Skip to Main Content

A Downed and Abandoned Cow

Written by PETA | July 7, 2009

For two days, the exhausted dairy cow had lain in the pasture, dying. Her eyes were missing, probably eaten by birds. A commuter passing by saw her and had been trying desperately to get help, with no luck. Eventually, this kind person, frantic to find help for the tormented animal, contacted PETA’s after hours emergency hotline, and we were able to work with law enforcement officials, urging them to take immediate action.


It’s hard to believe that this cow was still alive when help finally arrived, but it’s much harder to imagine the tremendous anguish that she must have endured.
Downed Cow


Our caseworkers stayed on the phone late into the night as deputies knocked on every door in the area, waking up residents in hopes of finding out who owned the property and the cow. After hours of searching, the man was finally located, and the deputies were mercifully able to put an end to the cow’s suffering.

Unfortunately, this story is not unusual in the meat and dairy industry, where living beings are looked at as property and products. In fact, cows too sick to walk or stand are so common on factory farms and in slaughterhouses that there’s a word for them: downers.

It’s easy to look at cows in a field and think that they live idyllic lives, but they’re commonly subjected to abuses that could warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if they were dogs or cats. Fortunately, though, it’s so easy to opt out of contributing to their misery.

And I know that we just talked about this, but it bears repeating: If you see an animal who is suffering, report it to the authorities—and don’t give up until they do something about it!

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • April says:

    Wow This is horible. It makes me horibly sad when I think of all the cruel things done to animals…

  • Kari says:

    I’m a dairy famer myself and to hear “dairy is murder” rips my heart out. My cows are everything to me.. The only time farmers make it on the news is the once in a million chance a cow is beaten. All my friends and family are dairy famers too and if you saw the compassion and love for animals you’d understand how I feel. Seeing a down cow can be sad to see and seeing the large commercial dairy farm’s where the cow’s are’t put to pasture sounds wrong but it doesn’t mean we should protest and boycott farmers! This is my first time visiting the PETA website and I am not impressed whatsoever.

  • Logan says:

    This post probably will catch hell but here it goes. Cows die all the time from c auses unrelated to actions from the ranchers. A cow can have heart attack it can be picked off by a pack of coyotes or maybe they overheat in the summer perhaps a bolt of lightning electrocutes them. The fact of the matter is that there are many ways that cattle deaths arn’t the ranchers fault. And any good rancher tries to keep their cattle healthy and live long lives.

  • Logan says:

    Kimberly I don’t know. I flew back home the next day. And they only use some for beef. They just let the rest grow up and either have calves if their hefers or mingle if their steers. The bulls are kept seperate till they my grandperants let them loose in a female herd to mate. Some cattle get sold at auctions. Rev. The calf fell in apperantly after someone no idea who left a fence open. It and its mother apperantly wandered in and the calf fell in. The cow gave up and had left. We where unloading steel fence pannels when my grandpa got called by HIS father who said some guy called saying they found the calf. The “Some guy” might have been the owner of the property. They said they tried to get it out but couldn’t. And yes they lease the property. After we got the calf out we covered the hole with an old outhouse conveniently sitting next to the hole. This is the only time my grandfather had even heard of this happening.

  • Joanna says:

    You can make a difference by cooking vegan food that enlightens the senses and mind and serving it to friends at work potlucks and to your family. I experienced alot of personal anguish when I first thought I had a problem morally eating meatmilketc. Once I decieded to jump in and convert my favorite recieps to vegan I became more inspired. Now my friend are always asking what am I bringing. They love the fruit pies with seasame butter crust in place of real butter the enciladas filled with grilled veggies and black beans topped with spreadable tofu poppers made with veggies and more. I say the way to a man or woman’s heart is through his stomach. Once people realize there is nothing lost by eating vegan they will be much more open to it. Just saying ‘Don’t Eat Meat’ does not get you too far. It feels treatening when you do not know what else you can eat that is going to taste good. People are very food oriented. Remember the media and corporate America has been working on our minds for years to make us believe that we need milk burgers and ham. Give people a chance to learn otherwise and they can change. BTW If it’s unethical to have a pure breed dog then is it also unethical to eat a Gala Apple Bell Pepper or Iceberg Lettuce?

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Logan I applaud the effort you and your grandparents expended to get the calf out of the septic tank but my question is how did it get in the septic tank in the first place? And is the property the calf was on leased by your grandparents? And are steps being taken to make sure this does not happen again?

  • meena says:

    I feel I am blessed being vegetarian by birth as my parents hv taught meborn as hindu we refrain frm meat.chicken fish and eggs tooafter reading al this atleast I am not guilty.Try nd turn everyone you know to be a vegan.

  • Abigail Peck says:

    God bless the kind man that helped that cow. Shame there are alot of people out there that do not share the same love and compassion.

  • Logan says:

    Oh and cattle are fkin tough! I once saw a cow get knocked over while running and got stepped on by at least 20 head and just got up like it was nothin!

  • Kimberly says:

    grace what happened to the cow after you released it into the pasture? What do they do with the cows in the pasture? Keep them for pets or food? Seeing cows in pastures anywhere is sad sad sad! You know their fate!

  • Steve says:

    I am in horrible pain thinking of this poor cow. And of other animals that are treated with such disregard and cruelty. And for what? Scientific experiments commercial property and consumption. Whatever happen to pity and compassion? Kindness and respect? May God have mercy on all those who perpetrate such violence upon all other living and sentient beings.

  • Jamie says:

    nature is cruel a lot of the time but we do not have to be cruel.

  • Tina Max says:

    I can’t even read these things anymore. If there is someway I can help I do so or doate I do so but to read these articles is too heartwrenching.

  • Logan says:

    you people have no idea what most ranchers will do to save a cow calf just last week i was in Colorado with my ranching grandparents and we spent over an hour trying to get a calf out of a septic tank of a long abandond house. we didn’t realize it was down there bc we where fixing a fence that day. it was on a leased property 10 miles away. it was in ok health and we sent her free back in the pasture it was supposed to be in. i hope she is ok.

  • grace says:

    Of course there are terrible abuses that occur on farms. It is difficult to try ot convince people of this. I live in Texas most of the time I don’t tell people that I’m vegetarian ause I don’t want to get into a debate with uncaring morons. Most people I talk to even family friends don’t understand my choices don’t think of animals as important or relevant at all except as food. It can be very lonely at times. I will still try to make a differnece for animals by protesting when possible volunteering at the local humane society.

  • Desirae says:

    Who but US can speak for these poor neglected and abused animals? My husband and I are pledging a montly donation for them can you help please?

  • carol says:

    Aww I feel so bad about those animals I resently bought a hay farm and I also bought 11 anugus cows in 4 were pregnant and people ask me all the time if I’m going to sell them to have them slautered in I say hell no they are not going to suffer in my farms a rescue farm in just about 2 weeks ago I rescued a retired race horse his name is joe in his owners were going to have him put down unless they found a home for him in I don’t think he had much contact with people because he trys to stay away from people when he’s in the pasture in now I have 6 horses 4 regular in 2 minis and I have 14 angus cows and 2 ducks 2 farm cats 4 rabbits 18 chickens and 2 goats and I have 3 chihuahuas and 3 cats at home and I have 3 cats at my farm house and 2 cats at my other house were my grandma lives and my farm is for animals and its 50 acres so I definetley have room and enough money to take care of a lot of animals and I’ll rescuetake in any animal that needs a nice safe home I love animals so much so I that’s why I bought a 50 acre farm that way I can help animals who need a nice safe home and I wish I could save every single animal animals mean so much to me and its hard for me to hear that an animal has been hurt or neglected and I make sure the animals I have are happy and safe I would never ever let anything happen to my animals I love animals with all my heart. Carol.

  • Tanya says:

    I watched the movie called Earthlings and it changed my life i felt so bad for eating meat all those years and adding to the torture. I will never eat meat again i am now going Vegan. The only way to stop this is to make people more aware of what’s happening. I will sign every petition and protest at every protest there is. We need to speak up for the voicless!!! You CAN make a difference.

  • Tamra says:

    Thank you to the woman who helped out and to PETA for the followup. I agree. Milk is disgusting. It makes no sense to wean a baby from human milk and then start giving them another mammal’s milk!!!! It’s completely stupid for lack of a better word. I could go on about the science behind it…… Costco sells the best soy milk imo and is relatively inexpensive. I can’t believe that more people don’t think about just how nonsensical it is to drink cow’s milk.

  • Margeuritha says:

    This sick behaviour towards cows does not happen in South Africa….I am so sorry to hear that some Americans are so ruthless towards animals because we believed they were a kind loving nation no matter what the circumstances. So sad Shelly beach South Africa.

  • Jason says:

    I wonder if the people whom inflict this kinda abuse torture on these babies how they can sleep at night? One day all this will be stopped one day I hope that the ones that inflict this kinda of pain torment themselves get put through the pain torment if just for once we could put these low lifes into cages beat them with metal rods stick them with hooks!

  • Christina says:

    I agree that everyone who eats meat and all the other animal products is as much responsible for the animal cruelty as the ones who actually inflict the pain. But the problem seems to be that many people don’t know how bad animals are being treated. I live in a small village in the swiss mountains for example where cows are out in the pastures or up in the mountains all summer long they have names and most farmers treat them quite nicely and so everyone believes that this is how everyone does it. I’ve tried to explain to them why I don’t eat meat but they called me extreme. How do you make them see? I believe that living the example is always the best method as we can’t force anyone to do something they don’t believe in but for the moment living the example doesn’t seem very effective. Any good ideas?

  • Michelle says:

    Absolutely write a book with photos and expose all the abuse you have witnessed on your cross country trips. I know the feeling of seeing for yourself all of those poor animals stuffed in those trailers in hot and freezing conditions with no food or water only to be violently slaughtered at the end of their journey.

  • AAG says:

    I agree Joyce use that energy to stop abuse against all of the other animals!!!!

  • Sheila says:

    ty Joyce it takes a lot of people to get the word out awareness is so important. if you support the meat and dairy industy by buying their products then you support their abuse of animals don’t be a part of it. there is action so often during the summer in the US find something to do make your friends family and neighbors aware of the horrible injustices commited against animals.

  • joyce t waldie says:

    People your anger and disgust at what is happening to animals the world over can be put to good purpose. Join one of the thousands of animal advocacy groups and lets put a stop to animal abuse. Don’t waste your anger on “someone should…” DO SOMETHING NOW!

  • oceanworior says:

    people who eat dairy and eggs and meat and fish are just as responsible for the animals suffering as the person who inflicts the suffering.

  • Zvuv says:

    Children must be taught about compassion to animals in the schools. It is obvious parents for the most part do not care or understand.

  • Brooklyn says:

    my dad says eating animals is ok but the way we treat them is horrible

  • Sunny says:

    Hi Everyone The only solution is to speak with Indians Ministers They Are Very Corrupt And Bribe Them Some Money To stop this otherwise they will not give a Dam ..Trust Me there is value of ordinary humans there forget about animals Shame on Indian Authorities Have Some Respect For Yourself and Animals in the leather Industry And Other slaughter houses Regards Sunny

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Further proof of a fallen world controlled by devils in human form.

  • Sarah says:

    I agree with Joanna. Dairy is rape and we must boycott all dairy for the sake of the cows!! And Rev. Meg Schramm I really hope you reported those situations to Animal Control!!

  • Kristen Michelle <3 says:

    Wow.. O.O

  • Canaduck says:

    Joanna is RIGHT. Dairy is murder organic or freerange or conventional.

  • Joanna says:

    You can help all the milk cows by going DAIRY FREE!!!! You do not have to contribute to the abuse of dairy cows. Drinking organic milk does not improve the situation much. Organic Dairies are also maintained by separating the cow and her calf at birth. The milk farmers stimulate the cow’s milk production so that the cow produces many more times the amount of milk than she would normally just to feed her calf. They live in misery and social depravation and produce milk like crazy til they are exhuasted…then they are sent to death or left for dead like this poor momma. Not only do you help the cow by being dairy free you help yourself as well. Milk eaters suffer from congestion and sinus headaches ear infections and colds. Do yourself and all the cows a favor and go DAIRY FREE TODAY! Just say “No Chesse Please” Worried about calcium? Eat you dark green vegatables and you will get more than enough good calcium.

  • NT says:

    Unbelievable that a human being can be capable of so little compassion. I hope karma acts real soon and this person rots in jail or in a bed wasting away with no one there to help.

  • Ringo says:

    That is disgusting. How can people just do these things without some sort of punishment?

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    As a biker who has ridden a motorcycle across the country I have seen things that are almost indescribable. I have been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic surrounded by tractor trailers filled with suffering animals. I have heard them smelled them and been able to see them peeking through the slats of the trailer. I have driven past slaughterhouses and observed trailers backed up for miles waiting to unload their unfortunate cargo. I have seen and smelled acres of feces lagoons some much to close to vegetable farms for comfort. I once spent the night in an RV parked at a truck stop. The sound of sheep woke me the next morning. I stepped out to discover our neighbors were a flock of sheep crammed into a flatbed truck unable to move all of them staring at me. I asked the driver if I could get them some water he said “Whatever” so I got a container of water climbed up on the truck and started giving water to all I could reach…they were EXTREMELY thirsty! I have seen white tigers confined to small cages in the White Tiger truck stop in Baton Rouge Lousiana and I have seen white tiger cubs auctioned off to the truckers there. I asked if they followed up on the cubs they sold and I was told that what the driver does with the cub he or she buys is their business there is no follow up. And that is just the beginning. I may someday write a book about all the animal and human abuses one can see while riding a motorcycle across the United States. It boggles the mind.