Help Give Dairy Cows a Second Chance at Life

By Mark Dagostino, Tonic

In recent weeks, animal lover Ellen DeGeneres has been trying to bring attention to a deplorable situation: Dozens of black-and-white cows, many of them pregnant and sick with pneumonia, pinkeye and skin fungus, are living — barely — on a dilapidated dairy farm in Santa Clarita, Calif. The farm itself is in the process of being shut down, and the animals would normally be destined for the slaughterhouse. And yet, these gentle animals that have spent their lives providing nourishing milk to so many humans are now so sick and malnourished themselves that even the slaughterhouse won’t take them. The dairy farm’s owner does not have the money to care for the cows, or to nurture the animals back to health in order to take them to the auction house, either.

So without intervention, these 60 cows will be left to die of dehydration, starvation and disease.

The tragic scenario was first revealed to the public by The Gentle Barn Foundation on April 26. Since then, the animal rescue and rehabilitation facility, miraculously located in the very same town and already home to 120 rescued farm animals, has successfully negotiated to take the cows off the owners’ hands and nurse them back to health — to give the cows and their calves whole new lives.

There’s just one problem: The Gentle Barn Foundation has no place to house them. The Foundation needs to build two new barns in order to give the cows a proper home. And building barns isn’t cheap.

The Gentle Barn needs funding. They need it now. And Tonic readers can make it happen.

Today on her talk show, DeGeneres announced that Tonic is launching a major fundraising initiative in order to build the barns these cows so desperately need.

Tonic has committed to matching your donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, for a grand total of $100,000 — enough for the Gentle Barn Foundation to build an entire barn.

And as if doubling your donation isn’t enough, there’s another layer of goodness that comes along with giving to save these California cows: A private benefactor has agreed to match every dollar The Gentle Barn earns, up to $100,000. So if Tonic readers accomplish this goal, and donate at least $50,000, the Gentle Barn Foundation will have all the money they need to build both barns!

Before Tonic’s initiative was announced, Ellie Laks, who founded and operates The Gentle Barn with her husband, Jay Weiner, gave an interview to The Signal of Santa Clarity Valley. Of their efforts to save these malnourished cows, Laks said, “This is cool because we can save their lives and give them the opportunity to raise their babies. It’ll be something the community can sink their teeth into — be part of their birth and their lives.”

More than just an animal rescue organization, The Gentle Barn brings at-risk youth and special needs children who have suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma of their own to their facilities to interact with the animals and take a hands-on role in their welfare. As described on their website: “[T]hose who undergo treatment at The Gentle Barn learn empathy, kindness, strength, trust, forgiveness and leadership.”

They’re the human qualities we try to spotlight here on Tonic every day. The qualities we’ve helped DeGeneres celebrate on her talk show, by giving scholarship money to Constance McMillen and helping to cover Alyson Myatt‘s health care costs.

They’re the qualities we hope our readers will show by making donations to The Gentle Barn Foundation today.

Click Here to Make a $10 Donation Now!


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Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

I wish them all the best of luck and success! Cows are so wonderful.

Diane Dion
Diane Dion7 years ago

What a blessing for those cows to be able to spend the rest of their lives in dignity. They will bring a wealth of good to their caretakers they are such nurturing sensitive beings.

Joy Jin
Joy Jin7 years ago

So many people do this to animals that serve them for many years. I'm glad that these 60 cows get a second chance.

Stephanie Cornell
Stephanie C7 years ago

It's just terrible that a farmer could let the cows suffer so much while he exploited them for his income. I would expect that the Gentle Barn would also have additional expenses for veterinary care for these cows as well as for their barns. I hope all these cows will get a chance to live out their lives, naturally, in peace.

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

I am happy that these cows and babies will get a second chance. I am also glad that those with money like Ellen can watch out for these issues and make other aware of the problem. Thanks Ellen!

Louis Olivencia
Lou Olive7 years ago


johan l.
paul l7 years ago

Have you ever really looked into a cow's eyes?
They must be the most gentle creatures in God's creation.
I am extremely sorry that I canno help financially.
I know though, that you Americans glady donate to such a worthwhile cause!

Antoinette Reyes
Antoinette R7 years ago

I wish I had money, hopefully word gets out and they meet their goal in time

Charuwan Kangkagate

poor creature suuferring in human hand.

Isabel C.
Isabel C7 years ago

Just gave a little. Wish it could be more.

I hope these poor creatures find some comfort in their lives. Cows can be such abused creatures so it would be lovely to hear of at least a happy ending for this herd.