A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Jul 29, 2010

The unfortunate gunning down of a dairy cow at the fair.

I am sure by now that you heard the story of the stressed pregnant dairy cow that was shot 11 times at the state fair when she escaped her confines. She and her calf did not survive the attack. Why was this soon to be mother at the state fair?  She was brought there to allow children to watch the birth occur live- a tradition at this event.

In other words - she was an exhibit. In the age of technology, virtual simulations, film and probably even video tape, it seems unnecessary and cruel to force a near term, hormonal, uncomfortable and extremely protective cow to undergo the rigors of travel, confinement, crowds, noise and seemingly threatening behavior by onlookers, to give birth on display. I submit to you that the lesson learned by the audience would not be the wonder of birth but rather, that it is perfectly fine to torment a cow. In this case the cow tried to escape and was gunned down. It was then said that the killing was justified because the cow was"nuts". Notwithstanding her instinct to protect herself and her calf, I would further submit that she was not consenting to be in the show and ran.  It hardly seems nutty at all.

There are protests occurring in Sacramento to voice displeasure over this fiasco, but I also wonder:
     Did the way she was killed violate animal cruelty statutes?
     As an exhibition animal she falls under USDA authority as well. Did this conduct violate the Federal Animal Welfare Act?
     Was there a public safety plan for the event that should have been followed in the case of an escape?
     Was protocol in fact followed if there was a plan?

Finally, as a civilized, educated, tech savvy and compassionate people, we must demand an immediate end to this birth on display tradition, use every opportunity and tool within our means to teach children respect for animals, and strive to discover new ways to do the same.


  1. Well said. Thank you!

  2. this is sick ! grow up people !

  3. So instead of watching the "Miracle of Birth", which I agree is just as "beautiful" via video as live, people witnessed the "Tragedy of Death". I agree that it is definitely time to make some changes in the live-birth traditions at these events. I didn't even realize this was something planned for at fairs. How inhumane and insensitive. What does THAT kind of behavior teach our children? We treat living beings as objects and subject them to inappropriate treatment at their expense for our folly? Thus the evermore present need for Humane Education programs!!!

  4. Oh, there is a lot more going on at that fair. Don't go look at the swine exhibit either. Trapped sows giving birth or just gave birth confined in steel pens where they can't move just so little Johnny can see the new piglets and maybe witness their birth. It should be FFAA - Future Farm Animal Abusers

  5. This is so sick. Poor cow and her calf. I agree with this post. This should be stopped. Or if not, they should put educated people at least that know how to react in a situation like this, not some uneducated naive people. Couldn't the cow be tranquilized instead of put to death. They should of put themselves in the cows place. How would they feel if they were put in a cage, about to give birth, stuck without no where to move among a crowd of noisy onlookers. They would feel stressed and want to escape, no. That doesn't mean they would get shot. I feel so sorry for the cow and specially her calf, the poor baby who was just waiting to emerge into the world and open her eyes to see her mom's sweet eyes and feel her sweet breath and smile at the sun. I believe everybody deserves the right to live. Now the kids just viewed animal cruelty, violence, guns, and murder (like we need any more of that) instead of a miracle and are probably traumatized. When will people learn that we need to respect nature and animals and learn how to coexist in a world with them. The world needs to feel more animal compassion and less animal cruelty.