Cute calf video draws activists fearful of animal’s fate

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — So much for sharing the good news about a newborn calf named Pitcher Diego.

A New Hampshire farm that posted a video of the Scottish Highland calf is coming under fire from animal rights supporters who don’t want the animal to be slaughtered.

The video, posted on Facebook, has gotten nearly 13 million views and sparked a heated debate about eating meat. Many of the comments against the video are from people angry because they think the calf will be slaughtered or had been ripped away from its mother.

The Concord Monitor reports Yankee Farmer’s Market in Warner posted the video of Pitcher Diego, who was born during a snowstorm. In it, the calf — tied up with a red rope — stares into the cameras as he is warmed by an off-screen hair dryer. He appears to quietly moo during the 21-second video.

Some people are trying to drive down the farm’s reviews using Facebook’s rating system. Several also have offered to adopt the calf.

“I’m not sure how you get that much negativity out of a picture of a baby cow,” said Farm owner Brian Farmer, who has 30 head of Scottish Highland cattle and 60 head of American buffalo.

Farmer said he was taken aback by the negative reaction, given his animals roam and graze freely in pastures and are raised without antibiotics or hormones. He says the calf has been returned to its mother, and its thick neck, strong body and gentle disposition make it a good candidate for breeding — rather than a trip to the butcher.

Farmer said Pitcher Diego will be registered as a breeding animal as part of the farm’s effort rebuild its herd of Scottish Highland cattle that have been raised on his other farm, Pitcher Mountain Farm in Stoddard, for five decades. The herd had dwindled from 80 to 12 but has since rebounded to 30 after Farmer took over the farm in 2013. The cattle spend the bulk of their time at three locations on 300 acres.

“We are trying to do it the right way and not mass producing animals. We are trying to give them the best life possible,” Farmer said. “When you raise them that way, they are healthy and happy. When you consume that product, it’s a healthy product.”

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