Determined Bovine’s Dash for Freedom Shows Farm Animals’ Strong Desire to Live
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – August 5, 2010 – A witness at the crash site called it “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Cattle walked the road smoldering or still on fire. Others lay dying on the pavement, with wounds so bad that their bones were showing. Out of this catastrophic nightmare bolted a lone determined bull, who despite suffering severe burns of his own, was so desperate to stay alive that he attempted to vault over a 3-foot concrete median. Early next week, this brave animal will arrive to a hero’s welcome at the upstate New York shelter of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, where his wounds will be gently treated and his traumatic ordeal put behind him. Soon, he will roam green pastures, bond with new friends, and live freely, as all cattle should. Late Monday night, amid the sirens, flashing lights, terror, and confusion, nothing could have seemed further away.
The accident happened just before midnight, when a 1999 Peterbilt semi hauling 34 cattle headed west on I-94 crashed into a 2011 Volvo semi at State Road 49 near Chesterton, Indiana. The driver of the cattle trailer was on his citizens' band radio talking to another driver when he hit the rear of the other truck. According to Indiana State Police, the tractor caught fire and ruptured, releasing the terrified animals onto the highway. The truck's driver dove out his window to escape the fire, but 18 of the 34 cattle perished, and others were injured. Of the 16 cattle who survived, seven attempted to escape with their lives, but as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, all had been accounted for, except one. According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas, the determined 2-year-old bull attempted to jump the 3-foot concrete median into the eastbound lanes but didn’t make it. After eluding capture for 12 hours and winning the respect and admiration of local residents moved by the story of a slaughterhouse-bound bull who literally rose from the ashes to save his own life, the courageous animal was caught by local officials and taken to the Porter County Animal Shelter, where he currently awaits safe transport to Farm Sanctuary.
“Farm Sanctuary is happy to take in this bull, who has experienced unimaginable horrors over the past several days,” said Farm Sanctuary National Shelter Director Susie Coston. “Every year thousands of animals die in transport accidents like the one witnessed by Indiana residents on I-94 last week. All too often, animals who survive these accidents are shot on site; rarely are they afforded veterinary care. To see so many people come forward and make a concerted effort to save this animal’s life shows a level of compassion seldom extended to animals raised for food, who deserve as much consideration as any other animal. We hope that his story of survival will help spread compassion for these animals far and wide and bring awareness to the need for laws that better protect farm animals during transport.”
The runaway bull follows in the footsteps of other daring animals who famously made dashes for freedom and now spend their days enjoying the peace and abundance of Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter — including two crafty cows named Maxine and Queenie, both escapees from a Queens slaughterhouse, whose stories have changed thousands of hearts and minds about animals and food.
More information about the beef industry and rampant problems in transport can be found at http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/factoryfarming/beef/.