Herbie, A Bull With Balls
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

By Lisa Selvaggio, ThirdEye.ParagonEarth
November 2010

When the slaughterhouse-bound truck he was on broke down and the workers were frantically transferring the animals to another truck, he knew to run.

There's tranquility here, atop the rolling hills that give way to the mountains stretching across the horizon. It is Autumn, and the green grass is blanketed with fallen leaves of orange, brown, gold. The animals move along at a slow pace, feeding and basking in the warmth of the morning sun. Daylight is shorter now and grazing will become sparse soon. Herbie, white curls on his forehead, gallops down the hill, head swinging, legs kicking, into the open field. As a dog would, he goes after a ball or broken tree branches. With each hop and stride you can feel the earth beneath tremble, yet he bounces along unaffected, unhindered. His personality shines at moments like these. Like a child, he plays, knowing that he is free, with nothing to fear at For the Animals Sanctuary.


Herbie has a fire in his eyes that’s almost palpable; something that draws you in. He looks back at you while feasting on his hay, the playful calf inside subdued temporarily, and you know that he is sure of his salvation, because he created his salvation. When the slaughterhouse-bound truck he was on broke down and the workers were frantically transferring the animals to another truck, he knew to run. And he ran through the streets of Brooklyn, NY because he knew that he needed to get away, that that truck was not bringing him to a safe place. Did the other cows on the truck know it too? Did they try but fail to get away? Were they too afraid to attempt what Herbie did?

Public outcry helped save Herbie. After all, a bull that shows such zeal, that takes his own life “by the horns,” deserves to be placed on a sanctuary and not sent to the very slaughterhouse he avoided with his own instincts. But what about the others? Did the people who were in support of saving Herbie think about the others that would inevitably die? Did they consider that all of the animals on that truck were equals, and that all of them should be saved? Did they think about converting their lifestyles to a vegan one that would save more animals just like Herbie? Or did they think that only this daring bull was worth it?

Herbie is proof that these animals are conscious, aware beings. They know that there is something better for them outside of the factory farm. They know that they deserve better. And they’re willing to fight for it, to take risks for it. In the end, they are no different from any human being, whose intuition and instinct tells them when they are in danger, who run from a scary place to find safety, who want to live and are willing to risk everything for that one shot in hell that could get them to the other side that looks so much greener than here.

Herbie was a 4-month-old calf at the time he ran for his life. There are people who are so dissatisfied with their lives, long into adulthood, that never have the courage to change their situations, whether it’s for fear of failure, for financial reasons, or for sheer uncertainty as to what their purpose is. But Herbie knew he had to run. He knew he couldn’t trust those people. And now he knows that he is happy and has nothing to fear as he grazes in the open field among his companions. In a way, he epitomizes the “stubborn bull.” In the end, he found himself a wonderful life. When the sun sets, he rests in the warmth of tomorrow.

If only more individuals would be able to hear Herbie’s story or see him in person at For the Animals Sanctuary. Perhaps they would decide to cease consuming animal products and turn to a plant-based diet that promotes life instead of suffering and death. If only they would be inspired by his fearlessness and let go of their false convictions about diet and health and take that step toward helping others like Herbie live. If only everyone was brave enough to let go of everything they thought they knew and replace it with Truth so that farm animals would be recognized as the sentient beings they are.

Herbie saved himself. Now it’s up to us to save the rest.

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