A cow captured by police after fleeing from a New York City slaughterhouse has been taken in by an animal sanctuary and renamed for rock legend Freddie Mercury. Mike Stura, the founder of the Skylands Animal Sanctuary in Wantage, N.J., picked up the cow Friday morning, Jan. 21, at the slaughterhouse in Queens.

   The cow was scheduled to be killed Friday. Instead, Freddie rode through rush-hour traffic in a trailer, and visited a vet before arriving at the sanctuary.

   Stura said Freddie would enjoy "a life of leisure," being cared for alongside "cow friends."

--Associated Press

By Cary Brunswick


   ``So, Freddie, how did you ever get out of that slaughterhouse,’’ one of his new cow friends, Henry, asked after the new arrival got settled in at the sanctuary.       

   ``Well, Henry, it’s hard to believe but we were told we were going to a spa and, going into the big city, most of the cows fell for it. But an old milker had smuggled in a flick, `Fast Food Nation.’ Talk about depressing. Seeing that made me realize we’re not in a spa here like they told us. I told the bovines that we were in a darn slaughterhouse. How could we be so foolish?

   ``That’s when I warned them all that we were being groomed all right, but not in spa. After seeing that death march of an assembly line those cows were on in the movie, I decided that I wasn’t sticking around for it. I’m busting outta here.

   ``Yeah, the other cows tried to tell me I didn’t have a chance. `This is Queens,’ they said. `If you don’t get hit by traffic on the roads, they’ll round you up in no time and if they don’t shoot you, they’ll probably put you first in line when you get back’.’’

   Henry, in awe, said, ``cow, you are one brave bovine. But I can’t blame you. You were free-range, grass-fed, right? When you expect to be kindly raised and gently killed, what a nightmare to end up in some big-city slaughterhouse.’’

   ``Not only that,’’ Freddie continued. ``I was earmarked to be a bundle of prime rib, steaks and hamburger for a local family. The next day I was scheduled to be visiting the executioner. But I had heard about a couple of cows that escaped from a trailer over in Jersey a few years back. And, guess what? They were caught, naturally, but they didn’t get sent on to the death chamber. They got shipped to a petting zoo. So, I figured an escape was worth a shot. What’s the worse that could happen, right? It was pretty scary, though. Once I made a mad dash through the opening in the gate, dodging all the vehicles, slipping and sliding on the pavement, and then the sound of sirens, I thought I was done for. I ducked, or should I say cowed, into a parking garage and that’s where they lassoed me.’’

  ``Wow,’’ exclaimed Henry, ``that’s quite a story. So they took you back to the slaughterhouse, for what you thought would be your last corn-meal supper. What happened then? How’d you end up here?’’

   Freddie said he’d never been a fan of social media, but he heard the story of his attempted escape went viral on numerous websites. ``Apparently Mr. Stura saw something on Facebook and galloped straight to the slaughterhouse with a trailer. He talked the death-row wardens into letting me go with him back here to the sanctuary.’’

   ``It’s funny isn’t it,’’ Henry said. ``Imprisoned humans sure aren’t rewarded for trying to escape; they get more time penned up. I like what that woman from PETA said: `This cow's daring bid for freedom can and should be rewarded with retirement at a sanctuary where the animal will never be hacked apart for brisket or burgers.’

   ``Welcome to your new life of leisure, Freddie.’’