2,600 Cows Await Rescue at Shuttered Big Island Dairy in Hawaii

2,600 Cows Await Rescue at Shuttered Big Island Dairy in Hawaii

Members of animal rescue group Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network (HLFARN) are engaging in efforts to rescue 2,600 cows from large-scale dairy farm Big Island Dairy in Ookala, Hawaii. Big Island Dairy announced the closing of its operations this spring after battling a longstanding lawsuit filed by community activists, who said the 2,000-acre farm was polluting nearby waterways with urine and feces. In two instances in 2018, the farm discharged nearly 8 million gallons of liquid waste into local waterways. When a dairy farm closes, the cows are typically auctioned off and distributed to slaughterhouses and other farms. However, in negotiations with HLFARN, Big Island Dairy agreed to allow HLFARN to rescue 55 cows for a negotiated fee, with potential for more to be released when and if more permanent homes for them are found. HLFARN reached out to its network to identify private landowners and sanctuaries who would be willing to take the cows into their care. The group is specifically looking for homes that will not continue to work the animals as dairy cows or slaughter them for meat or exploit them in other ways. So far, only some homes have been found, including FPG Plant and Animal Sanctuary and Magical Creatures of Hamakua Animal Sanctuary. Big Island Dairy is expected to close by February 28.

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