Source photo: Article AD© FOTO HISSINK
In the beginning of December a farmer in Lettele wanted to transport 17 Limousin beef cows to a butcher nearby. Fifteen of them go in the trailer quitely, but Hermien and a sister managed to escape. Her sister was catched in the pasture soon after, but Hermien has been hiding in the woods ever since. She hides during the day and runs off when she sees people.
In the dark she comes out and has visited a neighbours youngstock shed for company and food. The tried to catch her there, but it didn't work. Attempts to mix her feed with tranquilizers failed, she stopped eating after three bites. Several other attempts have been made by the farmer, a vet with a tranquilizer and a hunter. Hermien is still on the run though, for 6 weeks now.
Social media is booming with hastags like #SaveHermien and #KoeHermien. Political party 'Partij voor de dieren'(party for animals) has started a crowdfunding action to save Hermien from slaughter. The farmer already agreed to put her in a rest home for cows, but she needs to be catched first.
When asked about the subject, Joep Driessen says he doesn't believe Hermien escaped because of the butcher specifically. 'She's just scared of people. Beef cows are not as used to people as dairy cows are. They are in the pasture a lot and you can compare her behaviour with deers'.
Joep's proposes a solution based on looking from the cows point of view. 'Cows are herd animals. She runs away from people, so use other cows to lure her in. She's also been surviving on twigs, so she must be hungry. Put three cows in a pen, with some nice bales of hay. Use a trap cage, so she can let herself in and the gate closes automatically behind her. When they quiet down, you can all load them in a trailer".
What are your suggestions for catching Hermien? Looking forward to hear your thoughts!
UPDATE 31 JANUARY
Hermien will be left alone for a few weeks to reduce stress. After that, the farmer wants to put some cows in a pasture nearby to lure her in.
update 12 february
Hermien has been caught by two vets with a tranquillizer and will now spend the rest of her days in a special rest home for cows, together with her sister.
Inspiration for this blog in these Dutch articles: