PROSPECT PARK — When a young steer escaped a Brooklyn slaughterhouse Tuesday and ran to Prospect Park, it captivated the city and became a social media sensation.
The steer has been brought to Skylands Sanctuary in Wantage, N.J. The sanctuary is owned by Mike Stura, who has since named the steer, Shankar a Hindu name from Sanskrit meaning "one who brings about happiness or prosperity."
Wednesday night, more than 50 people gathered outside Prospect Park, calling for an end to slaughterhouses in the city.
"New Yorkers by and large do not want slaughterhouses in their neighborhoods. Not only is it a health hazard and not only is it a public nuisance, but it's a safety hazard as well," said Jill Carnegie, with Vegans of New York.
At Skylands, Shankar will roam free on 232 acres. He's now one of 40 bovines, all rescues.
Animal advocacy group say Shankar's story is the exception, not the norm.
"There are literally billions of animals worldwide that are raised and slaughtered for food. Shanker had a very strong will to live, very strong, that's why he escaped and ran so far," said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS.
Before he made it to greener pastures, Shankar, who is estimated to be less than a year old, had an eventful day.
After taking off from a slaughterhouse, he grazed a child in a stroller, then ran around the soccer fields at Prospect Park for at least two hours before being tranquilized and corralled. The steer drew quite an audience.
"It was exciting, this bull had escaped the slaughterhouse it had a chance to live, but it was also terrifying. People were cheering when they were safely able to get the bull in the truck, the crowd cheered," said Michael Harren, who was an eyewitness and took part in tonight's rally.
Chants of "Peace begins on your plate" and "End slaughter in NYC" peppered throughout the one hour protest.
Even the youngest protesters spoke out. Two sisters from Staten Island held signs, standing side-by-side with their adult counterparts.
"We have to protest all the other animals and want Brooklyn to shut down all slaughterhouses and in New York City," said 7-year-old Gia Poli.
Her 9-year-old sister Angelina added about the animals, "They have feelings, they feel pain and every second of every day they are getting hurt just for us to eat, we don't really need meat to survive."
The frequency of livestock escaping slaughterhouses in the city has become more common.
"Just in New York City alone, there are 100 of these live slaughter markets in densely populated areas in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx. Should we be having a live slaughter markets in a city like New York City that so densely populated with so much street traffic, so many dangers? We cannot have thousand pound animals rampaging through the streets, running into strollers, hitting cars, it just shouldn't be happening," said Birnkrant.
These advocacy groups are also calling for city agencies and the NYPD to offer more training in dealing with runway life stock.