Jay the bull cheats death. On the way to the slaughterhouse, the truck carrying Jay and his companions rear-ended another vehicle in Chesteron, Indiana, causing the truck to burst into flames. Cattle spilled out into the road – some were stumbling around, still on fire, while others lay on the ground, dying from injuries and burns. Eighteen of the 34 animals involved perished. Of the 16 remaining, all were accounted for and subsequently transported to the slaughterhouse … all except Jay. This resilient bull instead spent more than 12 hours on the lam, eluding authorities and captivating the hearts of the local community, which thought of him as a sort of bovine folk hero. Eventually, he was captured and brought to the Porter County Animal Shelter. Soon after Farm Sanctuary was alerted to his situation, we offered to give him refuge.
Though Jay’s story has a happy ending, livestock transportation accidents happen too frequently and rarely are the animals involved so fortunate. In fact, a similar story emerged from Omaha, Nebraska last week. A truck hauling 176 pigs tipped over while attempting to negotiate a curve and some of its living cargo fell out. Twenty of the pigs died in the crash while two others had to be euthanized later on. Thousands of farm animals are killed or injured in similar accidents throughout the country each year. It is because of statistics like these, not to mention stories like Jay’s, that livestock transportation remains an important concern in the realm of animal protection.
In Farm Sanctuary’s 2006 report on the subject, we identified two primary problems with livestock transportation: the possibility of highway accidents and the manner in which animals involved in those accidents are treated. Effectively, even if an animal is lucky enough to survive an accident, that individual can be injured or killed in the ensuing events. Animals can be struck by passing vehicles, die while waiting to be rescued, be inappropriately handled by first responders who aren’t trained for such circumstances, or, like Jay’s friends, be simply whisked off to slaughter as though nothing had happened.
This system cannot continue on the way it has been. As farm animal advocates, it is our duty to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak up for themselves and make sure their interests are heard.
To learn more about the subject of livestock transportation, please read our report.
Top photo: Jay at the Porter County Animal Shelter.