On 5th July 2024, a herd of 45 cows escaped from their confinement in a field and stampeded through Ripon, a town in North Yorkshire, UK, before their bid for freedom was dashed and they were recaptured. Several residents recorded the cows running through streets and people’s gardens. 

In a video, a teenager is seen racing away from the unruly herd as the cows charged along the road. According to the Metro, The teenager had popped down the road after hearing the cows had broken free, to then be startled by the sight of them pounding toward him at high speed. Eyewitnesses suspect that the cows managed to push through a gate in their field at the end of the street. 

Residents said it took several hours and the assistance of North Yorkshire police to round up all the cows and crush their hope for freedom. One resident said, “They made a mess. There is quite a lot of poo. It’s pretty gross…Quite a lot of people have said it’s the funniest thing they’ve seen.”

Some newspapers compared the event with the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Navarra, which took place the same week. There are indeed similarities. We are talking about the same species of animal (despite what bullfighting supporters claim, bullfighting bulls are of the same species as bulls bred for meat or milk), both herds were captive before running in the streets, and all the animals will be killed after being rounded up, although in Pamplona a few minutes later, and in Ripon a few months or years later. The difference is, though, that in Pamplona they will be tortured first for 20 minutes or so with all sorts of weapons, people force them to run, and many spectators decide to run with them and make the entire ordeal a macabre spectacle.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“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’.