Letter: Our promise to our cows and community

Posted

Editor of the Reformer,

Spring Brook Farm has been my life's work for over 30 years because caring for the animals and land to make food for our community is a privilege and an honor. We put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the care of our cows, especially our calves, because they are our family and the future of our farm. We know our 100 animals by name and love them. Our Farms for City Kids program is a model for how to best treat dairy cows. We bring nearly 700 urban kids to our farm each year to give them an understanding of the respect and care that goes into dairy farming. We also believe that it's important to allow our local 4-H group to learn about caring for animals. We provide the local Top of the World 4-H group the ability to bring our animals to Strolling of the Heifers to help create positive interactions with the public about farming.

That is why we are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our calves in transport to the Strolling of the Heifers festival. The veterinarian for Strolling of Heifers, Dr. Major, immediately responded to the calf when she was discovered when we arrived at the festival and were unloading our calf trailer. He determined that the calf was not breathing and did not have any health conditions or other indications, which could explain her state. Although we will never know exactly what caused her to stop breathing, we are carefully reviewing how we transport our calves with our veterinarian and herd manager to determine if there is anything that we can do differently to ensure their safety. We've transported animals for 4-H hundreds of times for various events and fairs, and have never had any issues with the safety of our calves. As with anything in life, raising animals is not without risk, and with as much as we do to keep our animals safe and happy, this was an unfortunate accident that we will never forget.

We apologize to our community and our 4-H students. We invite you to visit our farm to see for yourself how dairy plays a positive role in our community. We believe that properly cared for animals and land are vital to our future.

Curt Allen

Spring Brook Farm

Reading, Vermont

June 14

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