June 18th, 2011: She was being loaded into the holding pen of the Madina Live Poultry market where goats, sheep, chickens and other animals awaited death. This particular market is a Halal slaughterhouse catering to Muslim customers, but such “live kill” markets are extremely common in urban areas — they sell meat to people from many different cultures. Kayli saw an opportunity and made a break for it–running through the streets for close to an hour searching for safety. Wouldn’t anyone? But sadly she was captured by police and returned to the same pen with the other terrified, doomed animals.
Animal activist Marianne Bessey, a Philadelphia attorney, heard how the cow had run for her life and was moved to help. She went to the slaughterhouse and begged for Kayli’s life. When it seemed hopeful she might be released, WFAS Farm Manager Sheila Hyslop took our horse trailer and made the 4-hour journey there with dedicated volunteers Mike and Wendy Stura. But the slaughterhouse workers became intimidated when the press and other activists arrived and refused to release the cow. They locked the doors and left the premises.
Elissa Katz, an animal advocate and close supporter of WFAS, contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to act as a go-between. The Executive Director, Moein Khawaja, heard her pleas and stepped in to help. After all-day negotiations with state officials and the slaughterhouse owner (who was out of the country at the time), the eventual release of the young white heifer to WFAS was approved! In fact, she was officially “pardoned” by PA Gov. Tom Corbett’s office and the state’s Department of Agriculture, which waved a law that requires an animal be killed within 10 days of arriving at a slaughterhouse. (The term pardon seems strange used here since she did no wrong — she only wanted to save her own life.)
JULY 11 UPDATE:
Kayli underwent 2 weeks of mandatory quarantine before she could be transported from Pennsylvania to our New York sanctuary. She arrived on July 11th and was greeted by staff, volunteers, and friends, who welcomed her with both cheers and tears. See a slideshow!
At first she explored her pasture and was a bit shy but within minutes she was running around with glee. After a while we thought she’d like to meet some of the other animals, and so we opened up a series of gates so that she could see and smell the other cows. There was a tremendous amount of bovine excitement with cows sprinting up and down the fence-line as if they were playing tag, and then the older ones licked Kayli’s head affectionately over the fence! See coverage on NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, Philly.com and YNN-TV.
Here at WFAS she will spend the rest of her life unharmed, care-free and surrounded by loving people who see her as a life to be valued—here WITH us and not FOR us.