Help Save Bill And Lou: College Oxen Still Set To Be Slaughtered So Students Can Eat Them

Have you heard about Bill and Lou? The two oxen used on a farm at Green Mountain College in Vermont whose administration now wants to send them to the slaughterhouse so students can eat them? Luckily, thanks to some pretty angry protesters, Bill and Lou are still alive. But not for long if the college has anything to say about it.

Bill and Lou have been the loyal and loving oxen who have worked the land for Green Mountain College for ten years. Suffice to say, they have become well-known friends to many around the college. But now, due to their age and an injury that is preventing them from working any longer, the cruel folks at GMC are refusing to let them spend their retirement at a nearby animal sanctuary that has offered to take them in at no cost to the college. Instead, they intend to slaughter their school “mascots” and use them for meat in the student dining hall.

College provost William Throophad originally said the animals would be sent out for slaughter by the end of October to a local facility that “works very humanely.” But now, that has been postponed because area slaughterhouses have been bombarded with angry and threatening protests.

Despite a petition signed by over 47,000 people to save these two oxen, the college says that Bill and Lou are somehow going to continue receiving “humane care” by being slaughtered and turned into meat that they can all eat because that’s somehow the right and sustainable thing to do:

At Cerridwen Farm, Green Mountain College’s working farm operation, we seek to teach and model small-scale farm production that is ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. We work to maintain high ethical standards for treatment of the land, people and animals. We have draft animals on the farm because they do important work which would otherwise be performed by equipment that consumes diesel fuel. We are currently engaged in many promising projects to demonstrate how small family farms, managed sustainably, can survive and thrive in an agricultural landscape dominated by industrial farms. Bill and Lou came to us nearly ten years ago as malnourished and neglected animals. At GMC they received considerate and humane care.

Oh, OK. Since when does “humane care” consist of killing and eating two beloved animals who have worked all their lives for you? Sounds like a major betrayal to me.

In a statement last week, the college says that they don’t really care what other people say, they are still moving ahead with this, but the killing hasn’t happened just yet because “regional slaughterhouses have been inundated with hostile and threatening e-mails and phone calls from extremist groups bent on interfering with the processing.”

Let’s hope the public keeps the pressure on to save Bill and Lou. Just one look at this photo of them would make anyone want to spare their lives instead of putting them on the end of someone’s fork.

You can direct emails to the head of the school’s farm program, Philip Ackerman-Leist: and to Ken Coburn, Director of Communications:




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    • Lilac

      You are probably a vegan and never worked on a real farm in your life. When a chicken can’t lay anymore it is killed and eaten. Farm animals are not pets. So as much as humans would like to dream these none working cows live out long happy lives in green pastures its not economical. Who is going to pay for all the feed, housing costs and vet bills? You? The people who sign the petition? Bring up money and maybe someone rich will donate enough for these cows to live happy ever after. Also you don’t mention the injury. Are they suffering? In constant pain?

      • Deb

        the animal sanctuary that has offered to take them in is doing so at NO COST to the college. This is just cruel. Do we kill people when they are old and can no longer contribute to society just because they cost us money?

      • Beatrice

        Lou can take an anti-inflammatory drug called Bute or Previcox to reduce the swelling and pain in his leg. It is something very manageable!!! He would be able to live out his days in peace. Gratitude for years of hard labor. A show of appreciation for making GMCs farm the success it is.

    • VtAnimaLover

      One of the oxen twisted a leg in a gopher hole and is no longer able to do the strenuous work of pulling a plow. Bill and Lou, who are closely bonded (this is typical behavior) have worked at Green Mountain College for ten years, and have become school mascots. The college purports to teach sustainability, and, despite massive public outcry that can only work to the detriment of its reputation, is determined to proceed with the slaughter. This is also typical of the intransigence of many producers, whose obstinacy thickens when animal protectionists pipe up. (They cite the notorious “slippery slope.”) U.S. farmers see their prescribed way of life threatened, and are deaf to the voices of those who object to the way animals live and die in an (unsustainably) carnivorous country.

      We cannot save all the animals, and it is intensely frustrating to have to take tiny steps to improve systemic horrors such as intensive confinement, de-horning, tail-docking, constant cycles of impregnation, etc., etc. But when a circumstance arises where individuals like Bill and Lou are beloved and there’s a safe place for them to live out their lives in peace, what is wrong with making an exception to the raise-kill-eat rule? Couldn’t a lesson in showing mercy and compassion be part of the curriculum at GMC and any other school?

      Regettably, the invisible, anonymous billions animals killed for human consumption do not receive such attention. But Bill and Lou have fostered a conversation that needs to take place about killing and eating animals–and its impact on us environmentally, ethically, and yes, emotionally. Long live Bill and Lou!

    • Deborah Granese

      Please don’t kill these beloved animals when there is a sanctuary willing to take them so they can live out the rest of their natural lives. What you propose doing is beyond cruel, I have never seen a “humane” slaughter. Please do the right thing and reward Bill and Lou for the years of their loyalty and contribution by giving them their freedom. Please don’t serve them up on a platter, their lives should not end in that hideous fashion.

    • Kasey

      The sanctuary offering to take Bill is known to have made inflammatory – and false – remarks about GMC in the past.

      In addition, the majority of students and staff at GMC support the slaughter. The vast majority of the 47,000 people who took 45 seconds to sign a petition and then not think about the issue any more – well, they have never been to GMC or talked to anybody there.

      Finally, the animal rights activists keep insisting Bill and Lou are mascots or pets. Our mascot is an eagle; no one thinks of any of the working farm animals as pets.

      What this really is about is animal rights activists attacking sustainable and humane animal agriculture in an effort to further their vegan agenda. They are not satisfied with ‘happy meat,’ or animals raised humanely and in a healthy, natural environment. They wish to push their agenda on people who disagree with them about veganism being the only ethical diet, but who do agree that animal welfare is important.

    • Naomi Rey

      Let Bill and Lou go to sanctuary. You have nothing to gain by being stubborn and brutal, evil and cruel. Do the right thing or forever be hated worldwide.

    • fergiesun

      To civilized people this is beyound ill. How can one eat what it befriends/? Students behaving like jungle bunnies is sad to see along with so little evolution in America and youth lacking in any understanding and with so many other choices of food to eat, . Perhaps they need a field trip to a country as advance as India. America need to grow up and out of its cow boy shoot um up image that the civilized see them as. For you can judge a country on its treatment to one another and all other species. Compassion,and understand should be the fashion not violence, greed and harming any other. To mature and grow and grow up this is what makes the difference between a mature person of some worth and a spoiled in mature child.

    • Trish

      For everyone up in arms about Bill and Lou, are they going to fight as hard to stop meat from being served in the school’s cafeteria entirely? I applaud the school for being sustainable, and for striving to lessen the impact of meat production by using these animals completely.

      The cafeteria is going to get meat one way or another, and I think it’s actually more respectful of animals to use humanely-treated animals for meat. And I am someone who thinks a vegetarian way of life is probably the best diet someone can choose, morally and environmentally. But let’s face it, people are not ever going to stop eating meat entirely.

      Encouraging institutions who are committed to sustainability to follow that idea all the way through, even when you don’t like the end of the cycle, is important to the idea of changing the way ALL meat is produced. If it is argued that all farm animals who are cared for shouldn’t ever be meat, then that is just encouraging “factory farming” and the terrible practices that go along with it, because those places don’t care about the animals are beings.

      Bill and Lou are working animals, they are not pets. Yes, they have been a symbol of the college, and as working animals, they are meeting an end that follows the work they’ve done their entire lives. It may not be the “natural” way of things, but neither was them working fields, and no one seemed to care about them when they were doing that. They will continue to be a symbol of the college and it’s commitment and respect of sustainability.

    • Shelby Anewwe

      VINE Sanctuary Members are in the game for one reason only. VINE stands for “Veganism Is the Next Evolution.”

      VINE members believe that anyone who eats meat is a sinner and a liar.
      They seem to especially target small scale farms, perhaps because the
      small farmer is not subsidized by big companies and corporations.

      VINE is not from Vermont. Nor do they pay Vermont taxes. On top of all
      this, they want to cease all animal farming, including the production of
      milk and eggs.

      Vermont is filled with farmers. Surrounded by
      farms. Steeped in agricultural history. Vermont has the highest rate for
      colleges per capita and Vermonters LOVE TO VOTE.

      MIRIAM JONES: “Factory “farmers” tend to be more honest about their
      motivations for doing the things they do than happy meat “farmers,” even
      though they all do the same thing: use and murder animals.”

      QUOTE IN REFERENCE TO SMALL SCALE FARMERS (by Miriam Jones): “They want a
      paycheck – they want to grill something out in their backyards and it
      ain’t tofu – and they don’t give a shit about the environment or global
      climate change or sustainability.”

      If you live in Vermont, if you are a farmer or if you know/knew someone who was a farmer, please take care and take note.

      These people will say anything to put you, your family, your friends, or your local farms out of business.