Poster girl for bovine free­dom

Manawatu Standard - - Opinion - Jane Bowron

Birds are found dead or dy­ing in Kil­birnie af­ter be­ing dec­o­rated with Christ­mas tin­sel. A kit­ten is cal­lously chucked out of a mov­ing car in South Auck­land. A tourist op­er­a­tor hap­pens upon half a dozen baby fur seals de­cap­i­tated at Scenery Nook in Banks Penin­sula.

These are the cru­elty-to-an­i­mals sto­ries that have lit­tered the news over the hol­i­day pe­riod, though an au­topsy sug­gests that the strange case of the head­less fur seal pups may not be the re­sult of foul play by hu­mans.

Who or what bit or sliced the heads off the pups re­mains a mys­tery, with the net be­ing thrown wider to rest the pos­si­ble blame at the door of leop­ard seals, sea li­ons or other fur seals. A thou­sand curses on the cul­prit that com­mit­ted the act, and on those who played dress-up-dolly at­tach­ing tin­sel to the birds, and de­fen­es­trated the kit­ten from the mov­ing car.

‘‘What is wrong with peo­ple!’’, the uni­ver­sal cry goes up (ex­cept from the bud­ding se­rial killer) when we hear of such malev­o­lent acts vis­ited upon poor de­fence­less an­i­mals.

But there was one story that glad­dened the heart and un­earthed from the mem­ory banks the ral­ly­ing cry ‘‘We will fight for bovine free­dom!’’ Taken from the hi­lar­i­ous song Cows With Guns by Dana Lyons, which I en­cour­age you to watch on Youtube, this satir­i­cal song of cows ris­ing up against their op­pres­sors is full of puns and in­spi­ra­tional mil­i­tancy.

If Hol­ly­wood can wrench its jaded gaze away from vi­o­lence and make a heart-warm­ing tale about the fol­low­ing true story, I do hope that Cows With Guns will be enough to sat­isfy their ob­ses­sive need to in­sert a shooter into ev­ery sto­ry­line, and the an­them will be used as the sound­track.

A fit, young and healthy cow called Bri­anna was crammed on to the sec­ond floor of a truck bound for the slaugh­ter­house. As the truck hur­tled down Route 80 just out­side of Pater­son, New Jersey, Bri­anna, sens­ing that the end was nigh, kicked the door of the trailer door open and jumped 8ft to her free­dom. (NB: no other cows fol­lowed.)

Bri­anna man­aged to sur­vive the fall and went on the run pur­sued by the cops, who gave chase for hours. The coura­geous cow was only 10 min­utes from the slaugh­ter­house and there was no way she was go­ing to give her­self up.

How­ever, she was fi­nally caught and har­nessed by a state trooper who mounted her, rid­ing her like a bull as she tried to buck him off. En­ter white knight Mike Stura, from Sky­lands An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary and Res­cue to the res­cue.

Hear­ing of Bri­anna’s bid for free­dom, Stura took pos­ses­sion of her and led her off to his shel­ter. Bri­anna was only two days into en­joy­ing fresh grass at her new sanc­tu­ary when, holy cow, to ev­ery­one’s sur­prise the sa­cred cow gave birth to a healthy girl calf called Win­ter. I am happy to re­port that both mother and daugh­ter are do­ing well and will live out the rest of their days, till the cows come home, at Sky­lands.

Ac­cord­ing to Jonathan Leake, sci­ence editor of Bri­tain’s Sun­day Times, ‘‘cows have a men­tal life in which they bear grudges, nur­ture friend­ships and be­come ex­cited over in­tel­lec­tual chal­lenges’’.

I sin­cerely hope that Bri­anna is still ex­cited by her in­tel­lec­tual chal­lenge of plot­ting her es­cape. De-grudged, may she for­ever dine out retelling her ful­filled re­venge fan­tasy story of how she es­caped her ex­e­cu­tion to be­come a friend to all cows, and the poster girl who dared ‘‘to fight for bovine free­dom’’.

Our over­all per­for­mance is plateau­ing or de­clin­ing com­pared with other coun­tries.

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