On 7th May 2023, Helen, a 19-year-old blind cow arrived at Uncle Neil’s Home Farm Sanctuary (UNH), in Mantua Township, New Jersey, US. She arrived there one day after her 19th birthday, which seems an impossible old age for a dairy cow, but if cows were not killed so young by the animal agriculture industry they can live for more than 20 years. Helen was born on 6th May 2004 on a dairy farm where she lived for the last 19 years.
In an Instagram post, the sanctuary wrote the following: “The first few days were very hard on her. It was a long ride, she was in a new environment for the first time in her life, her food was different, her space was different. Everything changed in an instant and she was scared. Through tons of love, conversation, and music — which she loves — she began to eat, settle in, and has been feeling much better. Helen saw our vet twice already and he said that he has never met a 19-year-old cow before. That is because in the dairy industry, cows are typically killed before 6 years old, often younger. Helen is the oldest cow he’s ever met- It’s a painful thought, and makes us even more grateful that she’s here. Helen does have osteoarthritis, confirmed by X-rays taken today, and we are waiting for her bloodwork results. We will keep you updated on her health. Helen spends no less than 12 hours a day on her feet grazing, feeling the wind, and listening to all of the new sounds.”
She has been placed in medical quarantine for a few weeks before she meets any new bovine friends. She got to such an old age on a dairy farm because after Helen stopped producing milk after giving birth yearly at age 15, she was looked after by someone at the dairy farm for the last four years. The sanctuary wrote in another Instagram post, “We feel so grateful and lucky that her caretaker has trusted us with her and we will continue to make sure that every day from here on out is the best day of Helen’s life. She has touched our hearts and completed our family in ways that we cannot explain, and we hope that she has touched your hearts and your minds, too. Please, please, please- stop harming non-human animals. For Helen and everyone else who cannot speak for themselves.”