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: firstname.lastname@example.org and to Ken Coburn, Director of Communications: email@example.com.