Reading Time: 2 minutes Some of the rescued animals (Photo: Supplied)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Campaigners have rescued 61 calves from a dairy farm in Hawaii – and are now in the process of rehoming the animals, Plant Based News can reveal.

The rescue from Big Island Dairy in Ookala, which took place on January 14, was coordinated by the Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue (HLFARN), with volunteers, donors, adopters, and core team members working together.

The rescue

HLFARN has told Plant Based News that the rescue follows Big Island Dairy receiving a Notice of Violation of the federal Clean Water Act for releasing animal waste into the nearby waterways. A lawsuit ensued, resulting in Big Island Dairy announcing the closing of its operations this spring.

“When a dairy closes its operations, the cows are usually auctioned off and distributed to slaughterhouses and other dairies. Big Island Dairy has roughly 2600 cows, heifers and calves, to remove from the premises,” HLFARN told PBN. “After initial meetings with representatives of the dairy, HLFARN received permission to remove a number of the cows for a negotiated fee.”

The group adds that Big Island Dairy has been helpful in providing reduced cost feed and selling milk replacer and bottles to provide adopters with resources to get started.

Calf rescue

“Rescuers assisted the two- and three-month-old calves as they left their crates with wobbly legs and were loaded onto trailers,” the spokesperson added. “These crates were the only home that the calves knew during their life at the dairy, eating, drinking, sleeping, and using the restroom there.

“They were not accustomed to feeling grass under their feet or the sun on their face, a life that is typical of any large scale dairy operation. Volunteers then spent the entire day (some not returning home until after midnight) distributing the calves to their new homes where adopters eagerly awaited their new charges.

“Calves were placed with adopters who met a certain set of qualifications including the appropriate acreage and shelter requirements, experience with cows, and ability to financially provide for their feed and veterinary needs. In addition, adopters had to agree that the calves were to only be treated as large pets, with a guarantee that they will never be used for milk or meat.”

HLFARN is currently paying the adoption costs, formula, feed, gas for transportation, and vet costs if necessary, upon initial adoption. You can support the rescue via Go Fund Me

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.