Pregnant cow escapes slaughter, inspires proposed NJ law
The pregnant cow that narrowly escaped slaughter last month by kicking open a door, jumping off a two-level cattle trailer on Route 80 in Paterson, then giving birth days later at a sanctuary, is getting attention from lawmakers.
Brianna's Law has been introduced by Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Passaic. It would make transporting pregnant livestock for slaughter and killing pregnant livestock fourth-degree crimes.
Wimberly says cattle can't defend themselves or speak up themselves on issues like this.
"It's animal rights. It's the right thing to do. It's the moral thing to do and you're protecting something that really can't protect itself," he said.
Wimberly said Paterson's animal control officer, John DeCando, was one of the officers who helped corral Brianna on Route 80. When he found out the cow was pregnant, he felt that something needed to be done to prevent any pregnant cow from being slaughtered.
Wimberly said he had to do something because DeCando is on top of things when it comes to animal rights and safety.
"Once John DeCando calls you, you know it's legitimate. You know it's the right thing to do," Wimberly said.
If the bill becomes law, there would be fines of $3,000 to $10,000 for each conviction and a potential for 18 months in prison. A civil penalty of $3,000 to $5,000 for each pregnant or slaughtered pregnant cow is also included in the bill.
Wimberly says he's been getting tremendous support for the bill. He expects it to fly through the Assembly and the Senate.
A spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said her group was happy to see a bill introduced and hopes it will open people's eyes to the alleged abuses in the dairy industry.
State Sen. Nellie Pou, D-Passaic, is also drafting legislation to prevent similar situations.
Wimberly believes the cow knew exactly what she was doing during her escape. He even talked about it with his pastor, who said, "Brianna knew she had to save her child. I'm like, wow, that's pretty deep."
Brianna went to give birth to a calf named Winter at the Skylands Animal Sanctuary in Wantage.