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Felix's Story

Meghan Quinlan
Sun 14 January 2024

I’ll never forget the day we put my darling baby, our childhood dog, to sleep.

I don’t think anyone who’s had to make this decision, could forget this day.

The day they decide to relieve their baby of their pain.

We choose to end their life because they are suffering. 

They’ve either reached an old age, or have an incurable disease, causing them to suffer.

So, we end their suffering.

We process their death by saying “it was the kindest thing to do.”


But what if they weren’t suffering? 

What if they weren’t sick? 

What if they weren’t ready to die? 

Then what? 


This is Felix. 

A beautiful baby boy I was privileged to meet and spend time with. 

Felix was healthy.

Apart from being malnourished and weak from starvation - he was healthy.

And he was young.

He was only 7 days old.


I want to tell you about him.

Who he was.

His unique personality.

His gentle nature.


When I met Felix, he was laying down in the pen on the floor of the slaughterhouse. 

He was laying with the other calves. 

I climbed into the pen and sat down. 

Felix lifted his head and watched me with interest. 

I could see him trying to decide if I was worth getting up for.

His legs were so tired. 

His curiosity got to him. He stood up and walked over. 


He walked right up to me. 

He climbed up over me as he tried to sit on my lap. 

Just like a gentle lap dog. 


He desperately wanted his mother’s comfort.

Her teat to suckle on. 

He tried to emulate that with me.

He suckled my hands. My jacket. My beanie.


He placed his face against mine, as I stroked his cheeks. 

Nuzzling his wet nose into mine. 

He wanted to be close.

He cheekily grabbed my head torch. 

He started suckling on it. We laughed. 


Felix was so happy in that moment.

He gently nudged himself into me as I patted his neck. Asking for more.

He trusted me.

He was so relieved to make a human friend.

Who showed him the love and affection he so desperately craved.


Why was Felix here? 

On this putrid, cold slaughterhouse floor? 


He had been deprived of care and kindness from the moment he was stolen from his mother.

At less than a day old.

He was kept alone in a pen. Crying desperately for his mum.

He was kept hungry. 


It was too expensive to feed him properly.

As he wouldn’t make the farmer any money.

He was a waste product. 

He was bred so that his mother would continue to produce milk.

The milk that was meant for him.


Once he was born, he needed to be dealt with as cheaply and quickly as possible. 

He, after all, would never produce milk himself.

So, what use was he?


He waited for days, all by himself.

Crying for mum. He never stopped crying for mum.

His bones became prominent.

He was a baby who needed milk.

He was being starved.


At 7 days old, a truck came for him.

He didn’t want to get on. 

He was forced. 


He eventually arrived here.

Shoved into this holding pen.

Where he waited overnight.

He was confused and scared. Where is my mum? 


He was covered in diarrhoea from his friends.

They’re so scared.

Everyone is so sick.

So malnourished.

So discarded. 


His friends are vomiting too.

The anxiety of being on this cold, dark, filthy, wet slaughterhouse floor. 


Some of his friends are so weak now, they can’t even stand up.

They’ve gone too long without milk to sustain them. 

They will be dragged by workers to the kill room floor tomorrow. 

Everyone is crying for their mums.

Pained and desperate cries. 


Can you imagine what it sounds like to hear 500 calves crying out desperately for their mums? 

I’ll never forget. 


But my darling Felix, 

was killed only a few hours later. 

On this same day. 


So how do I process that his life was taken from him?

Not in peace, comforted by a loved one. A small, painless injection which slowly sends him off to sleep.




His life was taken from him in the most heinous, brutal, cruel, violent, and terrifying way imaginable.

I know this.

I watched him die. 

I watched him shaking uncontrollably as he was thrown onto the restraint. 

I watched his throat be slit. 

I watched him be hung by his hind legs, blood flooding from his neck. 


So, how do I process this? 

The answer is that I cannot. 

I will hold a heavy heart for all my days. 


Felix deserved to suckle off his mumma.

He deserved to grow big and strong.

He deserved to have zoomies and enjoy the sunshine.

He deserved to bond with his friends.


But all he knew was suffering, loneliness, and longing for his mother.


Apart from these few brief moments where he was held, cuddled, and told he’d be okay.

Imagine telling someone they’ll be okay when you know they won’t be.


Felix, my darling.

I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you.

I’m so sorry I couldn’t take away the pain. 

I’m so sorry, I could only offer you a few minutes of comfort and love before we had to flee. 

I’m so sorry our goodbye was rushed.

I’m so sorry I didn’t clutch you tighter.

That I didn’t pick you up and carry you out of that hell hole.

I am so sorry I left you there. 

To be murdered.


Your life was stolen from you.

There’s no softening this.

You didn’t want to die. 


Most of all, I’m sorry I can’t get more people to stop paying for this to happen to you.

I try so hard, Felix.

I try so goddamn hard.

We will get there one day.

One day this will stop.

But I’m so goddamn sorry I can’t seem to make that day come any sooner.


The most heinously unjust acts in human society. 

They all come to an end. 

People wake up. 

I wish I could shake them awake sooner. 


I lose patience often.

I try so hard to understand why people still pay for your mother’s milk. 

Your cheese. 

Your yoghurt.


But when I sit on the filth of the slaughterhouse floor, you in my arms, I can’t.

I just can’t.

It cannot be justified. 

That you are a “by product”, a “waste product”. 

Bred into the world to die less than a week later.

So that your mother can be milked until her body cannot take it anymore. 

And she too, will bleed out on the same floor you did. 

One day. 


Felix, I love you.

And, I am so, so, so sorry. 


How do I process your death when you shouldn’t have died? 


For you Felix, for all your friends, for all those before you, for all those after you, for all your mamas, we must, we absolutely MUST, end dairy slaughter. 

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