Green Mountain College in Vermont has postponed plans to slaughter the college’s unofficial mascots, a pair of oxen named Bill and Lou.
Local slaughterhouses received numerous complaints from animal rights activists and others who sympathize with Bill and Lou’s plight. The complaints prompted university officials to delay the execution, which was supposed to happen by the end of October.
“Regional slaughterhouses have been inundated with hostile and threatening e-mails and phone calls from extremist groups bent on interfering with the processing,” said Paul Fonteyn, president of the college, in an official statement.
One local slaughterhouse, which does not process oxen, received 14 voicemail messages concerning the fates of Bill and Lou, according to USA Today.
Green Mountain College prides itself on being a sustainable liberal arts college; the campus hosts a student-run farm that provides food and resources for the college. But the oxen who worked on the farm have become too old to pull the wagons, so college officials decided to slaughter the animals and serve their beef to students in the cafeteria.
Complicating matters, a local animal shelter agreed to adopt Bill and Lou free of charge. But the college’s commitment to sustainability requires that they reject the offer. The continued existence of Bill and Lou is a waste of the earth’s resources, according to the college.
“It is the progression of two animals from one stage of the food system into the next,” wrote Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in a statement.
Despite pressure to allow the animals to retire to a shelter, the college still plans to serve them up for supper.
“Eventually the animals will be processed as planned,” wrote Fonteyn.
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