Edgar’s Mission Passport
Clarabelle & Valentine
Clarabelle & Valentine
28/11/2014 & 14/02/2015
Grooming Valentine
Keeping my baby
Cows have strong maternal bonds
Certified true likeness
Clarabelle & Valentine’s story

The one baby she got to keep

Updated November 28, 2014

The heart-breaking reality of dairy cows and how this brave mamma was awarded the best Valentine’s day gift she could have imagined.

Although her baby was not expected for another week, Clarabelle’s behaviour was rather odd. Our first clue was her late arrival for breakfast, as she could always be counted on to be waiting patiently at the gate. Our second hint was her quick glance behind now and then, but it was the sole engorged teat that sent our hearts racing and our feet pacing as we then knew this dear Jersey cow had something to hide.

With sleuth-like precision we scanned the open paddock, but it was some distance away in our enchanted forest that we found the answer. A tiny, several-days-old heifer calf blinked at the world in wide-eyed wonder as a nervous Clarabelle looked on.

Renowned animal behaviorist and cattle expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, stated that the fear memories of cattle can never be deleted. As an older dairy cow, Clarabelle would have many. Cows are, after all, mammals, and like just like humans, they will only produce milk for their offspring. In order to keep the milk flowing, dairy cows are impregnated and then, shortly after giving birth, their much-loved babies are taken away so their milk can be harvested for human consumption.

But the good news for Clarabelle was that no one would ever take her baby away. Having been rescued and brought to Edgar’s Mission while pregnant, this was the baby she could keep forever, or, as they say in the classics “til the cows come home”.

Clarabelle’s calf was discovered on Valentine’s Day in 2015.

We christened her Valentine, in honour of the love between mother cows and their babies, and their strong, heart-warming family bond remains to this day.