The farmer could no longer deal with the guilt and decided to set the animals free.
59 year old farmer Jay Wilde sent his heard of 63 cows to Hillside Animal Sanctuary, in the UK. Wilde who is a vegetarian of 25 years said he could no longer deal with the pain of sending his animals to slaughter.
In a BBC interview Wilde, recalled his memories of herding “Cows have good memories and a range of emotions. They form relationships. I’ve even seen them cry,”
He continued, “It was very difficult to do your best to look after them and then send them to the slaughterhouse for what must be a terrifying death.”
The animal sanctuary that took them in confirmed that 30 of the herd are pregnant and the animals will now “live out their lives essentially as pets”.
Hillside Animal Sanctuary Founder, Wendy Valentine, said that Wilde is not the first farmer to donate his animals.
She spoke of a couple who “could not bear to continue dairy farming and kept their cows as pets with the help of the sanctuary”.
After the death of Wilde’s father in 2011, he switched from dairy farming to organic beef production, but claimed he always wanted to stop animal production as he “couldn’t believe it was right to eat them”. Talking to Hillside Animal Sanctuary he said “Cows are conscious of what goes on around them – they have personalities and an inner life. They’re not just units of food. Knowing them personally makes it more difficult to think about eating them.”
He expressed his concern with dairy farming and how the separation of Mothers and calves would cause extreme distress to the animals.
“I’m relieved to have made the decision to no longer farm animals, something which I always found quite upsetting,” he said.
Mr Wilde has decided to switch to running an organic vegan market, which will supply a range of fruit and vegetables without the need for animal products or fertilisers.
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