Runaway cow escapes slaughterhouse to live on Polish island

A cow looks into the lens of the photographer on 18 October 2017 on a meadow near Tuebingen, southern Germany. Image copyright AFP/Getty

A cow set for a slaughterhouse has instead escaped, by ramming a fence and swimming to an island.

The runaway bovine has sought sanctuary on the islands of Lake Nyskie in southern Poland for the past few weeks.

Its owner gave up on capturing the animal after attempts to retrieve it led the cow to repeatedly swim off.

Calls to have the cow shot have been met with fierce opposition, with one local politician saying he has made it his mission to save the "hero cow".

It all started when the animal was being led towards a truck bound for an abattoir, Polish website Wiadomosci reported.

Her owner, only known as Mr Lukasz, advised handlers to tranquilise the cow but failing to heed that warning, they were overpowered by the animal.

During her escape, which saw the cow barge through a metal fence, a farm worker sustained a broken arm and bruised ribs.

When found on the shores of Lake Nyskie, the bovine refused to be recaptured. "I saw her diving under water," Mr Lukasz told Wiadomosci.

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Media captionStormy the cow escapes nativity scene twice

After failed attempts to recapture the animal, Mr Lukasz gave up hope of bringing back his cow and began leaving food on the island instead.

When firefighters used a boat to cross the reservoir, the cow swam about 50 metres to a neighbouring peninsula of the island.

Calls to have the cow shot have been met with opposition. A local politician, Pawel Kukiz, has even stepped in and offered to save the "hero cow" from death.

In a Facebook post, he said "if all citizens have shown such determination as this cow", then Poland would be a much more prosperous country.

This is not the first time a cow has made a dash for freedom.

In January, a Dutch cow called Hermien escaped a slaughterhouse and took refuge in a forest near Lettele for six weeks. Locals rallied to save her by crowd funding for her care at a cow sanctuary.

In 2011, German animal activists used a bull to lure and recapture a runaway cow named Yvonne, which was facing a hunter's bullet in Bavaria.

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Media captionYvonne was not happy when caught but appears content in her new home

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