Emily was a cow (Bos taurus) who escaped from a slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, by jumping a gate and wandered for 40 days eluding capture. She found lasting refuge at "Peace Abbey" in Sherborn, Massachusetts, until her death in 2003. During her 8 years' stay in the abbey, the cow became a figurehead of animal rights and a meat-free diet.
The "Sacred Cow Animal Rights Memorial" was built on her grave with a life-sized statue of her.
Escape from the slaughterhouse
On November 14, 1995, Emily, a three-year-old heifer weighing 1,600 pounds (730 kg), escaped from a slaughterhouse, A. Arena & Sons Inc, in Hopkinton by jumping a 5 feet (1.5 m) gate, minutes before she would have been killed. In record amounts of snow, Emily was spotted foraging through backyards for food. It was said that local townspeople helped the cow evade capture for 40 days. Oftentimes, she was seen running with a herd of deer, which report made headlines in local newspapers.
Life at the Peace Abbey
The cow was later purchased from the slaughterhouse by the Randa family, who brought Emily to live in sanctuary at the Peace Abbey on Christmas Eve. During her stay at the Peace Abbey, Emily was visited by national and international visitors and soon became a representative of animal rights and vegetarianism.
Death and memorial
Emily suffered from uterine cancer and died on March 30, 2003. A week before her death, Emily was visited and blessed by a local Hindu priest named Krishna Bhatta of the Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, Massachusetts, who placed a golden thread around her leg and one through the hole in her ear that once held the number tag when she arrived at the slaughterhouse.
Emily was buried at Peace Abbey on April 2, 2003, between statues of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. Meg and Lewis Randa commissioned artist Lado Goudjabidze to sculpt a life-sized bronze statue of Emily, adorned with a blanket and flowers, Hindu signs of respect, to stand above her grave. The statue was unveiled on Earth Day.
After Emily's death, hair clippings from her markings on the forehead and from the tail tip, traces of her blood, and a piece of golden thread placed through her ear by the Hindu priest were released into river Ganges at Benares, India, in April 2003.
- "Emily the Cow Ran Away From the Slaughterhouse And Became a Star". Atlas Obscura.
- Hribal, Jason (April 17, 2007). "Resistance is Never Futile". CounterPunch. Retrieved 31 Aug 2014.
- Bedrosian, Carol (August 28, 2012). "Sacred Cow Animal Rights Memorial". Spirit of Change Magazine. Summer. Retrieved 31 Aug 2014.
- Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, Massachusetts
- "Emily the Cow, Vegetarian Activist". RoadsideAmerica.com. n.d. Retrieved 31 Aug 2014.
- "Emily the Sacred Cow". The Peace Abbey. n.d. Retrieved 31 Aug 2014.
- Randa, Lewis (2010). The Story of Emily the Cow: Bovine Bodhisattva. Preview in Google books