I want to share with you the story of a calf, who was given only a number by the veal industry - #2148. But today, I want to give this calf a name - Leo.
Leo was born on a dairy factory farm in Ohio, condemned to life as a
veal calf. An undercover investigator with Mercy For Animals came across Leo during his time documenting cruelty at a veal facility earlier this year.
Leo's misery started on his first day of life. Mere moments after his birth, a worker stole Leo away from his mother's side. His young, fragile body was dragged along the concrete floor of the factory farm shed - forever out of his mother's sight. Her panicked cries fell on uncaring ears. Leo never even knew the warmth of his mother's body. He never
experienced her gentle touch. He never knew her watchful eye or
experienced the feeling of safety under her protective guard. Rather,
Leo was destined to spend his life alone - languishing inside a veal
When he arrived at the veal farm, Leo was carted to a narrow wooden
crate barely larger than his body. A worker then wrapped a tight chain
around his neck and tethered him inside, where he would remain for the next 14 weeks - the entirety of his short, lonely "life."
Days turned to nights, but Leo could not see the sun or the moon.
Leo couldn't even turn around. He couldn't walk, explore, socialize, or
enjoy any of life's simple pleasures. Where there should have been grass and open fields, sunlight and fresh air, Leo had nothing - no mother. No freedom. No joy. No friends.
Day after day, all Leo could do was exist - covered in his own waste,
with nothing to do, or see, but darkness, concrete, and the sad faces of other baby calves who were unfortunate enough to be sentenced to the same fate.
When the time came, the doors of the factory farm shed loudly swung
open, exposing the blinding light of the outside world. Workers began to unchain the calves, one by one, then kicked and prodded them out of the shed and into an awaiting semi. The exhaust fumes, angry yelling of the workers, and frantic speed confused and frightened Leo.