Home and Away; freedom to farm animals across the globe.

This week’s stories both share a common theme – I’ll let it emerge for itself.


My away story comes in the shape of giving the gift of life and freedom to 10,000 cows all in the name of Buddhism.  The Buddhist faith is built on a foundation of karmic order and the act of making merit.  I think of merit making as a point system; the more points you make (through participation in various merit making ceremonies, meditation and being a mindful and considerate person, among many things) the better your next life will be, and you will be one step closer to eventual spiritual liberation and actualisation.  I think.  That’s my lay person’s interpretation of it anyway.  Acts of kindness = scoring points to ensure that you move on to a good next life, and relinquish any wrong doing in your current life.

One way of making merit is to give the gift of freedom to living things.  It is a typical sight to see a woman selling the opportunity to release a bird at a temple (to later be caught and caged again – freedom has its limits when money can be made) and this week’s story is similar to this but on a much larger scale.  A slaughterhouse in Songkhla (the next city on from us) was offering people the chance to pay to free a cow from its gloomy fate.  10,000 cows were up for grabs in fact.  I’m not sure what exactly happened to the cows once they are released – I wouldn’t be surprised if it was similar to the birds at the temples – caught and for sale again around the corner!   And so, the world is a better place, and 10,000 cows have been saved from their burger destiny, at least until tomorrow.  Click on the link above to read a nicely written piece on the story which goes into further detail about the religious aspect of the whole thing.


Continuing on our bovine theme, my story from home isn’t anything out of the ordinary yet is often found decorating the pages of The Cornishman.  Another case of cows getting a taste of freedom but this time they are escapee cows.

A farmer in Hayle, Cornwall has lost some of his herd following an escaping mission that saw the animals “…flying along like race horses” and “…jumping a six-foot high Cornish hedge”.  I’m not sure if the farmer has exaggerated ever so slightly as, if you don’t know already, a Cornish hedge is one made of stone and covered in hedgerow – if a load of cows have been able to clear such a barrier standing at six feet I am truly impressed.

Unfortunately for the farmer not all the cows have been recovered and he now fears that the boggy woodland has taken them to an early cow grave.  A telephone number has been provided in the original article in case any rogue cows are spotted grazing out and about the area.  Keep your eyes peeled people.


I can’t write 2 stories about freedom seeking cows without also adding in my own cow (and other animals) ordeal (living in Cornwall lends itself to having many farm themed tales to share).

Two of my friends own a small holding just outside of my hometown of Falmouth.  They were off at a music festival and I had volunteered to watch the farm for the 2 days that they would be away.   I have helped out at the farm before but this was my first time being in sole responsibility so the pressure was on.  I arrived on day one with my Mum in tow and set about beginning my list of to-do’s; feed the geese and chickens, feed the pigs and piglets, feed the cows.  The sheep can take care of themselves.  Off we skip in our wellies to visit the chickens, but as we got closer the skip in our step disappeared when we realised that something wasn’t quite right.  Chickens usually make quite a bit of noise, especially if they spot someone coming closer.  This chicken coop was eerily silent.  I peeked in.   Feathers everywhere.  Headless chickens.  No geese.  A chicken massacre had taken place.  Evidently there was a breach in the security and a fox had managed to make its way in and bite the head off every bird.  The geese would have put up a fight and must have flown away.  What can we do?  Neither of us was prepared to start picking up dismembered chicken remains, and as we were unable to get hold of my friends we secured the entry hole and left the bodies there.  (It transpired that there was still an entry point somewhere as by the next day nothing remained).  After that gruesome start to our farm day, we made our way around the rest of the animals and luckily everything went to plan.  Back home we went, with images of the chicken killing spree still fresh in our minds.

The next day, as we pulled in to the drive of the farm, yet again something was amiss.  An unknown car was parked in the driveway – we have a visitor!  As we made our way around the car I noticed that the cows, which are usually in a couple of fields behind the house, were happily grazing away in the orchard out the front.  The fields and the orchardsmust join up somewhere.  I didn’t think any more of it.  As we made our way into the farm, a man appeared.  “Are you the owner of the farm?” he asked.  “Are these your cows?”  I explained our farm-sitting situation.  He in turn explained that he had found the cows wandering down the road in the village.  “I must have spooked them when I walked up to them and they made their way back to this farm, so I stuck them in the nearest field and thought I would wait until the owners came back.”  Evidently my gate closing skills aren’t man enough for farm life, and the cows had managed to push their way through and go off on a little adventure.  The man was pleased to see us though, as we could now help him herd the cows into the correct field.  Help him herd??  This man wasn’t a famer but he was a farmer’s son – in the present company that made him an expert.  Me and mum ‘helped’ to herd the cows back to their field, which mostly consisted of holding our arms out as wide as we could and hoping a stampede didn’t break out.  Great.  I look after the farm for 2 days and all the chickens are dead, the geese have disappeared and the cows went for a wander!  Just as we were finishing up, my friends returned home to witness first had the results of my poor farming skills.  Needless to say I didn’t farm sit for them again!

Some pictures of the animals I epically failed at looking after…

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