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Art by Jennifer Wolf Love
This is a painting of Bill and Lou, Vermont’s most famous oxen pair. I found out about the pair from an animal lover who visited me at The Concord Arts Market. The oxen, who came to be at the school were rescued animals and came from sad beginnings. The school worked the pair for more than 11 years. Lou sustained an injury in the spring of 2012, and the school decided they would slaughter both the animals. A sanctuary in Vermont, VINE (Veganism Is The Next Evolution), generously offered retirement to the draft animals at their loving shelter. The school denied this request and insisted the two be sent to slaughter to be processed into beef for the students of the college to consume. As their story built momentum, outcry from around the globe ensued as people wanted to see these two retire, especially after all their hard work and having been paraded as mascots for the college. Petitions to save the oxen were singed by more than 50k people. In response I organized a protest on October 26 at the school in Vermont. I drove 4 hours with other activists to make our voices heard.
People from all over New England and New York came to rally for Bill and Lou. The protest was covered by the New York Times, as well as many other news sources. Prior to the protest I overnighted the film “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home” to students at Green Mountain College to try to encourage a compassionate outcome for Bill and Lou. In the end Lou was mysteriously euthanized by the school in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend. The circumstances surrounding Lou’s death are still unclear and many are asking questions as to what happened. Lou’s passing hasn’t stopped supporters of the oxen team from wanting Bill, his brother, sent to sanctuary.
The story of Bill and Lou is just one story. Much like the Civil Rights
Movement, the Animal Rights Movement finds its soul in individual stories.
Like the story of Rosa Parks, who inspired protests that led to the boycott
of the Montgomery bus system, and later gave strength to the civil rights
movement, so is the story of Bill and Lou. As Miriam Jones of VINE Sanctuary
eloquently and plainly said, “They’re all Bill and Lou”.
© Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wolf
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