The Story of Hope (part 2)
At one point I tried to find another place for her since I live in a rental and the neighbors were complaining about the smell. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any place where I would feel comfortable leaving Hope, so she stayed in our place.
Another part of helping Hope, that I knew nothing of, was the bureaucracy. I thought that when the time came and we found a home for her we would transport her by a van. But soon I learned that when it came to farm animals and especially cows things are not so simple! Due to serious diseases, cows fall under strict hygiene laws. When Vrouva Farm agreed to take in Hope, we realized that everything would have to be done by the book in order transport her by ship. And so begun the struggle with Greek bureaucracy!
First, I had to issue a paper that stated that I had found her wandering and I took her in, so I was her owner – there was no other way to demonstrate ownership. In order to transport Hope we had to certify that she was healthy and that Hope had done all the necessary vaccines. These vaccines are available only in large portions since they were meant to be done to a large number of animals at a time. I had to wait for a “left-over” from some farmer’s livestock. That wasted a lot of time. And we had to quarantine her for a month after the tuberous dermatitis vaccine. The whole process took us more than three months.
And then, after I thought that I had finished, they informed me that Hope could only be transported by a “legal bovine transporter”. I had to find someone who has a license to transport cows, specifically, and would could transport them for the entire distance. This made everything very difficult because it meant that I had to hire someone with a big truck at a nearby location and at what cost? I started making phone calls but only one transporter agreed to take Hope asking for “only” 500 €! But there was a catch - he would come to take Hope when he has other transportation work near Volos. That meant a wait of another month!
Of course, I never wanted to put Hope under so much of stress. The transporter made it clear that he would come and pick up Hope, then he would pick up other cows destined for slaughter, take all of them to the public slaughterhouses near Pireaus, and then meet me at the port to take the ship to Aegina. I was afraid that something could go wrong and Hope would end up in the slaughterhouse herself! I wondered if I might be able to persuade the Piraeus port authorities to make an exception for Hope and let us transport her in a horse carrier. I started taking all the necessary steps. And I finally did it. I got the ok from the port authorities as well as the shipping company. But when I went to the public veterinary office to get Hope’s health passport I found out that the public veterinary office of Piraeus was not ok and wouldn’t give their permission for the transportation. I was devastated. Not only because of the hard work I had done to that point, but I also wanted to transport Hope as an animal that had a right to travel under good circumstances and not as “livestock.” I wanted this journey to be symbolic. To show that a cow can have rights as a companion animal, to show that things can change… but, sadly, I failed to do that. So, to keep it short I ended up booking the trip with the “legal bovine transporter.” Luckily, even though he was a farmer and a butcher himself, he took a special interest in Hope and he took good care of her during her journey to her future home. (After talking a little bit more with him I found out that he knew about veganism because his daughter’s karate instructor was vegan himself and his daughter was interested in becoming one. He admitted that animals understand that they are going for slaughter and it’s not a pretty sight. After transporting Hope he even followed Hope’s Facebook page and offered to make some inquiries about neutering her!)
It was very difficult for me to leave Hope at Vrouva. But now, 2 months later, Hope has fully adapted to her new environment. Of course, she has already caused some damages there as well! She broke her wooden fence and got into the room of one of the volunteers and made a mess! Another time she tried to eat the hay of an old female donkey and she got kicked in the head – fortunately not too hard! The man taking care of her knows a great deal about cows because his family used to have cows and he grew up taking care of them. He said that apart from one other cow, Hope is the smartest and most mischievous cow he’s ever met!
The point is that Hope is no different from any companion animal. She is intelligent –she got used to her new name in only two days- she learned to open water faucets and door handles with her tongue, asked for more food or play. It’s very sad that we discriminate animals this way.
She is the first cow to be rescued in Greece. I really hope her story will motivate people to see farm animals under a new prism and after visiting her they will understand that all animals are equal – equal to us as well!
Sorry for the long text… this is just a summary of everything I experienced with her. If you have any more questions I’d be happy to supply more information! Thanks for the interest you took in her!