Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Cinci Freedom, a cow that escaped from a Cincinnati meatpacking plant in 2002 and ran free in a city park for 10 days, lived out the second half of her life in bucolic splendor at the Farm Sanctuary, in upstate New York, reports the Associated Press.

Cinci was euthanized Dec. 29 after losing one of her hind legs from spinal cancer.

Although she never lost her intense fear of humans, the 13-year-old Charolais put on as much as 800 pounds and found plenty of room for frolicking on a 175-acre animal sanctuary with a herd of feisty soul mates rescued from factory farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses.

Cinci, which had slimmed down to 1,200 pounds after years of breeding, jumped a 6-foot fence to elude slaughter in February 2002. In tracking her down, authorities searched a 57-acre park by foot, Jeep and helicopter, left out hay and even brought in other cows to lure the runaway.

She was eventually tranquilized and captured by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. On April 1 that year, she was presented with a key to the city. But she was kept out of a parade for the start of the baseball season when she became too balky and had to be tranquilized a second time.

In the meantime, animal-welfare activists stepped forward to guarantee her a new home. Artist Peter Max took custody after offering paintings to help in the expansion of the Cincinnati-area animal society.

"She arrived at the shelter with abscesses on her face," Coston said. "She was pretty thin and dirty and just didn't look healthy."

But she hadn't lost any of her high spirits.

"We usually quarantine animals for three to six weeks," Coston said. "She actually got out of the barn, smashed a gate and then another gate, and put herself in the herd within the first week. After being here for a year, she was close to 2,000 pounds, her coat was really clean and white and she was very muscled.

"She was always very aware of people present but she didn't have that constant fear because she was a part of a herd and that's the structure they live in" out on the pasture.

While dairy cattle can often live to 30 years, the age span for large breeds such as Charolais is typically 15 years to 20 years, Coston said.

As Cinci lay dying in a snowy field, the herd of 55 gathered around and some stepped forward to lick her face and back.
Her death was "sad and emotional" for those who cared for her, Coston said, but also a triumph for "anyone who feels that all beings should have the right to be free and to live out their lives in peace."

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