Ellen and Tonic: Giving Dairy Cows a Second Chance at Life


The Gentle Barn Foundation needs our help to save 60 malnourished cows – many of which are pregnant – from a dilapidated California dairy farm. Will readers step up to save the day?

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, nor to nurture the animals back to health in order to take them to the auction house.

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

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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 readers can make it happen.

Yesterday 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 Clarita 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!

Editor’s note: Article by Mark Dagostino. Originally published by our friends at Tonic.com. Tonic is a digital media company and news source dedicated to promoting the good that happens each day around the world. Tonic tells the stories of people and organizations who are working to make a difference, by inspiring good in themselves and others. Be sure to visit them and say hi, and follow Tonic on Twitter, too!


Image: Dave Young