A Gang Of Fugitive Cows Has Been Roaming Quebec & Outsmarting Authorities

Here's the saga of Quebec's roving bovine troop.

Senior Editor
A cow stares ominously into the distance.

A cow stares ominously into the distance.

You may have heard the saga of the cows on the loose in Saint-Sévère, Quebec. Since their escape from their ranch in July, they have bewildered authorities, eluded professional cowboys and become local celebrities in the process. They've been the subject of editorial cartoons, countless tweets and even a tribute in the Canadian senate. But officials finally seem to be taking the issue seriously. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) is stepping up the mission to get the roving herd under control.

So far, the cows seem to have largely benefited from confusion about just whose jurisdiction covers wandering bovine. Stuck in the middle of that bureaucratic thumb-twiddling is Saint-Sévère's municipal manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, who has been left scrambling for answers.

As Quebec Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted in a November 23 floor speech, Cadorette has ping-ponged between the MAPAQ, the Ministry of the Environment, the humane society, the Sûreté du Québec and back to the MAPAQ, who suggested the municipality itself simply go ahead and slaughter the cows.

"But in the day-to-day, the municipality is just me all alone in my office," Cadorette said in an interview on Radio-Canada's Tout le monde en parle. "I'm not going on a wild hunt."

She had to seek help beyond the law, turning to the high-tech cowboys at Quebec's Sainte-Tite Western Festival.

"On October 30, the night before Halloween, nine cowboys arrived in Saint-Sévère: eight on horseback and one armed with a drone," Senator Miville-Dechêne recounted.

"The cowboys located the cows and almost managed to round them up, but the cows escaped through a corn field at the last minute. They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night."

Now, the MAPAQ is finally preparing an intervention, putting boots on the ground to resolve what it has called a "complex and unprecedented situation."

The goal now is to recover the cows for their rancher. In the meantime, the ministry is asking the public to stay clear of the animals, lest they take off and foil officials' capture plans again.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Thomas MacDonald
Senior Editor
Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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