the gentle barn


Escaped cows and their ringleader  now live at sanctuary where people visit for cow snuggles

Chico crashed through three fences and ran through the streets escaping the slaughterhouse.

Cows that escaped a slaughterhouse are now giving cow hug therapy

Humans don't often think about where their food comes from. Most people head to the grocery store with their biggest concern being, "does it really matter if I get organic and free-range?" Unfortunately meat doesn't originate from the refrigerated aisle at your local grocery store. It comes from animals that are raised to eventually land on someone's dinner plate.

A group of cows in St. Louis, Missouri had been prepped to meet their final destination at the slaughterhouse when Chico, the apparent ringleader had bigger dreams than being a cheeseburger. The determined cow busted through three fences to leave the slaughterhouse, freeing five other cows.

Once the cows were outside of the fenced in area, they decided to play a game of "try to catch the cows" with the humans. The small group of cows ran through traffic, determined not to get caught while simultaneously catching the attention of the community.

Imagine commuting to work and being stopped by runaway cows. Chico and his buddies even made it to the evening news with their unbelievably daring adventure. Unfortunately, the group eventually were rounded up and taken back to whence they came to be slaughtered and processed. But the community was having none of it. They fell in love with those thousand pound mooing puppies and decided to save them from becoming food.

A group of people started a GoFundMe to raise money for Chico and his band of merry mooers to be spared from. slaughter. After raising the money and convincing the owner to not kill the cows, it became a race against time to find them a cow sanctuary. Sadly, none came forward and they were all about to get back in line with the others when The Gentle Barn decided to step in.

The owners of The Gentle Barn live in California but were determined to save the cows, so they opened a Gentle Barn cow sanctuary in Missouri. After a brief stay at a foster home while they got things worked out, Chico and friends went to their forever home.

Ellie Laks, The Gentle Barn Founder explained to Almost 30 Podcast that she knew they needed to open the Missouri location after meeting Chico for the first time.

"I went to St. Louis. Went to the foster home, got out of the car, walked over to the pasture fence and about 150 feet away the cows were in a line looking at me. The leader, Chico, he crossed the 150 feet until he was standing in front of me and I dropped to my knees and I started weeping," Laks says.

That was the moment she knew that The Gentle Barn would be expanding, "they’ve come with a message that we have to share with the world and we have to help them." Chico and his pals are now living their best lives playing at their sanctuary and giving "cow hug therapy." That's right, members of the public can take a ride to St. Louis to snuggle with the cows, which sounds a lot more uncomfortable than it is.

These gentle giant cows knew they had another purpose. When people come to see them, they come and lay their heads in the laps of humans and snuggle up like they're going to start purring. So a cow loving person can come get all of the cow hugs and kisses they'd like.