Fame can be attained in myriad ways. For some, it involves reality-TV shows and marriages that last for 72 days. But if you're a German dairy cow named Yvonne, just going for a simple stroll can propel you to glory. Back in May, Yvonne navigated her way past electrified fencing in the pasture where she was grazing and headed for the woods near her small Bavarian commune of Zangberg. Her "escape" captured media attention across Germany, as she became a symbol for the freedom and dignity of animals everywhere, though particularly cows, which are often seen as being nothing more than a source of meat and milk.
Interest in the story was so high that a nearby animal-rescue farm became the informal press headquarters for journalists keen to cover Yvonne. The cow eventually joined a herd of deer (indeed, she became known as "the cow who wants to be a deer"), and after she survived a shoot-to-kill order, efforts to tranquillize and return Yvonne to the farm were suspended due to the stress that the chase had put on her. In total, she spent some three months at large. Yvonne was finally spotted by a farmer in a meadow near Stefanskirchen; his find won him a €10,000 ($14,500) reward provided by the tabloid Bild. She put up a fight when the jig was up, requiring a double dose of tranquilizers when cornered. "She is the cleverest cow in the world, no doubt about it," said Britta Freitag of the Gut Aiderbichl animal sanctuary.