Cow that abandoned farm life for freedom dies in sanctuary

A cow, which escaped slaughter by running away to a forest and execution after global outcry, died peacefully at a sanctuary in Germany on Tuesday, reports say.

Yvonne, above, (Photo credit: Gut Aiderbichl) passed away at 14 exactly eight years after she left the forest and appeared on a pasture before being taken to Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary in Deggendorf.

In a glowing tribute to Yvonne, the sanctuary described her as an animal of great character adding that veterinarians and animal carers tried their best to save her.

A spokeswoman of the sanctuary said they had to finally put her to sleep.

The brown-and-white dairy cow made headlines at the age of six when she ran away from a pasture in Aschau to a forest around Zangberg in Bavaria on 24 May 2011 and, weeks later, stood in front of a police car.

Law enforcement authorities viewed her as a security risk and issued a shoot-to-kill hunting order.

Farmers and animal lovers were shocked. Media started running stories of a strong-willed and freedom-loving cow that wanted to roam the woods to her heart’s content instead of turning into steak. They reported that Yvonne’s owner had plans to send her to the slaughter house after fattening her.

The extensive media coverage and massive public outrage forced the district authority of Muhldorf am Inn to revoke their order against the cow.

Yvonne enjoyed her life in the woods for more than three months. During this time, employees at Gut Aiderbichl tried various methods to lure her out of the forest but none of their plans worked.

On Sept 2, 2011, Yvonne surprised the world by coming out of the woods and appearing on a farm in the Muehldorf area near the Austrian border.  The owner of the farm contacted Gut Aiderbichl.

The sanctuary bought the cow from its owner in Aschau for $772 and took her to its new home in Deggendorf.

Like Yvonne, a Bulgarian cow called Penka faced execution last year after it wandered into Serbia, a non-EU country, and returned 15 days later
without proper paperwork on her health.

The death sentence caused global outrage forcing the federal Food Safety Agency to intervene. Penka’s life was spared after medical analysis
showed the animal was in perfect health.

Last year, another German cow called Madel gained media attention after the Hindu community in the port city of Bremen sought her opinion to build a temple.

Cows are sacred to Hindus and Madel looked immensely pleased by the way the community treated him. Her positive mood gave the signal for the community to go ahead with the temple project.