Fiona is a cow who lives on a beautiful farm in Millbrook, Ontario. She roams freely over lush, green pastures that are surrounded by forest. There are ponds full of fresh water to drink and she is part of a herd of very happy cows. A large bull named Gus watches over his “girls” protectively and they are all kept safe from predators. The farmers enjoy a gorgeous view from their farmhouse on the hill and they keep a close eye on the animals, making sure they are healthy and well cared for. This is life as close to what nature intended for these gentle souls. Playful calves romp in the field and nurse on their mothers’ milk every few hours. The herd even looks after the young that belong to the other cows, allowing them all to get a welcome break from the energetic young. Fiona is just over a year old, having been born on a warm, spring day in May of last year. She has grown well and her curious nature and friendly disposition make her a joy to have in the meadow. The farmers wander through the grass, frequently checking on their herd, and Fiona is always one of the first to hurry over and greet them. The cows’ trust in the farmers speaks volumes and shows the healthy relationship that they share. On a hot, summer day, a neighbor who lives nearby was flying his drone and trying to capture some video and pictures as he often does at this farm. Fiona took a serious interest in the drone and watched it curiously. She wandered closer and looked at it with wide eyes. The hum of the unfamiliar object in the sky completely captured her attention. Cows are much more intelligent than we give them credit for and they are quicker to recognize new things than we might believe. Her friendly face staring back at the camera was just as interesting to the drone operator who took quite a delight in watching Fiona from afar. Farms such as this one operate with herd health as their greatest priority, as opposed to maximizing profits. Ensuring that the animals are well cared for requires more effort and expense that cutting corners and focusing on production only. But the end result is a life that is cruelty free. When making our decisions about where to buy our food, it is important to remember that there are more important things than cost. Supporting farms, such as this one, where things are done ethically, doesn’t actually cost much more, but that slight difference in price goes a long way toward ensuring that we can eat with a cleaner conscience. Some people chose a vegan lifestyle and that is commendable, but for those who will still eat meat, a little research will show that ethical farms are not difficult to find.
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