A tale of Karma.

September 21st, 2009 10:31 pm by Kelly Garbato

Last November, the kind folks at Gentle Barn animal sanctuary rescued a group of cows – along with many “Thanksgiving” turkeys – from abusive living conditions on a “local ranch” (one of those small family farms of lore, perhaps?). Unbeknown to Gentle Barn, one of their newest bovine residents had recently given birth to a calf – a baby – who was not ferried to safety with his mother.

Though the “rancher” neglected to inform Gentle Barn of the situation, the estranged mother did not:

While we were rescuing Thanksgiving turkeys from a local ranch in 2008, we couldn’t help but notice the horrific conditions in which the other animals were living. Unable to stomach what we were witnessing, we came home with two of the ten cows who were in the worst shape and were pregnant.

When they got home to The Gentle Barn, one of the cows seemed inconsolably distraught. She was trying to get out of the pen, pacing, sweating, and mooing as though screaming for someone. Throughout the first night, she kept crying out, barely pausing to take a breath.

At first, we thought her stress was from missing all of the animals she had left behind, or from feeling unsure of her new surroundings. But by morning, when her cries had not stopped, we realized something more serious was going on. We also noticed that her utter was full now and she was expressing milk. When we called back to the place we rescued her from, our fears were confirmed. She had been separated from her calf, and we were informed that her baby was being sold that day to someone else for slaughter. We demanded that they release the baby to us, knowing that this cow would die of heartbreak otherwise, and they agreed, especially because their truck had broken down and they couldn’t deliver the calf to the other people and we had a trailer…small miracles!

When we arrived at The Gentle Barn with the calf, his mom heard his voice, she jumped up and practically broke through the pasture fencing to get to her calf. When we lead her tiny baby to reunite with her, the calf collapsed on the ground in front of her. As she licked him and nuzzled him with the gentlest touch, he got up. As the baby nursed, for the first time in twelve hours, the mom let out a long moo, like the biggest sigh of relief. Now that her baby is with her, she has not made a single sound. She is happy and at peace, and the two will never be separated again.

Once they were reunited, we went back and rescued the rest of the cows. So now, all ten cows are safe and sound at The Gentle Barn.

The reunion of mother Karma and baby Mr. Rojas is documented in Karma’s Reunion. Embedding is disabled, so please head on over to YouTube and watch the video. It clocks in at just under five minutes, and is a real tear-jerker. While the images are moving enough on their own, Gentle Barn further emphasizes the themes of nonhuman intelligence, family and love through the addition of captions.

Karma’s story is beautiful and moving – but it doesn’t end with the birth of Mr. Rojas. In a recent newsletter, Gentle Barn updates us on “Karma’s Surprise”:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: The Gentle Barn – info [at] gentlebarn.org
Date: Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 1:57 PM
Subject: Karma and Her Big Surprise!

Karma’s Surprise


As you might remember, we rescued a cow named Karma last year. The man we rescued her from did not let us know she had a baby, until she cried for 12 hours straight. We then realized that the only thing that could cause her so much distress is being separated from a baby. So, we went back to the cruelty site we rescued her from and sure enough there was her baby about to be sent to slaughter. We rescued her tiny baby boy and brought him home to the safety of The Gentle Barn. Karma and her son, Mr. Rojas, have been together ever since.

This past Sunday one of our animal caregivers mentioned to us that Karma’s udder looked swollen. We asked if he thought Karma had an infection and he replied, “no, I think she is going to have a baby.” We thought he must be mistaken because we rescued her with a tiny baby, that she was still nursing. Surely, they would not have bred her again so soon, and all the male cows at our place are neutered…

In the evening, we always go down to the barnyard to take off fly masks and give everyone a goodnight treat. We walked casually over to Karma to check her out and see what our animal caregiver was talking about. When we saw her, she had a tiny foot coming out of her. She was having a baby! Holy cow/calf!

We ran upstairs to grab our boots and cameras and rushed back down to the barn just in time to see the baby’s tiny face come out along with the feet. Then, moments later she pushed him out and there at our feet lay a beautiful, strong, healthy surprise.

Karma gave birth to a baby boy who, within minutes, was already trying to stand. We watched in amazement as Karma gently cleaned him off, as he stood and walked, as he took his first steps, nursed for his first time, and then fell asleep next to his exhausted but very happy mommy.

When we took Karma from her prison last November filled with dead animals and filth, with no food or water, we not only saved her life and the life of her tiny baby, but unaware we saved the life of her unborn child as well. Now all three of them will live together in health, safety, and love for the rest of their lives at The Gentle Barn.

The Gentle Barn is closed for the rest of August (as we do every year) but will be open the first Sunday in September from 10-2, and for each Sunday afterwards ready for your visit. Come play with our baby surprise as well as our other barnyard family members. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Ellie and Jay

The Gentle Barn | 26910 Sierra Highway D-8 #318 | Mailing address only! | Santa Clarita | CA | 91321


The love between a mother and child is no less wondrous or powerful when shared between “beasts” rather than humans. Without the fateful (karmic?) intervention of Gentle Barn, Karma’s life – and those of her children – would have met a premature end, after much suffering, pain and anguish. Karma’s tale offers an alternative to the horror stories endured by the 9 million “dairy” cows imprisoned in U.S. dairy operations and 35 million “beef” cattle and 1 million “veal” calves slaughtered in the United States annually.

Every time you consume a meal, you write a story – a tale of nonfiction, imposed on a fellow sentient being:

life, love and freedom –


or exploitation, torture and murder.

Which will it be?


Gentle Barn is one of many farmed animal sanctuaries, rescuing, rehabbing and providing lifelong care to “food” animals. As with all such organizations, they’re always in need of donations of money and time – so many billions of animals, so little resources. Please help if and when you can (and starting with your plate).



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4 Responses to “A tale of Karma.”

  1. AileenWuornos Says:

    Things like this usually break my heart, but when the situation has a happy ending it almost feels like there’s hope for humanity.

  2. Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 20: Animal Families » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] of Animal Place; Woodstock Sanctuary’s Valentine’s piglets, Nemo, Eva, Pinky and Wally; Karma and Mr. Rojas of The Gentle Barn; Stella of Peaceful Prairie; Maple Farm’s Sid & Chloe – any of […]

  3. Sometimes I feel like a motherless child. * » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] few weeks ago, I wrote about Karma, a cow spared a life of suffering on a “small ranch” by the farmed animal sanctuary […]

  4. Marylyn Says:

    You are angles and you are the hope for a better future. Lets change these animal eating habits and lets stop all the suffering humanity is causing on these helpless beings. Thank you for being who you are. Please tell me how can I leave a small donation.

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