Baritone bull to woo fugitive cow
A €10 000 reward is being offered in Germany for the safe return of a cow called Yvonne who went on the run in May after apparently sensing she was about to be sent to the slaughterhouse.
The six-year-old dairy cow has, in the words of one newspaper, become “a kind of freedom fighter for the animal-loving German public” since she escaped from a field near the village of Zangberg, 80 kilometres northeast of Munich, on May 24.
After being fattened up, she was due to be dispatched but she breached the electric fence surrounding her farm. For months she led a quiet life grazing among the fir trees of nearby forests, until she nearly came a cropper crossing a road in the path of a police car.
As word spread of this seemingly invincible cow, animal protection activists got involved, incensed that local hunters had been given permission to shoot Yvonne on sight. Gut Aiderbichl, an animal sanctuary over the Austrian border in Salzburg, agreed to buy Yvonne from the farm for €600 and has offered her a paddock to graze on for the rest of her days.
Now a fight is on as the bovine protectionists are pitted against the trigger-happy Bavarians, who shot and killed Bruno, the first bear to be seen on German soil for 170 years, in June 2006.
Gut Aiderbichl are pulling out all the stops to catch Yvonne alive. They have enlisted the help of a bull called Ernst to lure her back home. Ernst has “a deep baritone moo that will appeal to Yvonne” and has a particularly bullish musk, according to the sanctuary’s founder, Michael Aufhauser. “He is the George Clooney of bulls.” But sex is not on the agenda as Ernst is castrated.
Yvonne’s sister, Waltraut, has also been brought in to try to attract her, and Aufhauser called on an animal psychic to communicate with Yvonne. Franziska Matti, an animal communication expert from Berne in Switzerland, said she had managed to contact Yvonne using telepathy.
“I spoke to her yesterday and she said that she was fine but didn’t feel ready to come out of hiding,” said Matti. “She said she knew that Ernst had been waiting for her but that she was scared. She said she thought that humans would lock her up and she would no longer be free.”
The German tabloid Bild offered a €10 000 reward for Yvonne’s safe capture and Franz Markl, mayor of Zangberg, said he was delighted Yvonne had decided to go missing during the traditional summer news lull. “We trained the cow well for the summer [news] vacuum,” Markl said. “Now everyone in Germany has heard of our lovely village.”—