Fiona is a beautiful cow with a very sweet disposition. She is four years old and she has lived her entire life on this wonderful farm in Ontario, Canada. The farmers here treat her more like a pet than a farm animal and she has responded well to the kindness. This is a farm where the cows spend their time wandering over vast expanses of pasture, through wooded areas and rolling hills. They have ponds full of fresh water to drink from. They only go in a barn during the harsh winter months when snow covers the grass and they need protection for the worst of the winter cold. Fiona is one of about 40 cows here. She has learned to trust people and she is not only relaxed around them, but she often seeks them out for affection and companionship. She will curiously approach most of the people who visit this farm and she is always willing to eat corn from somebody's hand. She will even stick her huge nose in a pocket or backpack to see what visitors have. Dave is a neighbour who loves all animals. He began visiting this farm in the spring when Fiona was very young and she has become very accustomed to him being in the meadow hanging out with the cows or helping with some of the farm tasks. The two have become very chummy over the last few years and Dave often brings her some treats of some kind. It's spring here in Ontario and Fiona and the herd have just been brought back to the pasture. They had been put in the barn in January when snow was deep and grazing was not possible. Now they have been set free again and their reaction was beautiful. Some of the cows trotted around and jumped, happily kicking up their heels. Many calves were born early and they had never seen the meadow until this day. They looked in wonder as they followed their mothers around this huge world. Fiona was obviously glad to see Dave again after a long period and she sniffed and nudged him happily when they met in the field. Dave took a seat on the grass, watching the newborn calves and the cows. Fiona soon joined him, lying down right beside him. She began chewing her cud and seemed to be looking for a head scratch as she relaxed in the sunshine. Dave decided he'd join her in a little grass and cud chewing too, which seemed completely natural and normal to Fiona. Fiona has a very cute calf who watched this interaction curiously from not far away. She is is three days old and she will no doubt learn to be as friendly as Fiona is. Cows are often greatly misunderstood. They are capable of emotion and far greater intellect than we give them credit for. Many people understand that these gentle souls have feelings and an appreciation for life. For various reasons, they choose a vegan lifestyle. While this is commendable, there are many people who will always eat meat. But doing so does not mean that food has to be sourced from large, factory farm operations that are known for cruelty and abuse for the sake of higher profit. "More ethical" farms like this one are easy to find. The animals enjoy a happy life until their last day. If we eat meat, we should at least consider supporting farmers who do things right. A little research, or even a visit to a local farm will make this choice an easy one.
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