The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

Charlotte’s Story: Birth and Motherhood in a Slaughterhouse


The young of pregnant animals sent to slaughter die unseen. Studies dating back to the 1950s reported that 26-30% of cows were pregnant when slaughtered.

MICHELLE BLAKE: In rural Oregon, a young calf takes her first breath with the help of a butcher’s knife. She is delivered by emergency C-section moments after her mother is slaughtered for meat. She is one of many neonatal animals whose lives begin on the kill floor. Later named Charlotte, this calf is extraordinarily lucky because she survives; she is one of the precious few who are rescued. The lives of most calves born in slaughterhouses end as soon as they begin. Charlotte is now a curious two-year-old whose best friend is a goose named Coco. She charms visitors at Wildwood Farm Sanctuary, where I volunteer. She’s our rambunctious redhead, with both the innocent curiosity of a toddler and enough strength to smash a barn door. It’s easy to forget that this happy, gentle creature gasped her first breaths among industrial carnage…

When cows enter slaughterhouses during late pregnancy, the only possible outcomes are that they will give birth shortly before dying or will be slaughtered with healthy calves inside of them. Given that an estimated 300 million cattle are killed for food worldwide each year, if about 25 percent of the females are pregnant at the time of slaughter, then roughly 35-40 million calves annually breathe their first and final breaths on a killing room floor. Mothers and newborns are common in slaughterhouses, even though some butchers harbor ethical qualms about transporting and slaughtering pregnant cows…

A 2019 study, based on observation of a Danish abattoir in 2017, finds that approximately 23 percent of cows entering slaughterhouses are pregnant. Similarly, studies conducted in the U.S. and U.K. dating back to the 1950s reported that 26-30 percent of cows were pregnant when slaughtered. While the sheer numbers may be alarming, the finer details of these animals’ conditions tell an even more gruesome story… Pregnant animals sent to slaughter, and their young, usually die unseen and anonymously. Only a miraculous few, like Charlotte, are enjoying life in sanctuaries, where people can visit them and learn their stories. SOURCE…


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