A public dispute between a farmer and a vegan animal sanctuary owner about the fate of a cow and a bull has culminated with an arrest of the latter. On 16th July 2022, farmer Scott Gregson from Newfane, New York, discovered that a bull and a young cow he kept captive for profit were missing. According to Union Sun & Journal, Tracy Murphy, who runs Asha’s Farm Sanctuary less than a mile from Gregson’s property, reported the stray animals to the local Niagara County SPCA the same day. Gregson asked Murphy to return the animals, which she claimed had wandered onto her property. She offered to buy their freedom instead.

Murphy wanted to keep the animals at their sanctuary. She said, “we are a sanctuary, we don’t want to hand over animals that are going to go to slaughter.” Murphy said she rescued the animals because, “I was worried about them, I didn’t want them to run into the woods, become wild, get shot, get injured, die. So, by using the knowledge that I’ve gained over many many years, I was able to get them into the confines of the fencing. To get them safe.” Murphy was arrested on 2nd August and charged with grand larceny in the third degree.

The acclaimed vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix found out about the arrest, and he said to Plant Based News that he believes the “harsh punishment” given to the sanctuary owner is “astounding.” He added, “There was an opportunity here to show compassion and mercy… To allow these peaceful creatures to remain without fear or anticipation of harm for the rest of their lives. What this merciful opportunity was met with was such a shame. I applaud Tracy for standing her ground in the name of animal liberation.” If the legal process over the custody of these two animals would be fair, the interest of the cow and the bull should be taken as a priority. Unfortunately, in a country where non-human animals have no rights and are treated as property, no justice, in this case, is expected.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.