MP Jim Fitzpatrick fails to save pet cows Lloyd and Leila at Stepney Farm
15:07 18 December 2013
An MP has lost the battle to save a famous bull and cow on an urban farm in London’s East End—despite a petition with 14,000 names to spare their lives.
Lloyd and Leila were more like pets than simple cattle grazing at Stepney City farm.
But they had been sent off to the slaughter house just as MP Jim Fitzpatrick was getting an EU ruling on whether they could be moved without special passports to an animal sanctuary which had offered to take them.
Much of their gazing field in Stepney Way has been taken up by Crossrail construction work, so the six-year-old siblings had to go.
Lloyd and Leila were born on the farm without being registered for a passport to allow them to travel, required under strict EU regulations brought in to tackle the bovine TB epidemic of 2000.
The farm could no longer keep them—nor could they move them to Hillside Sanctuary in Norfolk without the passports.
The only option was a one-way ticket to the abattoir.
“We were in the process of getting an EU ruling, but they’d already gone by Monday morning,” said the Poplar & Limehouse MP.
“We had been pushing for weeks to get the Environment Department to grant an exceptional license to get Lloyd and Leila to the sanctuary, but sadly weren’t able to persuade them.”
He had sought advice from a leading barrister who concluded that Lloyd and Leila were “not bovine animals” within the meaning of the EU regulation because they were not being reared for consumption or entering the food chain. Lloyd and Leila were really pets.
The slaughter was a bitter blow to campaigner Daryl Stafford, 40, a financial advisor who began the petition.
“There was a slim chance we might have been able to move the cows,” Daryl said. “It’s a shame the farm pre-empted any EU ruling instead of seeing it through.
“Lloyd and Leila were the most famous cows in country—but the farm has turned it into PR disaster, clutching defeat from the jaws of victory.
“This was a short-sighted, senseless waste.”
The animal sanctuary which backed Daryl’s petition admitted being “in shock”.
It issued a statement saying: “We’ve just heard that Stepney City Farm have now killed Lloyd and Leila, the friendly pet cows we had offered a home to, but the farm decided they wouldn’t wait and cut their lives short.”
The farm was told by the Environment Minister days before the slaughter that no exception could be made to transport them to the sanctuary.
Farmer Paul Woodmin said in a statement afterwards that the farm was “disappointed that the cows could not be moved, but must accept the law.”
Her added: “We took the difficult decision to proceed with the cull and people will criticise us.
“But it is us who looked after the animals daily over the past few years who will be most affected by the decision that was unavoidable—it is a sad day at the Farm.”