Maxine: Daring Dash Around Queens Lands Renegade Cow at New York Shelter

The small oval-shaped sticker had few things printed on it. A series of numbers. A date. And two bar codes.

Watch Maxine’s Dash for Freedom!
Produced by Joshua Katcher of Perhaps Media

Though these marks are suitable ways to identify a can of beans or a bottle of aspirin, they were an insult to the living, breathing creature whose back the tag was stuck to.

But the sticker was probably the last thing on Maxine’s mind as she munched on clover grass hay in her pen in Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter cattle barn. The young Hereford cow was more likely soaking up the peace and quiet, the tranquility quite a bit different than what Maxine experienced when she ran for her life through the streets of Queens, N.Y.

New York City police and firefighters tracked Maxine down after calls poured into NYPD dispatchers about a cow on the loose in the borough. It took nearly an hour to corral her, and she was taken to the Manhattan branch of the New York City Animal Care & Control.

Then the media circus began. New York City journalists couldn’t get enough of the story of a cow fleeing imminent death. As word of Maxine’s flight spread, Farm Sanctuary members began calling our national headquarters requesting we do all we could for the cow and pledging support.

In less than a day’s time, Farm Sanctuary staff were en route to New York City to pick up the cow. By the time we got there, Maxine was still a little shaken and scared, but seemed to be in good health despite her ordeal.

New York City is home to several slaughterhouses, live markets and auctions, and escapees from these facilities are not uncommon. This year alone, our New York Shelter has taken in more than 100 farm animals from the city, including Lucky Lady, a lamb found wandering an industrial section of the South Bronx in June, and Joey, a goat rescued from Brooklyn streets in January.

When Maxine finally arrived at our shelter, she was immediately provided with food, bedding and a comfortable pen to relax in. That was the first order of business. The second? The unceremonious removal of the oval sticky tag, the small action marking her full transition from “food animal” to beloved New York Shelter resident.

She’s currently in an isolation pen in our main cattle barn, but as the day has progressed, she’s spent time meeting new friends through the gate. Bertha and Penelope have taken an interest in her. And, she finally met Queenie, another slaughterhouse escapee from Queens.

Initially, the press reported Maxine as “Queenie,” but our long-time resident who bears that namesake would have none of that. Once we secured a space for Maxine at our sanctuary, we knew that she needed a name all her own. We decided to name her in honor of artist Peter Max and his wife and activist Mary Max, bovine rescuers who helped bring another slaughterhouse escapee, Cinci Freedom, to our shelter in 2002. For the time being, Maxine will stay in the cattle barn until she’s been given a clean bill of health, then we will integrate her into our main cattle herd where she can spend her days frolicking and grazing with Queenie, Cinci, and the rest of these fortunate souls.

Maxine Rescue Fund

Farm animals like Maxine are fortunate because of members like you! Thank you to all who responded with donations to the Maxine Rescue Fund! To care for other brave survivors of the food animal industry with veterinary care, feed, straw bedding, and lifelong sanctuary care, we need your support.

Please call 607-583-2225 to donate; send checks to Farm Sanctuary, PO Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891; or click here to donate online.

Produced by Joshua Katcher, “Maxine’s Dash For Freedom” can be seen on international cable television on the network ‘Current TV’: 366 DIRECTV, 196 Dish Network, 107 Comcast, 189 AT&T U-verse, 103 Time Warner Digital New York City, 142 Time Warner Digital Los Angeles, (UK channels: Sky 193, Virgin Media 155)

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