Update: Good news! Panda has been saved from slaughter by a woman who was touched by his story. The aptly named Marcy Christmas gave Panda the gift of life by buying him for $8,000 and arranging for him to be sent to the Animal Place sanctuary in Northern California. The rest of us can take a cue from Ms. Christmas and save countless steers just like Panda, but for a lot less money—by refusing to eat them.
Posted June 25, 2014:
Will there be a happy ending for Panda, a black and white steer who survived being set on fire? Despite all that Panda has already endured, his owner still plans to sell him for slaughter.
Panda’s owner, Dylan Wilkinson, is a member of the Future Farmers of America at his high school in Paso Robles, California. Panda was staying in a barn at the school when someone broke in, poured flammable liquid on him, and set him on fire. Police arrested a suspect whose DNA linked him to the scene, and Panda miraculously recovered. But his ordeal had just begun.
Wilkinson said that selling the steer at auction was his “original plan” and that this incident “wasn’t going to change anything.”
Several animal advocates offered to buy Panda and retire him to a reputable sanctuary, and some of the offers were sizable. But Wilkinson said that his decision wasn’t based on money but on his dedication to the farming club. It appears as though our “future farmers” are being taught early on not to make decisions in the best interests of animals and to overlook even extreme suffering.