(Reuters) – A herd of about 180 free-roaming cows in Poland must be slaughtered, authorities have ruled, to the dismay of activists fighting to save them as a cause celebre for animal rights. Left to wander fields in the western municipality of Deszczno for years, the cows are a threat to public safety and the health of other animals because they have not had proper checks, Poland’s chief veterinary officer has ruled.
The owners of the cows, who are twin brothers, left them to roam and breed unsupervised, comparing them in one interview to revered holy cows in India. “I have instructed the veterinary services that they have to clean up these cows,” Minister of Agriculture Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski said earlier this month.
The slaughter would cost about 350,000 zlotys ($91,000), local media reported. Animal rights campaigners have been staging protests and kicking up a fuss on social media.
“There will be a terrible roar of great pain … It’s very cruel,” said Anna Dryglas, from the Society for the Care of Animals, imagining the animals’ suffering at being loaded up for the slaughterhouse.