VINE Sanctuary News
We don’t know whether she escaped with her newborn or while still pregnant. We don’t know whether she escaped from a dairy or a slaughterhouse. We do know that she ran in the woods for three or four months with her calf and a companion, the two adults doing everything they could to keep the calf safe.

A group of hunters, led by a man who resented the cows for being free, began to stalk and chase the trio. One day, they shot and killed her companion, whose dying bellows echoed through the woods.

Hearing the gunfire and anguished bellowing, a landowner rushed outside, opened their property to the fleeing mother and calf, and warned the armed men to stay away. Checking with local authorities, the landowner learned that no-one had claimed the loose cows and that she was therefore free to keep them, now that they were on her property. But the hunters were still determined to catch and kill them. She feared that the hunters would trespass or that the frightened cows, who she had begun calling Ebony and Ivory, might jump the fence and be in danger again.
The landowner contacted Farm Sanctuary who contacted us. We agreed to offer the mother and son refuge here, even though doing so would put us one over our budgeted maximum of 40 cows. But we needed to wait two weeks, for Jasper to heal from eye surgery, before adding two potentially disruptive (due to their terror) cows to the herd. Farm Sanctuary kindly went to pick up Ebony and her son Ivory, vetted them, and kept them safe and well fed for those two weeks before bringing them to VINE. One Farm Sanctuary staff member said that "I can't even begin to describe the fear we witnessed in the short amount of time we housed these two."

Ebony and Ivory arrived at VINE last Friday and were immediately greeted by a community of cows (as well as two alpacas) eager to meet them. Perhaps picking up on Ebony’s anxiety, elder dairy survivor Rose made it her business to soothe and guide the young mother. At first, Ebony hid her son behind a rock wall and did not allow him to leave her side. Within a couple of days, she became comfortable enough to allow the other cows to watch him while she ate or drank. 

They are both VERY wary of people, and Ebony also seems to feel nervous about goats, chickens, and sheep. Twice she has become visibly agitated when sheep have come between her and her calf. For his part, Ivory seems to see sheep as potential playmates. He has had a grand time romping with young cows Gemini and Shasta, and Ebony has been able to stand with Autumn (who is the surrogate grandmother of those two) watching the youngsters play.
Ebony is still very skinny as a result of the weeks she spent in the woods, eating whatever she could find while still nursing her calf. One morning, she followed Anna around during morning chores, tasting each of the kinds of feed (pigeon food, emu food, etc.) that Anna was distributing. This was simultaneously heart-warming (because she felt comfortable enough to do this) and heart-breaking (because it’s so clear that she has known real hunger and was anxious about getting enough even after getting a double helping of breakfast grains). 

Only a week after arrival, Ebony is already much more relaxed. This morning, she remained lying down, instead of jumping up to be on guard, when Anna arrived to do morning chores. At breakfast time, as Anna was distributing breakfast grain from behind a half-wall, Ebony actually stretched her neck to sniff her face.

As much as we feel horror and sorrow at the fear Ebony has suffered, first on the farm, then during the months on the run, and especially when hounded by hunters, what we feel most of all when we look at her is admiration. Yes, she must have been terrified. And  she did what she needed to do to get herself and her son free and then to keep him safe and well-fed, no matter what. We feel inspired to try to match her courage, and we hope you will too.

We've also been inspired by the way that the cow community has come together to help the newcomers. And, now that those newcomers have brought our cow population to 41 — one more than our budgeted maximum — we’re hoping that our community will come together to help us ensure they have everything they need.
Make your gift recurring to ensure that Ebony, Ivory, and all of the members of their new community have everything they need every month!
Upcoming Events
Gentle Thanksgiving -- Nov 23
VINE's pattrice jones will be the guest speaker at the New Hampshire Animal Rights League's annual Gentle Thanksgiving potluck. All are welcome to this free event, at which attendees will celebrate the lives of turkeys and other animals while enjoying delicious vegan food. Details here .
Party for Turkeys -- Nov 30
Our annual post-Thanksgiving party for turkeys (and their friends) here at the sanctuary will be our last public day of the year, so don't miss this opportunity to become part of the VINE community, meeting animals as you help us prepare for winter.The day will include a tour and vegan snacks with sanctuary staff. Details here.
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VINE Sanctuary, 158 Massey Road, Springfield, VT 05156
VINE (Veganism Is the Next Evolution, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation (EIN 52-2248977)