It is not only Meteor the fugitive yak who should be spared from slaughter.   All animals should be, writes End Animal Slaughter contributor LYNLEY TULLOCH 

 

When animals escape from the slaughter house truck, there is often media interest. I often wonder what it is about this scenario that captures the public imagination so much?

A recent story reported by BBC news, concerns an “aloof yak” who has gone on the run following his escape from a farm truck on the way to the butcher. This yak has a name – Meteor – and he has been raised for meat on a small family farm in Buckingham, in Rural Virginia.

After his escape, it is reported that Meteor crashed through a stop sign. He also visited several locations, including the grounds of Orchard House Bed and Breakfast. He looked “happy to be there” according to the B&B owner Deb Verplank. However, when an animal control officer and four policemen showed, Meteor didn’t hang around.   “I really think Meteor knew what was going on and where he was headed, and decided it wasn’t for him” said Verplank.

It strikes me as strange that one of the very reasons people feel comfortable with eating animals (their diminished rationality) now stands out as the reason that he should be saved. Verplank called him ‘smart’, and wants him to live. Is Meteor a stand-alone intelligent bull who deserves to live, whereas the rest must die?  I don’t think Meteor is smarter than other bulls, and even if he is, this should not be a reason to save his life.

I don’t think Meteor is smarter than other bulls, and even if he is, this should not be a reason to save his life. 

Having raised bovines myself I know that they will attempt to sav themselves when in perceived danger. Being on a moving truck is terrifying for them, and given the opportunity, a single animal will do anything possible to find his way back to the safety of the herd.  The movement, the noise of the engine and other loud, unusual sounds and smells will spook any bovine. Meteor managed to escape, but he is no different from any other bull.  He is not a hero, but a desperate animal who knows his life is in danger, and is trying to get back to safety.

Right now Meteor will be terrified, alone, without a herd, and let down in the worst possible way by the people who claimed to care for him – the farmers themselves, who were sending him to slaughter.

Right now Meteor will be terrified, alone, without a herd, and let down in the worst possible way by the people who claimed to care for him – the farmers themselves, who were sending him to slaughter.

There is also another theme that emerges during these kind of escapes. The animals are often referred to using language suited for an escaped prisoner. The BBC reported that Meteor was ‘on the loose’ and ‘missing’ and ‘currently on the run’. So on the one hand, Meteor has become a minor celebrity and on the other, he is a felon.   He is the felon that everyone is rooting for, even while they tuck into a beef burger.

I know a lot of people find his story amusing. I just find it desperately sad. Meteor is said to have headed for the mountains.   He has his freedom, but he will be suffering. He has lost the only home he ever knew, and the herd he belonged to as well. He will be feeling very vulnerable and traumatized.

The layers of meaning attached to Meteor’s story is typical of such stories.   The animal is smart, knew his fate, attempted a daring escape and therefore deserves to live.  It looks like Meteor’s life may be spared, as ‘owner’ Robert Cissell was reported as saying that he would ‘live out his life, now he is a celebrity’.

I really hope Meteor is allowed to live out his natural life.  All animals deserve to, Meteor included.

See also:

Cow swam for over 5 hours in a desperate attempt to escape certain death, but was slaughtered that night.  

 

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