3 min read

Boy Wasn't Ready For Their Friendship To End Like This

For thousands of people, raising cattle and sending them off to slaughter is just a routine part of making a living.

But this picture tells a different story.

The photo below was taken in 2011 during a 4-H livestock auction in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The boy in the photo, Tyler Boyer, 11, had raised Leonard the cow since he was a calf, and had just sold him to be slaughtered for meat. The boy stands next to the patient steer, burying his head in his neck and crying as he says goodbye.

Back in July, The Dodo covered the story of Bruno Barba, a 16-year-old boy who couldn't bring himself to send his 4-H pig, Lola, to slaughter. He ended up sending her to Farm Sanctuary's Orland, California, location. At the time, Barba told The Dodo that raising Lola had changed his life, and that many of his fellow 4-H students would likely avoid sending their animals to slaughter if there were other options.

"They do bond with them," he said of the other students. "They do cry when they have to give them up; they don't have any place to take them elsewhere."

If there's one thing that comes naturally to children, it's compassion. And as this photo shows, it can thrive in even the most hopeless of circumstances.