An Inspiring Cow Story

sent by Robert Cohen

From Yesterday’s Cincinnati Enquirer:

Fugitive Cow Passes Away
By Barry M. Horstman
January 10, 2009

Cincinnati Freedom, the fugitive cow that drew worldwide
headlines when she escaped from a Camp Washington
slaughterhouse in 2002 and eluded authorities for 11
days, has died at an animal sanctuary in New York.

The 2,000-pound white Charolais, “adopted” by
internationally renowned artist Peter Max after her
stirring escape in Cincinnati, was put down Dec. 29 at
the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen shortly after being
diagnosed with spinal cancer. The quickly spreading
cancer, which becomes apparent in cows only when the
size of the tumor puts pressure on the spine, caused
the cow – often called Cinci or Freedom for short –
to lose the use of her back legs.

The day before Cinci’s death, Farm Sanctuary officials
noticed her stumbling, and by the following day, she
was paralyzed and couldn’t walk, said Susie Coston, the
Farm Sanctuary’s national shelter director. Even so,
Cinci, always shy around humans, tried to crawl away
when a veterinarian arrived to examine her, Coston said.

Cinci’s closest pals in the sanctuary’s herd of about 50
cattle – other slaughterhouse escapees that included
Queenie from Queens, N.Y., Annie Dodge from Vermont and
Maxine from New York – were no more thrilled to see the
vet and dented her car, Coston said.

The evening before, when her immobility kept Cinci in
the pasture, her cow buddies spent the night with her.

“She had some very good friends who were very
protective of her,” Coston said.

After the vet determined there was no hope Cinci would
recover use of her legs, sanctuary officials decided
to humanely euthanize her.

Again, the herd surrounded Cinci, with one of the oldest
steers, Kevin, licking her face, while Iris, an older
female, licked her back to soothe her in her final
minutes, said Natalie Bowman, the sanctuary’s
communications director. They remained with Cinci
until she was buried, after initially chasing a worker
who arrived to handle the sad task back to his tractor.

“It was very moving,” Coston said. “I’ve never seen
anything like it. You really saw all those basic
emotions at work.”

Cinci became a folk hero in February 2002 when,
moments before she was to be slaughtered, she jumped
a six-foot fence at Ken Meyer Meats in Camp Washington
and evaded police and officials from the Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a week and a
half while foraging in Mount Storm Park.

News outlets from Canada, England, France, Germany
and Australia covered the elusive cow’s saga, which
also repeatedly made the national news, including
ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” where then-Mayor
Charlie Luken pledged to give her a key to the city.
In the course of that coverage, reporters left no pun
unturned, milking the story for all it was worth.

After her capture, Max, saying he was “very touched
by this cow’s run for freedom, for life,” bought the
animal from Meyer Meats and paid to send her to the
sanctuary in upstate New York, where hundreds of
animals rescued from slaughterhouses, stockyards and
factory farms receive lifelong care.

Max named the cow Cincinnati Freedom. He also often
called her Cindy Woo, Coston said.

Sanctuary officials were not certain of Cinci’s age,
but estimate that she was 6 to 8 years old when she
arrived in April 2002, meaning she would have been
13 to 15 when she died. “That’s a pretty good life
for a Charolais,” Coston said.

At the sanctuary, Cinci apparently found that it was
more fun to eat when one did have not to worry any
longer about being eaten herself, gaining more than
500 pounds.

“She was a bit of a chunk,” Coston said, laughing.
Still, to the end, Cinci could clear a five-foot
fence from a standstill position, she said. “It was
an amazing thing to see,” she said.

Something of a celebrity at the sanctuary, Cinci drew
countless visitors familiar with her story.

“People from Ohio were always visiting,” Bowman said.

Coston thinks she understands why.

“She symbolized the will to live, to enjoy life and not
be messed with,” Coston said. “We can relate to that.”



It is hard not to be touched by the level of caring
from Cinci’s bovine friends. These are not dumb brutes
without feelings or emotions. These are sentient beings
which makes the daily suffering of each one of the
9.2 million cows on America’s dairy farms and the lack
of compassion and understanding by humans so difficult
to comprehend.

Consider: Every California “Happy Cow” has a similar
level of feelings, awareness, and emotions as Cinci.

Consider: Every mis-named California “Happy Cow” will
experience the painful loss of a child immediately
after birth.

Each mis-named California “Happy Cow” will end her
life with a stun gun bolt to the head. She will then
be hoisted upside-down and her neck artery will be
sliced. Some will choke on their own blood. Some will
have her legs sliced off by a man with a chainsaw who
protects fellow workers as she kicks in agony and fear
from the ensuing indignities of butchery. All live the
last fifteen seconds of a death which no creature
deserves to experience.

Consider the arrogance of the human who eats her flesh
and dares not come to terms with the origin of each bite.

Robert Cohen

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