Brett Blume (@brettblume)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s the story so udderly fascinating that we just can’t stop milking it.

The latest news concerning the “St. Louis Six” – a half-dozen cows that made a break for it and escaped a local slaughterhouse back in late March – is they’re going to have a forever home right here in St. Louis.

“Because of the national outcry and the love of the St. Louis community, their slaughter was stopped and we were able to save them,” says Ellie Laks in a video posted on her website

One of the rogue bovines succumbed to injuries suffered during the escape and as a result of an internal infection that had turned three of his legs septic.

Despite the fact there are only five cows left, Laks is still using the name “St. Louis Six” for its alliterative quality and because she says the departed still lives on in Spirit, which is in fact the name she gave him.

Of the remaining five, only one has a name at this time.

cow1 fc St. Louis To Be Forever Home For Cows Who Escaped Slaughterhouse

Chico, the charismatic leader of the St. Louis Six, a group of cows that made headlines by escaping from a local slaughterhouse. (Photo courtesy of

Laks says Chico is the charismatic leader of the pack…uh…herd.

“He’s got a really strong personality,” Laks says. “And even now, at the foster home, it’s amazing to watch him tell the others what to do and keep them safe and steer them clear of humans. He is absolutely, undoubtably in charge.”

Gentle Barn has launched not only a naming auction for the remaining four cows, but a fundraising campaign to establish a new Gentle Barn location right here in St. Louis.


Laks has already submitted an offer for a piece of land but won’t yet disclose where it is, only that they want to build within an hour’s drive of downtown St. Louis.

Their fund-raising goal is $100,000 per escaped cow, or a total of $600,000.

As enjoyable as this story has been to follow, isn’t this a lot of trouble to go to for a half-dozen cows that were on their way to the slaughterhouse?

“We get asked that question a lot,” Laks admits. “And here’s the answer: It’s not just about the St. Louis Six, it’s not just about cows that escaped a slaughterhouse and so desperately want to live. It is about their lifes’ purpose. Rescuing them and establishing a Gentle Barn in St. Louis not only saves those cows’ lives but we work with at-risk, inner-city and special needs children.”

She foresees the cows being able to act as some kind of therapy animal for those children, who are often reticent to tell their concerns to adults.

And by the way, living on a Gentle Farm site could extend the lives of the St. Louis Six for up to 20 years, according to Laks.

“Our vets say they normally live until about 10,” she says. “But at the Gentle Barn, because we use so many supplements and they’re so happy and loved, they tend to live a lot longer.”

To donate to the fundraising campaign, enter the naming auction, or simply learn more go to

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