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Kayli, a “beef breed” cow, made a dash for her life from a slaughterhouse just outside of Philadelphia. See video at bottom.

On June 18, 2011, Kayli was being loaded into the holding pen of the Madina Live Poultry market where goats, sheep, chickens and other animals awaited death. This particular market is a Halal slaughterhouse catering to Muslim customers, but such “live kill” markets are extremely common in urban areas—they sell meat to people from many different cultures. Kayli saw an opportunity and made a break for it–running through the streets for close to an hour searching for safety. Wouldn’t anyone? But sadly, she was captured by police and returned to the same pen with the other terrified, doomed animals.

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Animal activist Marianne Bessey, a Philadelphia attorney, heard how the cow had run for her life and was moved to help. She immediately went to the slaughterhouse and begged for Kayli’s life. When it seemed hopeful she might be released, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary staff took our horse trailer and made the 4-hour journey there. But, the slaughterhouse workers became intimidated when the press and other activists arrived and refused to release the cow. They locked the doors and left the premises.


A young Kayli after first arriving at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

Elissa Katz, an animal advocate and Sanctuary board member, contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to act as a go-between. Executive Director Moein Khawaja heard her pleas and stepped in to help. After all-day negotiations with state officials and the slaughterhouse owner (who was out of the country at the time), the eventual release of the young white heifer was approved! In fact, she was officially “pardoned” by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s office and the state’s Department of Agriculture, which waved the law that requires an animal be killed within 10 days of arriving at a slaughterhouse (the term pardon seems strange here since she did no wrong — she only wanted to save her own life!).


At the Sanctuary

Kayli underwent 2 weeks of mandatory quarantine before she could be transported from Pennsylvania to our New York sanctuary. She arrived on July 11, 2011 and was greeted by staff, volunteers, and friends who welcomed her with both cheers and tears. See a slideshow!

At first Kayli explored her pasture and was a bit shy, but within minutes she was running around with glee. After a while we thought she’d like to meet some of the other animals, so we opened up a series of gates where she could see and smell the other cows. There was a tremendous amount of bovine excitement—cows sprinting up and down the fence-line as if they were playing tag, and the older ones licked Kayli’s head affectionately over the fence! See coverage on NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate, and YNN-TV.

Here at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, Kayli will spend the rest of her life unharmed, care-free and surrounded by loving people who see her as a life to be valued—here WITH us and not FOR us.