animal rights

170,000 signatures to save unregistered pet bovine facing slaughter

“Nobody is going to touch Margarita the cow,” say local residents defiantly, with support of vegan NGO

“Nobody is going to touch Margarita the cow, we’re absolutely certain about that,” insists Olivia Benaiges, a resident of the town of Tortosa, in Spain’s Catalonia region. Benaiges says she has watched Margarita grow up in a field next to her house over the last four years, and like many local residents, has grown fond of the animal.

Margarita, with two admirers.
Margarita, with two admirers.JOSEP LLUÍS SELLART

But the Catalan regional agricultural authorities take a different view, saying that Margarita has no paperwork. As such they have begun proceedings to have her slaughtered, setting a deadline of this Friday.

“No way,” says Benaiges, insisting that the cow is domesticated and is used neither for milk nor would her owners ever consider eating her. Along with other local people, she has launched a campaign to save Margarita, and has so far garnered 170,000 signatures on social activism site

The authorities also intend to fine the owner of the land where the cow has been raised €3,000

The Catalan agriculture department says that it is only following EU directives regarding tracing livestock through the food chain, noting that Margarita has never been registered and there is no information about veterinary treatment to prevent mad cow disease and other bovine health issues. As well as slaughtering Margarita, the authorities intend to fine the owner of the land where the cow has been raised for the last four years €3,000. It points out that as Margarita is now adult, it is too late to register her.

Locals say they have become used to visiting Margarita to feed her a handful of grass. As soon as news spread that the cow faced the abattoir, vegan NGO Hogar ProVegan began organizing a campaign to save her, moving her from her field in Tortosa to its installations in the nearby area of Priorat, saying that the animal was suffering stress.

Hogar ProVegan argues that the authorities are applying “a law regarding the exploitation of livestock that has nothing to do with the family and domestic situation of Margarita.”

In February, a similar campaign in Madrid prevented the slaughter of another cow, Carmen, which had tested positive for tuberculosis and was living in an animal sanctuary. More than 70,000 people signed a petition on calling for Carmen to be spared.

English version by Nick Lyne.


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