A cow that wandered over a European country border illegally has escaped a slaughter sentence following a campaign to save her.
Penka the cow was supposed to stay on her farm in Kopilovtsi, Bulgaria, but faced the chop when she managed to wander across the border into Serbia which is not in the European Union. Without the proper paperwork regarding her health status when she was returned to owner Ivan Haralampiev, Penka was destined to be slaughtered but late moves to save her seem to have worked.
The Bulgarian officials said strict importation rules as regulated by the European Union meant the cow had to be slaughtered when it was returned to her owner, even though she was fit and healthy. Although Serbian vets wrote a statement saying Penka was in a perfect condition and fit to return home, Bulgarian authorities said she would have to be put down without delay.
Under EU rules, bovine animals must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate upon entry, detailing requirements in relation to BSE, which Penka did not have. However, thanks to the intervention by some politicians and other campaigners Penka was placed in quarantine.
Earlier this week, the Bulgarian Food Safety Authority said it had given her a clean bill of health and removed the death sentence. A petition that had been set up to save the cow went viral and was endorsed by former Beatle singer Paul McCartney. The statement from the Bulgarian health authorities confirmed that Penka had stayed in Serbia for 15 days but had tested negative for a number of diseases. The authorities said: “Laboratory analyses of the cow, who stayed for 15 days in Serbia and crossed the border, were negative for the diseases investigated. “The test protocols are due to be prepared and the animal remains at this stage quarantined in the village of Kopilovtsi. It is expected at the end of the week that the animal be returned to the village of Mazarachevo.”