Hermien, a plucky cow from Lettele, in the Dutch province of Overijssel, recently became a social media star and a symbol of freedom, after making a daring escape just as her owner was trying to load her on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. Named after her owner Herman Jansen, the cow initially escaped with her sister, but sadly the latter was recaptured after being shot with a tranquilizer gun. Hermien, however, managed to hoof it to the nearby woods in northern Friesland where she has been living on her own for the last six weeks.
Much to the delight of her fans on Twitter and other social networks, Hermien has somehow managed to evade all attempts at recapture. A slew of hashtags like #JesuisHermien, #GoHermien, and #MeKoe have been trending on Dutch social media site in recent weeks. ‘Koe’ is the Dutch word for Cow, making the #MeKoe hashtag a play on the now famous #MeToo movement. The bold bovine has even won the hearts of Dutch royalty, with Pieter van Vollenhoven, the son-in-law of former Queen Beatrix, tweeting “we’ve got to save Hermien, let’s all buy her together and give her freedom”.
A crowdfunding campaign has now accomplished precisely that. The Party for the Animals (PvdD), a Dutch political party, has managed raise €48,000 that will go toward ensuring that the three-year-old red Limousin cow. lives out the rest of her life in peace, at a retirement home for cows in Friesland. The only problem with that plan is that someone has to recapture Hermien first.
The clever cow has already proven very elusive. She hides out in the woods all day, only coming out after nightfall, and only after making sure that there’s no one lurking around. If she senses danger, she’s more than happy to stay in the woods, grazing to her heart’s content. At some point, hunters were considered as a solution as well, but the risk of accidentally shooting a human hiker, and the fact that the hunters would have to hit the cow right between the eyes, doomed that plan from the beginning.
“She has been running free for six weeks now, and you can count on her being very shy, apprehensive about every person that comes close to her,” Bert Hollander of the Koeienrusthuis, a home for retired cows, told the NL Times.