A Conservative MEP has had a face-to-face meeting with the cow he helped save from a certain death sentence - in Bulgaria!
The ‘mooving’ story saw East of England representative John Flack meet up with Penka the cow and her owner, farmer Ivan Haralampiev, during a recent visit to Bulgaria.
Mr Flack’s connection with Penka began when he stepped in to help save her life after she had inadvertantly decided to ‘hoof it’ off her home farm.
As any farmer will tell you, a cow wandering off hardly constitutes an international incident. However, Penka had in fact managed to leave the European Union entirely with her unintentional visit to neighbouring Serbia.
Food safety authorities ruled Penka must be killed, however campaigning Mr Flack helped overturn the ruling and enjoyed a visit to the village of Kopilovtsi, where he gave her a pat and fed her some of her favourite treats - apples and corn.
The super-strict officials chose to interpret EU regulations that meant Penka’s return home was the viewed as her having been brought into the EU and therefore she would have to be slaughtered, along with the calf she was carrying.
Mr Flack contacted the European Parliament’s President and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria urging them to step in and everntually, after a period in quarantine, Penka was returned home.
He was thanked by her owner, farmer Ivan Haralampiev, who had appealed for help when he feared losing Penka, one of only seven cows in his herd.
Mr Flack said: “Penka was probably wondering what all the fuss was about, but it was good to see her looking so healthy and happy.
“When animals are suffering and dying needlessly all over the world, this was a small victory. But it was satisfying that we managed to cut through the bureaucracy and the clip-board mentality to get her spared.
“I really want to congratulate the authorities concerned for their sensible and humane change of heart.”