An escaped cow lovingly nicknamed Mootilda has been captured and killed after spending months on the run. She reportedly escaped during a traffic accident last summer, surviving in the woods of Upper Township, New Jersey, partly thanks to the efforts of a kind local.
Despite knowing “almost nothing” about farmed animals, Anne Merrill was determined to help once she spotted a scraggly, malnourished brown cow in her neighborhood. With advice from animal welfare organizations, Merrill began to leave out wading pools full of fresh water and the correct kind of feed for Mootilda. She watched as the skinny cow put on weight, and Mootilda’s dull coat became a glossy reddish brown.
While Mootilda was never aggressive, she was large and strong enough to avoid capture the two times Merrill tried. Merrill dreamed of sending the brave cow to a sanctuary and searched diligently for a loving forever home for Mootilda. She said:
I’m working feverishly to find it a good home. At this point, it’s become more like a pet. The thought of eating it now seems horrifying.
Tragically, Mootilda never got the happy ending she deserved. Her owner—who has so far decided to remain anonymous—recently confirmed that after months of miraculously surviving in the woods, Mootilda had been caught and butchered. The owner expressed concern that news of Matilda’s slaughter would draw backlash from the community, who had grown attached to her. He said, “It was not a pet.”
While Mootilda’s story is tragic, every cow suffering and dying at factory farms around the world deserves mourning. Cows are incredible animals who feel deep love for their friends and family. They get excited when they solve problems—just like humans!—and enjoy listening to music. Yet the vast majority of cows are slaughtered with no regard for their unique personalities.
It’s time to do better for cows and other farmed animals—and it starts with us. We can all promote a less violent, more compassionate, and more sustainable world just by choosing plant-based foods. It’s really that simple! Give it a try for one week, and see how you feel.
In the mood for some happier news? Here are five inspirational stories of brave animals who risked everything to escape transport trucks—and succeeded.