It’s understandable why some might have a beef with their local law enforcement, Cleveland included. But sometimes the feelings aren’t complete bull. On Monday evening, Cleveland Police Officers were called to the scene at East 123rd Street and Oakland Avenue for a report of a loose cow named Punch. Drivers and residents had to moo-ve out of Punch’s way while Cleveland police called for its mounted unit with a trailer to try to corral the animal.
Eventually, officers cornered the bull on parade into a yard near East 123rd Street and Oakland Avenue at 9 p.m., Cleveland Police stated. The Mounted Unit was sent to the backyard with a trailer to bring the cow to their barn. Cleveland Police successfully got the cow into the trailer just before 10 p.m. and went to the barn where Punch will stay until the owner claims him. As of this story, no one has come forward to bring the bovine back to the barnyard.
More often than not, some of the content covered on Right Down Euclid can be considered udderly ridiculous – this story included. The entire situation has a bit of hilarity, especially if you watch footage of the attempted capture of Punch with the Benny Hill Theme blaring in your internal boombox. But, when considering the optics of why Punch was steer-ing through the streets of East Cleveland, it could become a bit more sinister.
Again, we don’t know the entirety of Punch’s situation since his owner hasn’t come forward. Considering that the name on the tag found on Punch is written in ink, there’s a chance the tag is a Feedlot Tag – used where tags are only needed for a short time. But we don’t know if Punch has a USDA-approved backtag, which could indicate that our boisterous bovine was on its way to slaughter.
If Punch was tagged for slaughter, perhaps it was trying to escape death’s clutches. It’s theorized that animals live blissfully unaware of death, but when they know it’s time to cross the rainbow bridge, they understand their time on this planet is over. But, sometimes the reality creeps in much sooner than planned and animals attempt to escape the fate that we have decided for them, the fate of being killed needlessly. They attempt to escape from us, but their efforts are futile in nearly every case.
Why must animals fight for their freedom and earn the right to live? Just because others may not break for freedom, it doesn’t justify their death. Someone’s right to life isn’t based on their courage since we don’t view our moral worth by that standard, nor do we hold other species of animals by that standard. Considering that for many of us, these animals are in situations where they try to escape because of us?
In reality, most of us never think about the suffering of animals, and we certainly don’t think about them being scared in a slaughterhouse. Ultimately their life and death are hidden from us, purposefully kept away from us by these industries that rely on secrecy and unconscious consumerism. We see these animals run, try to hide and even swim. We see their panic, their fear. We see their individuality, their personality, their desire to live. They are not simply running from the slaughterhouse or the police. They are running from us, the people that had decided their fate long before birth.
It’s not the escape that matters, but what drives these animals to need to escape in the first place — their fear, awareness, consciousness, experience of life and unfortunately, their suffering that does. When an animal escapes, our ignorance is shattered. We become conscious participants in the life of that animal. Their suffering is no longer hidden and the reality of their fate is shown to us — the fate of death in a slaughterhouse. We see their individuality, their personality, their desire to live. We view these animals as underdogs, heroes in a tale of overcoming hardship, yet the trouble they are trying to defeat is us, their consumers.
These musings over a bovine running around East Cleveland that could not even be tagged for slaughter are hypocritical considering that I’m a carnivorous cog in the consumerism conglomerate. I purchase beef, pork, fish and chicken from a local butcher and serve it to my friends, family and loved ones nearly daily. I once tried going vegetarian out of morbid curiosity, and it only lasted a month before I caved and devoured a Viking burger from City Tap.
This isn’t a story about advocating for a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. If that’s your jam, then rock on! But, considering that Right Down Euclid‘s unofficial mascot Finnegan went through a series of medical trials and tribulations over the last few weeks, the well-being of animals is at the forefront of my mind. So, seeing the story of the bull running through Cleveland come across my timeline, it’s a little fair to wonder if Punch was trying to punch its way to freedom.
Hopefully, none of that is the case, and Punch can return and live a happy life at home on the range. But, from now on, I think I’ll try and find local, more ethically-sourced produce to make the bullet a little easier to swallow. Anyone and everyone deserve happiness, livestock included, especially the ones that aren’t from California. That always should be the moo-ve.
Evan Dammarell is an award-winning sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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