The world was inspired by the story of Freddie, a young cow who courageously escaped a live meat market in Queens, NY — then went trotting about the city while passers-by posted photos to Instagram. Named for Queen’s (the band) frontman Freddie Mercury, the blessed bovine is now living the good life at New York’s Skylands Animal Sanctuary & Rescue.
About a week later, a tiny piglet made headlines (pictured here) after he was found trudging through a major snowstorm in an area not far from the nation’s capital. His quest for survival landed him in the hearts and home of a nearby family who named him Wee Wee, and once the snow plows cleared the roads, he made his way to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. Since then, he’s also discovered the joys of Facebook!
Freddie and Wee Wee aren’t the only farm animals who have fought for their lives. Lots of other beings have put themselves in peril to escape from horrific conditions. These amazing creatures who have defied their fates of becoming “food” show us that farm animals have the ability to think, feel, and understand the dangers they face — and that they have a desire to live free from harm.
Here are five inspiring animals who’ll make you think twice about what — and who — you put on your plate:
Brave Pig Leaps from Slaughter Truck
Two years ago, this extraordinarily brave pig climbed to the top of a moving truck as he (or she) was headed to slaughter, then took a flying leap and landed on the road. He appeared to get up, but beyond that, nothing is known about the piggie’s fate. His courage is clear, however, and we hope he got the freedom he deserved.
Valiant Cow Jumps from Transport Ship
Last year, an Australian cow took an incredible leap of faith, hurling himself from the deck of a ship bound for Vietnam — where all animals aboard would be slaughtered. He’d already been shot by two sedation darts before he made the jump; clearly he’d have done anything to escape. Sadly, this story has a tragic ending. The poor steer was recaptured and dumped back on the ship that led him to slaughter.
Daring Cow Runs from New Jersey Slaughterhouse
In 2012, a cow snuck out of a New Jersey-area slaughterhouse, then led local authorities on a short chase. Veterinarians who later treated him said he’d even been struck by a car during his escape. Luckily, the handsome fellow was spared. An animal rescue advocate came to his rescue and found a home for him at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York.
Freedom-Fighting Cow Spends Three Months on the Run
Yvonne the Cow is one of the world’s most famous animal escape cases. In 2011, this brave lady ran from a German farm just before she was due to be slaughtered. She spent three months hiding in the woods, alluding attempts at capture, and subsequently became a celebrity. With a €10,000 reward for her capture, she was eventually found by a farmer after wandering onto his land to befriend his herd. Thankfully, the Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary paid to save her from slaughter, and Yvonne lived happily ever after. (A movie about her story is currently in the works.)
Persistent Piglet Squeezes Out of Transport Trailer
In 2013, a teeny, tiny one-month-old piglet squeezed through a hole in a Canadian transport trailer as it led him to slaughter. Motorists spotted the little guy as he made his escape, and police came and picked him up. While a bit scuffed up, he was healthy enough, and Wishing Well Animal Sanctuary in Toronto agreed to take him in. Now named Yoda, he’s grown into a big guy who’s “blessed with an enchanting personality that endears him to everyone he meets” (says the sanctuary).