Calf Convention – Enabling cow and calf to live together

As spring is kicking in, many Swedes think about the phenomenon of “cow release” – the annual event when dairy cows are let out of their winter confinement. However, many people don’t think about the fact that the calves are nowhere to be seen. In fact, they are not released to enjoy the fresh grass alongside their mothers.

It may be obvious that a calf is needed for milk production, but what many people don’t consider is what happens to the calf after birth. The truth is that the calf is usually taken away from its mother after just 24 hours. The separation between the cow and the calf is distressing, and the mother calls out for her offspring, often for several days. In addition, a cow that doesn’t get to nurse her calf can experience painful milk engorgement, just like humans.

Based on this background, World Animal Protection Sweden launched the petition “Calf Convention” (Kalvkonventionen) to advocate for keeping the cow and calf together. To raise awareness on this issue, we initiated an influencer outreach campaign to encourage influencers and their followers to participate.

We wanted to illustrate the reality of what happens after a calf’s birth on most Swedish dairy farms. Therefore, we sent the influencers a cow and a calf in the form of stuffed animals, and if they didn’t sign the petition, we would come to pick up the calf after 24 hours.

Through the profiles who shared the initiative, we reached a total of 1,531,700 followers.

Read more about the campaign and sign the petition here.