As sly as a cow

Disclaimer: I love steak. I’m not just talking the occasional steak every now and then; I’m talking three days a week growing up I enjoyed a Porterhouse and a baked potato. It’s a South Dakota thing.

Problemkuh Yvonne narrt ihre Verfolger
Yvonne, a cow that has lived in the wild since eluding a trip to the slaughterhouse in May, has foiled all attempts to capture her. Now officials say that she’s not to be disturbed.

Now that we have any potential conflicts illuminated, meet Yvonne. Yvonne is German cow who stuck it to the man and ran away moments before she was to be slaughtered. It seems quite ordinary that a cow would get frightened as it is being ushered to its death. What is out of the ordinary is that Yvonne’s escape was successful. Moreover, she wasn’t just able to finagle her way out of the slaughterhouse line; Yvonne has managed to evade:

  • “Hunters on a shoot-to-kill mission (since called off);
  • Search parties of volunteers trying to find the cow before the hunters did;
  • Helicopters using thermal imaging cameras;
  • A reward of 10,000 euros ($14,533), offered by Bild, a German tabloid;
  • Entreaties delivered via animal psychic, who relayed that Yvonne “didn’t feel ready” to return to the world of humans.
  • Bovine lures, including an (allegedly) attractive bull ox, her “sister cow” Waltraud, and Yvonne’s calf, Friesi.” (NPR)

The extreme measures to catch Yvonne came when she almost ran into a police officer on the highway and she was subsequently named a ‘public safety hazard.’ Herein lies my first question: do the police have a right to put a bounty on this cow? If an all out war is declared every time a deer causes a car accident the necessary expansion in government workers is enough to cause the Republican Party to have an aneurism. That simply doesn’t seem like a sensible way of spending federal money.

And then there is the issue of special treatment. The efforts to capture Yvonne quickly caught public attention and a social movement behind the protection of her ensued (Yvonne’s Facebook page). While I’m entirely on Team Yvonne, why should it matter that society has a crush on this cow? If she is worthy of her ‘public safety hazard’ title, then the government ought to protect its citizens and eliminate any risk (or “risk”) Yvonne poses; we have no issue with the government capturing rogue skunks and other less-appealing “risk” critters.

Even if she isn’t a risk, the matter isn’t society’s decision to make. Now that an animal sanctuary has bought her, Yvonne is private property. Just because my dog is infinitely more appealing than my neighbor’s, the neighborhood is not allowed to impose their opinion on my dogs behavior any more so than on the ugly, yappy dog next door.

The third question is simple: at what point should this cow simply be left alone? Clearly she has an uncompromising desire to be free and apparently she is capable of surviving on her own. It’s not like Colonel Gaddafi trying to live out the rest of his years in peace – it’s a cow. She has been paid for. Assuming she isn’t an imposition on society, why can’t she just enjoy her bovine justice? Not a far leap from this question is the foundation to vegetarianism/veganism, but as the disclaimer warned, that’s not an argument I am going to explore.