In mid-March, we got an interesting email from a man in Chicago about a runaway steer. The Chicago man, Duane Thamm, was watching his local news when a story flashed up about a steer who escaped a slaughterhouse in Casselton, N.D. The steer had a four-hour adventure wandering through people’s backyards until he was tranquilized and caught, then returned to his owner so he could again be sent to slaughter once the tranquilizer wore off.

This story of the steer breaking out to freedom, even if for only four hours, touched Thamm’s heart. Thamm felt he had to do something, so he jumped into action and tracked down the steer’s owner. Thamm got the owner to agree to give up the steer if he found a sanctuary where the steer could go.

That’s where SASHA Farm became involved. One of our first reactions was, “How have we not heard about this?” We’d rescued a few other slaughterhouse escapees in the past. As we read the email and then saw the news footage of the steer peeking around the corner of someone’s house while on the loose, we decided we had to help.

We spent a week and a half negotiating with the farmer who owned the steer. He would let the steer come to SASHA Farm, but not without a price. He wanted money for the steer, because to him, the steer was his property he was giving up. SASHA Farm does not pay for animals so Thamm’s sister, Brenda Kocim, also an animal rights advocate, gave the farmer money.

Kocim and Thamm did not want to see Fargo go back to slaughter after he’d come this far, so we made arrangements to go to North Dakota to get the steer. It was a 13-hour drive one way, but we had to do it. SASHA Farm co-founder Monte Jackson made the trip nonstop to pick up the steer.

The steer arrived at SASHA Farm and was greeted by our volunteers and friends. We named him Fargo because that’s where he came from. Fargo will live out his life at SASHA Farm free from harm with the company of our other cows. At SASHA Farm, Fargo is a “someone” and not a “something.”

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