All by his lonesome, Bill the ox lays in the hay without his plow pulling partner of ten years. Lou was euthanized Sunday morning.
"We feel as though we've been forced into making a decision that we initially didn't want to make," said Green Mountain College's Kevin Coburn.
The team were supposed to be slaughtered in October and their meat served to students as part of the school's sustainability initiative. Lou had suffered an injury, making it impossible for the team to keep plowing. But school officials say an outpouring of protest from around the world forced the school to put the slaughter on hold. "The initial slaughter date that we had scheduled we could not meet because of threats and abuse that were coming the way of some certified slaughterhouses that we typically do work with," Coburn said.
Two weeks ago the College told Channel 3 the slaughter would be scheduled for a later date. But Coburn said Lou's injury worsened, and by the weekend he could barely stand up. The college decided to end his suffering and have him euthanized. But because of the chemicals involved in putting him down, Lou's meat will not be processed or served to students.
"An animal is an animal, he won't live forever. You might as well eat it if you can, but like I said, now it's too far gone where they won't get nothing out of it," said Jim Peck, who visits the farm with his son.
More than one student Channel 3 spoke with felt the whole situation had gone too far. "I feel like it's blown up into such a huge deal -- like very international and as well as national -- and I feel like it's just been blown way out of proportion," said freshmen Kayla Crowe.
People have traveled from hundreds of miles away to protest and Kevin Coburn said the school had received dozens of threatening and hostile messages. Fearing more negative attention and threats, the college won't comment on what's going to happen to Bill. Right now they say he'll stay on the farm pretty much as a pet -- he's no longer useful for working in the field. What happens to him later they won't say.
College officials said they will also no longer honor Lou with a goodbye service which had been planned. They said they're fearful protestors would disrupt whatever is planned.