A cow who valiantly escaped a slaughterhouse in Jamaica, Queens this morning has died. Its death came just as its release was being negotiated by a nearby sanctuary.
Mike Stura, founder of Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue in New Jersey, was notified of the cow’s death as he arrived on scene. He told the Voice that the animal’s owners were prepared to release it to Stura’s custody, but it perished in transit from the scene where it was eventually caught, exhausted after a two hour pursuit. Prior to its capture, police shot the cow multiple times with tranquilizer darts.
“I don’t know if it was too much for him. I don’t know if he had too much tranquilizer in him,” Stura said of the male cow, sounding dismayed.
A spokesperson from Farm Sanctuary, an affiliate of Skylands, confirmed that the cow died from over-tranquilization.
According to the DNAinfo, the bovine escaped from a slaughterhouse near Archer Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard around 10:30 a.m., evading a scrum of police for more than two hours before eventually succumbing to its captors. The NYPD said that its body is being transferred to a crematorium.
This is not the first time a cow has escaped. In January, a cow named Freddie broke free in Jamaica under similar circumstances, and was later transferred to a sanctuary. In April, another named Frank was spared after Jon Stewart intervened. Ditto a heifer named Molly in 2009. “We want her to live,” a spokesperson for Animal Care and Control told the Times of Molly. “We want her to live out her life, absolutely.”
Stura said he rescues as many escaped bulls and cows as he can, with varying degrees of success. He’s negotiated the release of several over the years, though added that his ability to acquire the animals from their owners depends on a number of variables, like the animal’s worth.
Knowing that all animals living in slaughterhouses are destined for death, I asked Stura what made him focus in particular on those that escaped.
“To me, they’re no different,” he said. “But when an animal puts his foot in the door, that gives me the opportunity to rescue him.”