Cows Who Gained Fame by Escaping From Slaughterhouses

Jul 6, 2023 0 comments

Stories of animals successfully escaping slaughterhouses can inspire hope and serve as a catalyst for change. Slaughterhouses have long been a subject of controversy, with heated debates surrounding the treatment of animals within these facilities. Animal welfare advocates argue that slaughterhouses are the epicenter of animal cruelty, pointing to various practices that raise ethical concerns. When an animal escape a slaughterhouse, it demonstrates the resilience and intelligence of animals and challenge the notion that they are mere commodities. Such stories can motivate individuals to reevaluate their own choices and promote alternatives that prioritize animal welfare, such as adopting plant-based diets or supporting cruelty-free industries.

Photo credit: wirestock/Freepik

While many animals who escape slaughterhouses are eventually caught or killed, few manage live out their lives in sanctuaries by appealing to public consciousness and people’s emotions. The following are their stories.


On November 14, 1995, a three-year-old heifer named Emily, weighing 1,600 pounds, escaped from a slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, the United States. She jumped over a five-feet tall gate—an extraordinary feat, given her hefty size. For forty days, Emily roamed the backyards of the neighborhood foraging for food in snow. Oftentimes, she was seen running with a herd of deer. Soon the local paper was running updates on Emily sightings. The story of Emily’s plight reached the Randa family who purchased her from the slaughterhouse and brought her to live in sanctuary at the Peace Abbey.

During her stay at the Peace Abbey, Emily received visits from individuals both from within the country and abroad, and soon became a representative of animal rights and vegetarianism. She even took part as a bridesmaid in a few weddings. Emily's impact was deeply felt by those at the abbey, and her narrative struck a chord with diverse religious and cultural customs.

Emily died in 2003 and was buried at the Peace Abbey. A life-sized bronze statue of Emily was erected on her grave.

The statue of Emily the Cow on her grave. Photo credit: Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

Cincinnati Freedom

In 2002, a 1,050-pound Charolais cow leaped over a six-foot fence at a slaughterhouse in Cincinnati, Ohio, and escaped. The cow eluded capture for 11 days by staying hidden in a park where she foraged and rested when she could. During her time on the run, she captured the hearts of countless individuals, leading to a flood of appeals for mercy pouring into the city from all corners of the nation. Eventually, acclaimed artist Peter Max bought the cow and brought her to Farm Sanctuary in New York where she spent the rest of her life. There, she was christened Cincinnati Freedom. She was reported to have made a number of friends in the sancturay, including Queenie, a cow who escaped from a slaughterhouse in Queens, New York, in 2000.

In 2008, Cincinnati Freedom developed spinal cancer and had to euthanized.


Yvonne lived as a dairy cow for a mountain farmer in the Liesertal valley in the Austrian Alps, until 2011, when she was sold to a farmer in Aschau am Inn, Bavaria, who planned to fatten and slaughter her. Somehow Yvonne got sense of her impending fate. On 24 May 2011, Yvonne busted through an electric-fence and made her escape, hiding in woods nearby.

Curious visitors and search parties armed with infrared cameras scoured through the woods for months but without any signs of the cow. They laid out food traps, brought in hunting dogs, and even sent companion cows to draw her out. As all attempts to capture Yvonne failed, the cow received increasing attention from the mass media in Germany and Austria and later all over the world. The German tabloid Bild offered a reward of ten thousand euros for her recovery.

Yvonne was eventually captured after more than three months. She was purchased by Michael Aufhauser, the founder of a nearby animal sanctuary called Gut Aiderbichl, where she lived the rest of her life.


In 2017, a cow named Hermien managed to escape before she could be loaded onto a truck and taken to a slaughterhouse in the Dutch province of Friesland. The story of her escape soon spread across social media, and demands for her amnesty began pouring in. Even the royal family took up her case, with Pieter van Vollenhoven, the son-in-law of former Queen Beatrix urging “we’ve got to save Hermien”. “Let’s all buy her together and give her freedom,” he said.

About six weeks later, the Dutch Party for the Animals launched a crowdfunding campaign to save a cow. In two weeks they managed to raise €50,000.

Two months after her escape, Hermien was caught and sent to a retirement home along with another cow that had escaped but caught soon after.


More on Amusing Planet


{{posts[0].date}} {{posts[0].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[1].date}} {{posts[1].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[2].date}} {{posts[2].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}


{{posts[3].date}} {{posts[3].commentsNum}} {{messages_comments}}