As Bill and Lou enjoy retirement and their last few days on the campus of Green Mountain College, protestors stood in front of the school, hoping to save their lives.
Bill and Lou have worked on the school's farm for ten years after being rescued. But now Lou is too old and injured to work, and the college says Bill is too old and big to be re-acquainted with a new partner. The college says the sustainability mission of its farm calls for processing the pair for meat and using it in campus dining halls.
An emotional issue that got heated between protestors and supporters of the plan Friday.
Students helped school officials make the decision to slaughter the pair. "I would rather have local meat from Bill and Lou served in our dining hall as opposed to meat from who knows where, like a factory farm," said student Kevin Purdy.
But protestors want them sent to a sanctuary, since their life span could continue for several more years. One of them is Lilly Byers, who grew up on a dairy farm. The junior is considering transferring due to the decision to slaughter the oxen. "You put them out to pasture to retire them instead of slaughtering them. You always show compassion when they have worked their entire lives to better suit you," she said.
Green Mountain College officials said they are surprised how the idea to slaughter the oxen has grabbed headlines worldwide. School spokesman Kevin Coburn said it has received numerous threats, but most of them have come from outside of New England. "We feel Lou and Bill's identities have been kidnapped by outside extremist groups that want to use their faces and names for a poster for the ending of consuming meat in our culture," he said.
The school plans to slaughter Bill and Lou by Halloween. Two new oxen, Spook and Speck, will take over the chores.
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