The infamous cow that escaped a Fremantle cargo ship has died

The cow spotted roaming on South Beach. Photo: Kasey Winstone/Facebook The rogue cow is tackled by chasing rangers. Photo: Ten Eyewitness News Perth
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The steer that captured the public’s imagination after making a bold bid for freedom after jumping from a cattle ship in Fremantle has died.

The cow made a break for it after jumping into the water at Fremantle Port while being loaded onto a cattle ship on Sunday and bolted through Fremantle down to North Coogee.

The steer managed to avoid the clutches of both Fremantle and Cockburn rangers for 24 hours, before being tackled to the ground in North Coogee late on Monday.

A number of campaigns emerged around Australia to save the animal dubbed Manny the cow, with more than 13,000 people signing a change.org petition calling on the Wellard Group that owned the animal to see it free.

But Wellard put out a statement on Thursday saying the cow had died.

“To protect the health and safety of the general public the steer was heavily sedated prior to its return to the quarantine facility, where it was monitored by a veterinarian,” the statement read.

“Unfortunately the steer did not recover from the combined effects of sedation and its physical exertion and passed away in its sleep.”

The cow’s Houdini-like bid for freedom went viral with media outlets around the world, including the BBC, writing about the animal’s acrobatic escape.

Emma Rush, who was one of the people leading the charge to save the cow, said she was “absolutely devastated”.

“Part of me doesn’t believe it’s true – it seems very convenient,” she said.

She said a number of people had been lobbying the Wellard Group to free the cow.

“A few people had been talking to Wellard and appeared they were looking at releasing it into a sanctuary,” she said.

Cow campaigner Cicaly Caffer, who helped set up the Facebook page Free the Freo Cow, previously said the rogue cow deserved to be saved.

“The cow made a dash for freedom and clearly it needs to be saved because it has shown a desperate will to live,” she said.

“There is a still a few roadblocks in the way and we have to make a few calls, but we will be politely suggesting to people it deserves to be spared.”

Another concerned cow campaigner, Donna Bentley, started up a petition on change.org  and even called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Wellard Group boss David Jarvie to spare the animal’s life and let it spend its final days in a greener pasture.

She was the one that dubbed the animal “Manny the cow”, with her petition already collecting more than 1300 signatures in less than two days.

“Free Manny the cow that escaped a fate that no one deserves,” the petition says.

“Only after many hours of swimming and running and hiding, imagine the desperation and fear Manny felt during his escape, feeling but a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.

“His worst fears returned when he was found in North Coogee. After his long swim and five kilometre walk he was tackled to the ground by five men and will now be returning to the export ship. Please sign for his life to be spared and live his days in a santuary.”

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said the death of “Manny” highlighted the cruelty of the live export industry.

“There is overwhelming public demand for humane and accountable treatment of animals,” she said.

“I know Manny’s courageous bid for freedom will strike a chord with many.

“I will be following this up by writing to the government requesting an explanation as to how this has been allowed to happen.” Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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