More to Mayflower than meets the eye

By Cindy Hedrick

For The Sun News

Mayflower at S.C. CARES
Mayflower at S.C. CARES Submitted

Mayflower is a 7-year-old Charolais Bovine heifer and one of the two cows that live at SC CARES. I’ve been hesitant to write about her because of the circumstances that are involved in factory farming and the fact that so many people are unaware of what actually takes place in the lives of “food industry” animals. It’s not “Old McDonald had a farm” anymore. Mayflower was born on the slaughterhouse floor to her mom that had been producing milk for probably between five and eight years. In the dairy industry cows are impregnated (usually artificially) so that their bodies will produce milk. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that just like humans, a mother’s milk is only in supply when she is birthing a baby so heifers are continually impregnated so that they will continue to make milk. They’re also given hormones to keep milk production plentiful and of course antibiotics to keep them healthy enough to continue. Their milk is then taken from them to be sold in grocery stores for humans rather than fed to their offspring for which it was intended. Between 5-8 years the heifer’s body is no longer able to continue this pace and these cows, called “spent”. They are then slaughtered for their meat and in most cases ground for hamburger since they’ve been unable to move about like they should for most of their lives; their muscles are usually atrophied and tight. One of the byproducts of this industry are the calves they produce after being impregnated. If the calf is female she may be put with a nursing mother to be raised and replenish the dairy industry once she’s of age. If the calf is male they are in most cases used for veal farms.

Mayflower, for whatever reason, was not put with a nursing cow but was pushed aside and left to die. Thankfully someone called a nearby farm rescue, Cotton Branch Sanctuary, and they took her in. They bottle fed her and raised her until she was 2 years old. Mayflower was the only cow at the sanctuary at that time and because of this is now what it called “imprinted” meaning she doesn’t realize she’s a cow! A 1600 lb cow who thinks she’s a 10 lb puppy!! She doesn’t moo and romps around when she gets excited. She’s even stood up on her hind legs in the past and let me tell you she is massive from the perspective of being the scrawny human underneath her!! We took Mayflower in to be companions with Norman, the only other cow we had. Norman had a leg broken as a calf and the break wasn’t set properly and he didn’t get to nurse as often as he should so he’s stunted in size and gets around ok but is a little crippled with the calcified leg. With Norman’s issues the two can’t be in the same area together but do lay with each other at the fence. Cows can live 20-25 years if cared for properly and here at SC CARES we do our best to give them that chance! If you’d like to visit SC CARES call 843-546-7893 to book your tour or you can visit our website for more information about our animal friends!