The Death-Defying Adventures of Emily the Cow

Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0 / Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

For the past few months, a cow has been terrorizing upstate New York. OK, “terrorizing” might be a little strong—a cow was seen grazing in random towns in upstate New York, managing to evade all attempts at trapping and capture. A couple of professional cowboys finally caught “Norman” over the weekend, bringing an end to his roaming.

But Norman isn’t the first cow to go rogue in the northeast, or even the most famous one. In 1995, a heifer named Emily was on death row at a slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Not wanting to go out like that, Emily jumped a 5-foot fence and ran off to freedom. For the next month, the fugitive was spotted all over town, nosing through backyards for food and even finding a herd of deer to pal around with. Local media stories about Emily's antics eventually inspired a family to save her from her future on someone’s sesame seed bun. They purchased the cow from the slaughterhouse and had her placed in a sanctuary in Sherborn, Massachusetts. She enjoyed a happy life at the Peace Abbey, passing away from cancer in 2003.

Emily's legend, however, lives on. She was buried on the grounds of the sanctuary with a life-size, $98,000 bronze statue erected in her honor. People still visit to this day to leave flowers and spend time reflecting on the crusade for animal rights—all thanks to one cow's determination to avoid becoming dinner.