Cincinnati Freedom, the fugitive cow

From Yesterday's Cincinnati Enquirer: 

Fugitive Cow Passes Away 
By Barry M. Horstman 
January 10, 2009

Cincinnati Freedom, the fugitive cow that drew worldwide 
headlines when she escaped from a Camp Washington 
slaughterhouse in 2002 and eluded authorities for 11 
days, has died at an animal sanctuary in New York. 

The 2,000-pound white Charolais, "adopted" by 
internationally renowned artist Peter Max after her 
stirring escape in Cincinnati, was put down Dec. 29 at 
the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen shortly after being 
diagnosed with spinal cancer. The quickly spreading 
cancer, which becomes apparent in cows only when the 
size of the tumor puts pressure on the spine, caused 
the cow – often called Cinci or Freedom for short - 
to lose the use of her back legs. 

The day before Cinci's death, Farm Sanctuary officials 
noticed her stumbling, and by the following day, she 
was paralyzed and couldn't walk, said Susie Coston, the 
Farm Sanctuary's national shelter director. Even so, 
Cinci, always shy around humans, tried to crawl away 
when a veterinarian arrived to examine her, Coston said. 

Cinci's closest pals in the sanctuary's herd of about 50 
cattle – other slaughterhouse escapees that included 
Queenie from Queens, N.Y., Annie Dodge from Vermont and 
Maxine from New York – were no more thrilled to see the 
vet and dented her car, Coston said. 

The evening before, when her immobility kept Cinci in 
the pasture, her cow buddies spent the night with her. 

"She had some very good friends who were very 
protective of her," Coston said. 

After the vet determined there was no hope Cinci would 
recover use of her legs, sanctuary officials decided 
to humanely euthanize her. 

Again, the herd surrounded Cinci, with one of the oldest 
steers, Kevin, licking her face, while Iris, an older 
female, licked her back to soothe her in her final 
minutes, said Natalie Bowman, the sanctuary's 
communications director. They remained with Cinci 
until she was buried, after initially chasing a worker 
who arrived to handle the sad task back to his tractor. 

"It was very moving," Coston said. "I've never seen 
anything like it. You really saw all those basic 
emotions at work." 

Cinci became a folk hero in February 2002 when, 
moments before she was to be slaughtered, she jumped 
a six-foot fence at Ken Meyer Meats in Camp Washington 
and evaded police and officials from the Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for a week and a 
half while foraging in Mount Storm Park. 

News outlets from Canada, England, France, Germany 
and Australia covered the elusive cow's saga, which 
also repeatedly made the national news, including 
ABC-TV's "Good Morning America," where then-Mayor 
Charlie Luken pledged to give her a key to the city. 
In the course of that coverage, reporters left no pun 
unturned, milking the story for all it was worth. 

After her capture, Max, saying he was "very touched 
by this cow's run for freedom, for life," bought the 
animal from Meyer Meats and paid to send her to the 
sanctuary in upstate New York, where hundreds of 
animals rescued from slaughterhouses, stockyards and 
factory farms receive lifelong care. 

Max named the cow Cincinnati Freedom. He also often 
called her Cindy Woo, Coston said. 

Sanctuary officials were not certain of Cinci's age, 
but estimate that she was 6 to 8 years old when she 
arrived in April 2002, meaning she would have been 
13 to 15 when she died. "That's a pretty good life 
for a Charolais," Coston said. 

At the sanctuary, Cinci apparently found that it was 
more fun to eat when one did have not to worry any 
longer about being eaten herself, gaining more than 
500 pounds. 

"She was a bit of a chunk," Coston said, laughing. 
Still, to the end, Cinci could clear a five-foot 
fence from a standstill position, she said. "It was 
an amazing thing to see," she said. 

Something of a celebrity at the sanctuary, Cinci drew 
countless visitors familiar with her story. 

"People from Ohio were always visiting," Bowman said. 

Coston thinks she understands why. 

"She symbolized the will to live, to enjoy life and not 
be messed with," Coston said. "We can relate to that."

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