Occasionally when I am documenting on a working farm, I encounter a non-human resident there who connects. This breed of cow, a Jersey, is considered a dairy cow, but she has lived on a cattle and sheep ranch in Chileno Valley, California, often hanging out with sheep. Most ranchers will tel you that animals bound for slaughter are not named. The year before this picture, when she was a calf, she received the name Dolly.
Mariposa, California. In the sorting event to come, this cow will be blocked and then herded and then chased.
Outside this weaning hut a calf waits.
The Psychology of Milk
The calf in this picture was born the day before. On dairies, female calves are removed from their mothers after one to two days, after receiving colostrum, and placed in weaning huts where they will receive a powder formula while their mothers' milk is delivered to humans. Male calves cannot be part of dairy operations, so after they are removed from their mothers they are typically slaughtered.
I spent a day photographing at the International Primate Protection League in Summerville, South Carolina. The monkeys at IPPL are mostly retired from being subjects of experiments in laboratories or rescued from the exotic pet trade. The founder of IPPL Shirley McGreal discusses some of the realities and issues around primate use in her Moments Of Truthinterview.
Sorrely is a gelding who lives and works on a cattle ranch in Petaluma, California, gathering cows. He is usually surrounded by rolling hills and cow hands, but here, isolated against a bright, blown out sky, he is only himself, independent of context, use and environment. It's easy to project on beings who do not tell us their thoughts. When I see this image, I wonder how his senses process the world, and what people signify to him.
This mother competed professionally in western events. Unless sold, her foal will grow up on this training ranch in Petaluma, California, and be groomed to compete.
Petaluma, California. A new foal on a training ranch for the sport of cutting with his mother.
In a natural environment, domesticated pigs could live to be in their twenties. They are slaughtered at about 6-7 months.
Forks, Pennsylvania. Henry and I visited Forks farm on a cold February morning, and as I tagged along with John on morning chores, we discussed the economic, ethical and environmental considerations around raising animals for food, touching on differences between small farming and industrial scale and how agriculture influences ecosystems. "Whatever, anyone thinks about raising, slaughtering and eating animals,"John wrote to me afterwards, "we (Forks Farmers) feel that it is our duty as livestock farmers to raise animals in comfort in their natural environment and treat them with respect."
Sonoma County, California. These orphaned raccoons were in foster care after arriving at wildlife rescue facility.