My name is Miriam Jones, and I am the co-founder of VINE Sanctuary in Springfield, Vt., a refuge for formerly farmed animals, formerly fought animals, and animals rescued from other dire situations. I am writing an open letter to the president of Green Mountain College, as well as all others on staff or in attendance at the school, to urge that they reconsider their decision to slaughter Bill and Lou, two oxen who have served their school hard and well for over ten years.
When GMAD (Green Mountain Animal Defenders) originally notified us of their scheduled slaughter, we offered to take care of Bill and Lou. Unfortunately, the farm manager said no, and so in conjunction with GMAD, we initiated a campaign to encourage the college to change its mind.
The outcry has been nothing short of remarkable. Thousands of people and organizations from all over the world and, most significantly, from Vermont, have written to the college to ask that they spare these two lives. What the college might not realize is that many of these folks are also alumni of the school — alumni who are shocked that this decision was made.
Tragically, the college continues to uphold its decision for various reasons. At some point in the future, it would be instructive to openly and publicly discuss those reasons, as they speak to broad issues about environmental responsibility and animal ethics. For now, however, the clock is ticking. Bill and Lou literally have 19 more days to live upon this earth before the blast from a bolt gun will destroy them both.
Is tradition really so sacrosanct that it should trump the clear wishes of so many people? Should it trump the will to live of Bill and Lou themselves? We say no. We urge the school to allow Bill and Lou to live. There is no reason whatsoever not to allow these two folks to enjoy their “retirement” and live in peace.
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