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Emily was a two year old Holstein cow that was taken to a slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. She jumped a five foot fence and another three foot embankment and eluded police for three months. As she ran through neighboring towns, she was sighted and photographed, and her journey was tracked in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald newspapers. The authorities were going to return her to the slaughterhouse, but Lewis and Meg Randa from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts offered to take her and give her sanctuary at their farm, where the children from the Life Experience School could care for her, and she for them. The special needs children at the School learned to care for her and other rescued animals in a very loving farm community. There was a song written about Emily, a story about her appeared in People Magazine,' and she was the topic of a child's storybook. Some were interested in doing a Hollywood movie about her life and adventures. People came from India to bless her as a sacred cow and brought her a handmade sacred cow blanket. She had many friends.

In the beginning of March 2003, Emily started loosing weight and her abdomen filled with fluid. She was taken to Tufts University Veterinary School in Grafton, Massachusetts, where she had multiple diagnostic tests and biopsies. The doctors determined that she had Bovine Leukemia Virus carcinomatosis. Her abdomen was filled with over 35 liters of fluid and and bovine lymphoma was present throughout her organs. Her treatment would have been experimental and she was getting weaker by the hour. On Sunday March 30, 2003, she died peacefully in her sleep, in her stalll at the Peace Abbey, surrounded by her farm animal friends in other stalls in the barn. She laid in state, so that many people could come by to say good-bye and reflect about her life.

On April 1,2003, she was buried at the Peace Abbey next to the Pacifist Memorial, where a life-size bronze statue of her is to be placed. There were 70 people in attendance at her funeral. Musicians played a harp and lyre as mourners reflected on their experiences with this extraordinary cow. The stories that were told were so moving; I will mention a few.

One boy described how he had been working in the field on an icy day, and slipped down a hill and broke his pelvis. Emily mooooed and moooed until someone came out and realized that the boy was injured. Another girl told that she would compose songs and go to the barn and sing to Emily when she was sad or happy, and Emily always seemed to watch her with a deep understanding. A third woman spoke about how her daughter, who at the time was 19 months old, wanted to be strolled over to Emily as a treat for being good. When Emily would see the baby she would take her big tongue and lap her starting from toe to head and back again. The little girl would laugh with glee. When she turned four, she wanted to be Emily for Halloween, so her Mom made her a black and white Holstein cow costume. She wanted Emily to see her all dressed up. When she walked in front of Emily's paddock, this 1800 lb. cow took her big tongue and licked her from toe to head and back again. The little girl was so happy that Emily liked the costume. The mother had her camera with her, but felt that a picture would never have captured the special moment she had just witnessed.

Emily's legacy of caring for both her human and animal friends will go on with this Emily Project. Cancer will occur in 50% of the human population of the world by 2020. We cannot let past research that suggested that the retrovirus that causes BVL is killed by heat dictate our present concerns. Mad cow disease, which is a different type of virus, is not killed by heating and is passed with a prion or portion of a virus. We did not know of prions 15 years ago. Researchers are finding Bovine Leukemia Virus in Breast Cancer Tissue in Women.

For more information about Emily, please visit the Peace Abbey Web site.