this is a side effect of their manipulation, since the only adult male Holsteins they ever see are the rare ones they keep for “stud” services. Not that you can convince me the farmers would care, in any case.
Last weekend as we picked up poop in the pig yard, I happened to see Norman grazing right near the fence to the pig yard, and a couple of the pigs were grazing on their side, right next to him. There was my shot, I realized. The shot that might finally show the crazy size that Norman really is.
He is probably 6′ at the shoulder.
Whenever I see him, I can’t help but to say (usually silently!) “Norman is enormous!”
We all say that, and with a little boy’s lisp.