Poster girl for bovine freedom
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’’.