Cows on the loose near Lake Superior meet a sad end
Four cows staying near Lake Superior after escaping from the slaughterhouse three months ago have died.
The OPP Upper East Detachment said the animals were euthanized.
“I can confirm that four of the cows had to be culled as efforts to encircle them failed and they had become a public safety issue,” spokeswoman Ashley Nickle said in an email.
“We don’t know how many remain outstanding, if any.”
On May 14, the cows were on board a truck heading for the slaughterhouse. As the driver was driving along Highway 17 near Old Woman Bay in the early morning, another vehicle reportedly pulled into the oncoming lane. The cattle truck left the road and rolled over into a ditch. Three cows were injured and then euthanized. But between 40 and 50 cows escaped and headed for the forest.
Most of the cows were rounded up in the first few days, Nickle said. At least some ended up at a local farm, she noted.
A Star editor came across the four outstanding fugitives in the area over the Civic Holiday weekend.
Details about the circumstances surrounding the euthanasia are not known. The Ontario Provincial Police had previously said they would only approach the cows if they became a hazard to traffic and there were multiple complaints from drivers.
A resident of nearby Wawa told the Star she saw the slaughtered cows on August 2 while driving down the highway with a friend.
“We’ve all heard about the slaughter truck going off the road in May and you seeing the cows from time to time,” Emma Blanchet said. “I always saw them on the side of the road, just grazing or drinking from the river.”
Blanchet, who does not eat beef, contacted animal shelters earlier the same day to see if there was a way to save the cattle. She heard from two, but neither could take them. But when Blanchet and a friend went to the area for a hike that evening, they saw people ready to shoot the cows. After the hike, they saw the dead cows on the side of the road.
“I understand to some degree,” Blanchet said, noting that the cows were unlikely to survive very long near the highway and especially during the region’s harsh winters. “I’m angry that I didn’t act sooner.”
Scott Tinney, a staff attorney at Animal Justice, a Canadian animal rights group, said he hoped authorities would try to find alternatives before euthanizing livestock.
“If the cows were in a condition where they could have continued to live a healthy and happy life, then efforts should have been made … to try to send them to a rescue or a sanctuary as a priority,” he said. stated, noting that the group was not involved with the cows in this incident.
(It is unclear whether the OPP or other authorities have explored alternatives. A detachment spokesperson did not respond to interview requests Monday.)
Blanchet’s friend said that while the cows were unlikely to survive in the wild, it was not the outcome she was hoping for.
“They were so resilient in the fact that they survived the way they did, and it was really nice to see them,” said Jerah Frisque, who also lives in Wawa.
“It’s a shit ending.”
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