Fame and fortune have smiled on Hermien the Dutch cow, who escaped as she was being sent to slaughter, and has become a social network star after a month on the hoof.
Thanks to her tenacity and a crowd-funding campaign which has raised 48,000 euros, the three and a half-year old red Limousin will get to live out her days in pasture.
Hermien’s plucky bid for freedom came as she was about to loaded into a truck to be taken to the abattoir and spawned an outpouring of support.
For more than four weeks she has refused to be caught, hiding out in the safety of the woods in northern Friesland, while Twitter lit up with hashtags such as #JesuisHermien, #GoHermien and #MeKoe. The latter is a play on the #MeToo campaign, incorporating the Dutch word for “cow”.
Even the royal family took up her case, with Pieter van Vollenhoven, the son-in-law of former Queen Beatrix urging “we’ve got to save Hermien”.
“Let’s all buy her together and give her freedom,” he said.
We launched a successful 'cowfunding' campaign to save #Hermien,a #rebel #cow. MP @estherouwehand :“Hermien is fighting for her #life & we are going to help her. She reminds us all of an important lesson: no #animal wants to be sent to slaughter."❤️ https://t.co/ApEl3M6HpG pic.twitter.com/FGCC6oMIdM— PartyfortheAnimals (@Party4Animals) January 30, 2018
Officially called “Joke 18” after the wife of her owner, Toon van den Enk, Hermien escaped with another cow, which was swiftly recaught.
“She must have been stressed at the moment she was walking into the truck for the abattoir. Since then we haven’t been able to catch her,” vet Edo Hamersma told AFP.
At night, Hermien has been sneaking into nearby stables for food, before disappearing again into the shadows.
According to the AD daily, the campaign has raised enough money for her to live comfortably in the fields for the rest of her days.
But she still needs to be recaptured, and remains “very fearful,” said Hamersma.
“We’ll have to leave her alone, and wait for better weather when the herd goes out into the fields. Then she’ll probably approach them by herself.”