Meet Maxine Cow, Who Fled Slaughter and Found Safety at Farm Sanctuary #AnimalRescue

Maxine’s story begins like that of countless animals who meet an untimely end at one of New York City’s live markets – she was removed from her family, labeled with a sticker likening her to an inanimate object, and placed on a harrowing one-way ride to a scene bursting with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. She was very young – barely a year old – and very frightened. But she was also filled with indomitable courage and a strong will to live, and refused to submit to the horrors befalling her companions. So she took a leap of faith and made a dash for freedom – an act that has been changing people’s hearts and minds about farm animal sentience ever since.

Maxine relaxes with some of her best pals.

Maxine waits in her stall at Animal Care Centers of NYC.

With Susie at Animal Care Centers of NYC, getting ready to head home to our New York Shelter!

Early days at Farm Sanctuary; Maxine enjoys a peaceful meal, finally safe and forever loved.

Playing in the snow is one of Maxine’s favorite pastimes!

Sunny watches over her new friend, Maxine.

Maxine gets used to Farm Sanctuary life.



One of our first glimpses of Maxine — in a holding pen at an Animal Care Centers of NYC shelter. 


The sticker on her back classified Maxine as an object — but in her new life at Farm Sanctuary, she would be seen as an individual.

Of course, Queens, NY, is no place for a cow. But the city’s crowded streets were no match for our
brave girl, who evaded capture for about an hour.


It took *how* many people to capture Maxine? This girl was ready to do whatever it took to survive.

As numerous as New York City live markets are, many residents are unaware of their presence and appalled when they learn of their existence. Many were shocked, some even amused, to see Maxine in such a setting so seemingly out of place. But it also got them thinking about how wrong the situation felt.

Maxine’s story had an impact on countless caring individuals, including animal shelter staff.

Maxine was brought to the Manhattan branch of the Animal Care Centers of NYC, where she awaited
her fate. Would her dash for freedom be in vain? Sadly, this has happened before – it’s not uncommon for animals to fight so hard for survival, only to be denied it in the end and instead sent back to slaughter. Fortunately, luck was on Maxine’s side that day, as calls came pouring in from across the country, pleading that her life be spared. Maxine’s strong will to live helped countless people come to see that farm
animals like her are each someone, not something, and that we ought to respect their simple desire to survive.


Meeting Maxine at the Animal Care Centers of NYC and leading her toward her new life at Farm Sanctuary.

Ours were among the many hearts won by this plucky girl, and were overjoyed to learn that she would be relinquished to sanctuary. At our New York Shelter, she could finally embark on the rich, fulfilling life she was now free to have. Our first order of business was to give this sweet girl a name of her very own,
to celebrate her right to live life on her own terms – no longer seen as a unit of product, but recognized as the individual she is. At sanctuary, Maxine went on to befriend two other cows who fled slaughter, Cincinnati Freedom and Queenie.


Maxime meets Queenie through the gate. These two have a lot in common — they are both slaughterhouse escapees, and would later become best friends.

Maxine is a beloved member of our main cattle herd, and is never far from her people – particularly the family of cattle rescued in the 2004 Butler County, PA, case. Like most cattle raised for beef, Maxine remains wary of the humanimal and finds solace with members of her own kind. She’s very shy and tries to avoid people at all costs, but can truly be herself among pals Blue, Gidget, Elsie Mae, and Mary Lou. And we wouldn’t have her any other way. We respect that not every one of our residents wants to be close to their human caregivers – but we are delighted that Maxine has found the peace and happiness that she deserves.


Maxine’s first moments at sanctuary.


Maxine shares a tender moment with Sunny cow — it is incredible to see her enjoy the relationships that help cattle thrive!

One of Maxine’s most immediately noticeable traits is her size. Cattle raised for beef are bred to produce a calf each year, and can grow very large to support the nutritional needs of their babies. While we never breed at Farm Sanctuary, our residents can’t beat genetics – and Maxine puts on weight quickly, despite her simple diet of grass and hay. We try to monitor her weight so that she stays healthy, and to curtail any issues that could be exacerbated as a result of her breed. But we also realize that Maxine will do as Maxine pleases – and she doesn’t let her size get in the way of living life to the fullest.


Pleasantly plump and living life to the fullest!

For example, she’s very playful and loves taking advantage of all that Farm Sanctuary life has to offer. During the wintertime, she loves spending her days outside. While the animals can go inside the barn whenever they please, we’ll find inches of snow on Maxine by the end of the day because she loves it so much – and because she knows that here, she can enjoy these simple pleasures as much as she likes.


Maxine can spend hours tunneling through the snow and relishing the great outdoors — something she will always be free to enjoy.


Maxine came into our lives nine years ago this month. While she still carries emotional scars from that fateful day in the city, she truly grabbed life by the horns. Here, she is beloved by her fellow cattle and – from a distance – her human admirers. And we are honored to know this powerful ambassador for her species, whose life continues to inspire people to make more compassionate choices.


Please share Maxine’s story. Together, we can encourage awareness and understanding about the deep emotional lives of cattle as well as the unfortunate truth about the beef industry. With your support, we can continue to promote compassionate vegan living through rescue, education, and advocacy efforts. A compassionate world begins with you!


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