Sarien Slabbert makes a face with baby Rusty Brown during the trip from the Lower Mainland to the Central Okanagan. Rusty now has a home at Arion Therapeutic Farms. - Contributed

Calf finds home in B.C. sanctuary after it’s saved from slaughterhouse

You can see Rusty Brown at Arion Therapeutic Farm in Kelowna

A Kelowna animal sanctuary has rescued a calf that’s fate was the slaughterhouse.

Heather Henderson, founder and director of Arion Therapeutic Farms, said the farm decided to take the calf.

“I’m a sucker and I love animals,” she said.

The calf was one of 10 destined for a slaughterhouse on the Lower Mainland, before an employee had a change of heart.

Eleven-week-old Rusty Brown arrived at the farm on Boxing Day.

“We’ve never been offered a cow, ironically enough. We’ve been around for 10 years and people often ask ‘why don’t you have a cow?’” Henderson said.

READ MORE: B.C. animal sanctuary rescues three calves scheduled for slaughter

It wasn’t a rescue in the sense that the calf was abused or neglected, she said, it was a standard industry practice. The cow came from a dairy farm.

“It’s a big undertaking. People don’t realize cows can be bigger than horses and eat as much as a horse. When taking in an animal this size you have to consider the habitat,” Henderson said.

Henderson said the dairy industry isn’t sustainable long-term because of the amount of space and resources used to produce dairy products. She said it’s also unsustainable for sanctuaries to take care of the animals.

“These are all the bigger picture things that fall into it, people think when they’re rescued they’re being abused… in this case of this particular scenario it’s just an everyday thing that happens,” she said.

Sarien Slabbert is a volunteer organizer who helped connect the calves with their forever homes. She also set up a GoFundMe for the sanctuaries to provide them with medicine and other supplies.

She, along with her husband, transported the calf to Kelowna in the back of their minivan, driving the Coquihalla during a snowstorm.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, and getting more involved with the farm animals, there isn’t an SPCA for farm animals, and unfortunately there’s nobody to help if someone is willing to surrender and give freedom to (them),” Slabbert said.

She also helped rehome a pig that fell off a transport truck headed to the slaughterhouse.

Three of the 10 calves were homed at Critteraid in the South Okanagan.

Originally, volunteers from different parts of the community saw a post on Craigslist to home the calves.

Fabia Marlatt saw the post online and contacted Amy Soranno for help. She posted it on her Facebook which is where Slabbert saw it and then contacted Carrie Shogan from Little Oink Bank Pig Sanctuary for help. All four women started a group chat to co-ordinate with sanctuaries.

To find Slabbert’s GoFundMe visit https://www.gofundme.com/saving-5-babie-calfs.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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