Rescue Story

Welcome Home, Greg: Steer Finds Family at Farm Sanctuary

Greg walking in a paddock at Farm Sanctuary

Rescue Story

Welcome Home, Greg: Steer Finds Family at Farm Sanctuary

Who are cows?

To learn more about cow sentience, intelligence, and emotion, download Farm Sanctuary’s white paper, “Thinking Cows: A Review of Cognition, Emotion, and the Social Lives of Domestic Cows.

After moving through three homes in less than three years, Greg is now settling in at Farm Sanctuary.

The Brown Swiss steer is a friendly boy, so it’s not that people didn’t want Greg around. On the contrary, Greg’s guardians loved him so much that they chose to say goodbye to give him a better life.

Greg walking in nature

The first and second homes

Greg’s longest companion, a horse guardian, had rescued him from dairy production as a calf. His breed is prized for high milk output and quality, but since only females produce milk — and only when they are pregnant or nursing — dairy farms have little use for boys. Some sell or raise their unwanted calves for veal or cheap beef. Others kill baby boys on-site because they don’t think their care is worth the time or expense.

Greg’s guardian loved him and saw him as an individual, not a product. She watched him grow into a curious and energetic young steer who enjoyed being brushed and loved to play. But there were certain needs his guardian couldn’t fulfill because she was a human and not another cow.

Cows are herd animals who find security and joy among their kind. They also learn through social interaction, including roughhousing. But Greg was the only steer on the farm and only had his human and a donkey as companions. Concerned for her safety and Greg’s happiness, the guardian asked if we could help find a home where he could thrive.


  • Farm Sanctuary staff transport Greg from his guardian's home to a sanctuary.

  • Staff return to pick up Greg and bring him home to Farm Sanctuary.

  • Greg joins his new herd.

New connections

Since Greg is young and healthy, we felt he’d make a good candidate for placement through our Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN). Our network includes sanctuaries and private homes across the country, helping us rescue, refer, transport, and rehome more animals in need than we could help alone. Given our 36 years of experience and our New York shelter’s proximity to a large veterinary hospital, we typically reserve space at Farm Sanctuary for individuals needing more intensive care.

A nearby sanctuary offered Greg the whole package: new cattle friends and more space to run and play. Farm Sanctuary’s team provided transport, bringing Greg directly from his former home to the next.

We’d make a similar trip just a few months later — this time, from his new home to Farm Sanctuary.

Greg enjoys walking around the sanctuary


have multidimensional personalities, and that their behaviors are, at least in part, influenced by their social environment.

A change of plans

Greg’s new guardians described him as a cuddly, lovable friend. He often supervised sanctuary chores and tours and was seen being groomed by the other cows on-site — a way that they show care and acceptance. His life with his new family was off to a good start.

Then, the herd’s dynamics unexpectedly changed. Due to the other cows’ changing care needs, Greg wouldn’t have as much time with his friends. He could be alone again before winter fell — just as he had been at his former home.

Greg’s caregivers consulted his former guardian, who’d remained in touch. All agreed that he should join a larger herd — it was why Greg had moved in the first place. As much as they loved him and didn’t want to see him go, his caregivers couldn’t break their promise to Greg. They vowed to give him a better life, even though it could no longer be with them.

The promise of sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary keeps tabs on every animal placed within our network — first, because we love seeing them thriving in their new homes! We also want to ensure the placement is a good fit for the animals and their adopters. Should circumstances change, as in Greg’s case, we work to make other arrangements. Rescue work is a commitment: We do our best to ensure that animals never return to situations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

As of August, Greg now lives with our New York shelter herd. While at first indifferent toward the other cows — he preferred scoping out the pasture — Greg is beginning to make new friends. He also gravitates to people, tossing his head back with delight when we indulge him with a hearty neck scratch.

Greg is making himself at home — and here, he’ll stay for good.

Greg at Farm Sanctuary
Connie sheep at Farm Sanctuary

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