Most of our followers know of Jefferson. He’s the steer who made national news when he ran for his life on Jefferson Avenue 15 years ago. On December 2, 2003, Jefferson was transported to the Eastern Market slaughter house in Detroit, Michigan. As he stood in line to be slaughtered, he could smell the stench of death surrounding him and he could hear the painful, anguished cries of the cows in front of him. The line moved forward, one by one, and the cries became louder. Jefferson saw an open doorway. He knew his current path meant death. He chose the open doorway and ran. He ran, not knowing where the doorway led and not knowing if there was anyone to help him, yet he ran. Aided only by his will to live, Jefferson ran for over a mile, while being chased by those who wanted to kill him.
News crews followed him, police followed him, animal control followed him, and SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary supporters followed him. Those same supporters contacted SASHA Farm and asked us to help save this beautiful animal who clearly wanted to live.
While living at SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary, Jefferson’s strong, independent, spirit continued and he thrived. He had his opinion on the human race and his experience told him not to trust us. It took time, but he slowly began accepting the love that was given to him by the SASHA Farm staff, volunteers, and supporters. Jefferson became so comfortable at SASHA that he refused to leave when the cow gate was open. He was content to stay in his pasture while the other cows toured the horse pasture. The cow pasture was green and lush and he wasn’t budging from his happy home.
It is with a heavy heart that we are informing you of Jefferson’s passing. Jefferson died on November 17, 2018. He died at his home on the green pasture that he loved so dearly. Jefferson was surrounded by his loving cow family when he died. Immediately after his death, they stood vigil and bellowed in painful anguish. He had a true family who was by his side at death as they were in life. Jefferson is missed by everyone here at SASHA Farm.
The founders, staff, and volunteers at SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary are emotionally impacted with each animal resident death. Every animal death is difficult. We are the humans who feed them, medicate them, clean them, keep them safe and warm, and nurse them back to health when they are ill. We love them. It does not matter if the animal has been a resident for 10 weeks, 10 months, or 10 years. We love them. The founders, staff, and volunteers need time to emotionally process every death. These animals take pieces of our hearts when they leave us, yet we must continue caring for all the other animals. During these times of sorrow, we do our work through tears.
SASHA Farm does not announce deaths as quickly as some would like. We cannot and do not because we need time to grieve for our loved ones. Jefferson’s death will surely cause many of our supporters to mourn. We understand. We will mourn with you.
Rest peacefully dear, Jefferson.
With much love and respect,
Your SASHA Farm family
If you wish to read more about Jefferson, here are some links to articles through the years: The Freep, Vdog, SASHA