Hello. I have something important to tell you. It's actually about life or death - and it could be YOU who decides whether I will live or not! Before I tell anything more, I'll tell you who I am: My name is Heidi and I am six years old. I live on a small farm on the west coast of Norway, along with all my friends, two daughters and the people who care for us. There I have a simple, but good life. I get food and care several times each day.
My story, is not pleasant. I should have three daughters here with me, but the youngest, Rosa, died three years ago. She only managed to get one calf. She was a beautiful and vigorous heifer with lots of milk, - and should have a long life ahead to live. That we all must die, is something I have reconciled, but what makes me upset - even angry - is the way she died.
It started when she stopped eating. We stood next to each other, and I asked her why she would not have food. "It hurts inside my stomach," she sighed quietly. We tend not to make so much fuss when we are in pain. We suffer mostly in silence, but I could look at her how painful she was. After being milked she lay down at once, and shortly after she got fever. The farmer got the vet and she was examined thoroughly. Rosa was silent, with her eyes closed. I licked her to comfort her as best I could, but I could not take away her pain.
The vet said words such as "glass" and "operation." I do not know what they meant, but she got an injection that made her sleep. Afterwards they cut her stomach. I think they should try to sort out what was wrong.
The operation was not successful. Rosa had got several large pieces of glass into her stomach. They had torn up all over the inside. I could not avoid seeing the ugly wounds she had received.
The vet went. There was nothing more he could do.
The two girls on the farm entered. They clapped Rosa and spoke to her with gentle voices. I could see that they cried. Then I heard the sound of a big car, and another man entered. Then the girls were not allowed to be there anymore.
The farmer and the man talked. Rosa was no longer able to stand on her legs. The words "Emergency slaughter" was said. Then something bad happened . The worst thing I've ever experienced! Something a mother never, never should experience! The man had something in his hand which he held against Rosas head. There came a horrible bang, and afterwards the entire body of Rosa collapsed. Afterwards there was a lot of blood coming out of her head.
I can not tell all the details about what happened next. It was so painful that I had to turn myself away. They got Rosa out, and then she was gone! My beautiful Rosa! So kind and friendly.
Why did Rosa die? Just because someone had thrown a bottle of glass on the meadow. When the farmer collects grass with the forage harvester, he can not be able to see whats hidden in the tall grass. Glass and metal crushes and mixes with the grass inside the silo. Thereby it comes to our food during the winter. The only Rosa did was to eat the food she was served. Food with pieces of broken glass!
Last year I ate metal, but I was lucky! When the vet came, I had to swallow a big hard lump. "Magnet," he called it. It would bring the metal through all my four stomachs and get it out. Yeah, they came out, but the sharp metal edges made several wounds inside me. And on it`s way out, it made a big gash on the unmentionable place!
How would you react if I came and put pieces of glass into your child's soup, or if I let thumbtacks under your cheese? I think you would be angry - and with good reason. But remember, it is just as bad for us as it will be for you!
Next time you've been drinking what ever you have in your bottle or your box: Please do not throw it out of the car window! Please think carefully! Maybe I'll have it served - in pieces - during the winter and must pay for it with my life. Throw it in a safe place. Would it be too difficult for you?
That Rosa died costed my farmer a lot of money. He also lost a lot of money on all the milk Rosa should have given him. The fact that I got metal in my stomach costed a lot of money too. The vet had to come several times, and I lost much of my milk. Rosa will never come back to me, but many other lives can be saved if everyone takes responsibility for their own actions.
I am looking forward to my summer holidays. For two months I'll be out and enjoy myself with delicious, juicy grass. I also hope that I can live without fear through the winter for what I will find inside my food.
Please share my story - in memory of Rosa, and with the hope that everyone who reads this will think before they throw something out of the car window again.
Thank you for your attention.
(I am a Norwegian cow, so my English is not quite perfect. I apologize - but usually I say only - moo)