Each year in New Zealand, approximately 1.8 million bobby calves are sent to slaughter as a by-product of the dairy industry.
Calves are separated from their mothers within a few days of birth. In the 12 hours leading up to slaughter the calves remain unfed, to make processing cleaner. Mother cows cry for their babies for days to weeks.
In rural New Zealand an animal sanctuary has a relationship with a dairy farm. The farm allows the sanctuary to save as many calves as they can find homes for. Bobby calf season consumes the sanctuary for the later months of a year. Homes are searched for and vetted. Contracts are signed to assure the calves will not be used for meat or milking. The sanctuary fosters the calves for weeks to months before they go to their new homes. Sick babies are nursed and sometimes mourned, with the silver lining being another life can be saved when one is lost.
The average number of calves the sanctuary manages to rehome per year is twelve. Two at a time, to ensure each has a friend at their forever home.