You Can Adopt A Cow To Help Drought Relief

An Australian charity is offering a lifeline to farmers who are struggling to keep their animals alive during the drought.

With the cost of feed skyrocketing and no sign of rain to grow pastures, many NSW farmers are forced to destock and, in the severest cases, even shoot their much-loved animals.

'Til The Cows Come Home' is opening the gate to greener pastures by giving farmers an alternative when all options have seemingly dried up.

“There is no shame in asking for help and this is a better choice for the cow,” the charity's founder, Donna Wild, told 10 Daily.

“I see people who feel sweet relief when their animals are surrendered and the absolutely regretful ones; they can’t believe it’s happening but have no water or feed left.”

Giving farmers and animals another option when things get tough. Image: Til The Cows Come Home

The charity was founded two years ago and receives surrendered farm animals including chickens, sheep and pigs.

“Bigger animals were always the goal and we started rescuing cows about six months ago. Predominately because cows are my favourite animal but they also miss out the most when Australian sanctuaries are full.”

Wild’s background is in holistic and regenerative agriculture which means she focuses on protecting the environment and animal welfare.

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It’s this training that she hopes will make her a bridge between farmers and animal welfare activists including vegans.

“We need to build the trust of farmers and not work against them when they’re having such a hard time.

“There are a lot of things farmers know that we didn’t and we need to bridge that gap between farmers and animals and the way animals are treated,” she said.

Working to bridge the gap between farmers and animal welfare activists. Photo: Til The Cows Come Home

In the last week alone they’ve had three cows and 40 hens adopted as well as up to 20 sheep fostered.

“We pair an animal to meet the needs of the person; some want a pet for an emotional connection - who doesn’t want a pet cow?!

“For others, it’s about keeping grass down or the soil regeneration which is possible with cows.”

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The adoptive process is similar to that of the RSPCA and involves an online application, screening and a $250 adoption fee.

“A lot of first time adopters are also first-time farm animal owners and often have hobby farms or a bit of land.”

The potential home is checked to ensure greener pastures for the animals. Image: Til The Cows Come Home

People like Jaclyn Tarrant who is adopting two cows to live on her small semi-rural property in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

“I’m an animal trainer and already have rescued a dog, chickens and a brumby.

I’ve been looking for something to keep my brumby company and these two cows also needed me,” she told 10 Daily.

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While joking they're a "lawnmower and fertiliser all-in-one”, there’s another reason why Tarrant is adopting cattle.

“Drought is really affecting farmers and if these animals don’t get adopted they could end up being shot which is nobody's fault obviously.

“It’s a pretty awful situation, so by pulling them out and adopting them at least the cows have a full and healthy life and the farmers don’t have to do that deed.”

The charity wants farmers to know there is no shame in seeking help to re-home animals. Image: Til The Cows Come Home

Outside of drought, Wild said the charity also takes in animals from full sanctuaries, retirees from farms such as laying hens and dairy cows and unwanted male calves from dairies.

“Australian farm animals are underestimated emotionally, intellectually and physically. It’s not good enough and this is how we can create change," she said.

READ MORE: How You Can Help Drought-Stricken Farmers

“In the longer term I want to see all the animals being culled on farms instead being re-homed as service animals, pets or grazers,” she said.

To see which animals are after a loving home, head to the Til The Cows Come Home website.