Courtesy Alicia Day
MOSCOW – Amid news dominated by war and tragedy, this kind of story might make you laugh, rub your eyes twice, or exclaim in your news feed: “Well of course she got caught!”
Alicia Day, 34, of New York City, was detained by Russian police while walking her suckling cow — Dr. Calf — in Moscow’s Red Square last month.
Coming at a time when Russian authorities have sentenced many Americans to long prison terms for seemingly minor infractions, the obvious question: What were they thinking?
“Red Square is so beautiful. And I would like to spend some time there with a beloved animal. And that’s what I did,” she said with a measured smile when asked by NPR before boarding a flight to Turkey.
“In general, I love to hang out with farm animals,” she adds. “Because people have said to me, ‘Hey, after I met your animal, you started eating less meat. “”
She insists that she was surprised that she was detained for five minutes on what she calls their “Red Square Trip”.
“I didn’t think it would be a bigger problem than walking a dog,” she says — not entirely convincingly. “I was just imagining someone would say ‘You have to leave.'”
A Russian court sentenced her to 13 days in jail and a fine of 20,000 rubles ($285 at the time), alleging that she had resisted arrest—the only charge that Day vehemently denied.
“Well, I understand they are doing what they feel like protecting their country, but I didn’t resist arrest at all,” she says. “I am a very peaceful person.”
And she admits she got nervous in front of the Russian judge – admitting that it would be “bad” if the court added additional charges.
Prison was drab but she was treated well.
“The girls there were nice, but it was so boring without a watch,” she says. Russian animal rights activists, having read about Day’s case, delivered parcels of vegan food to the prison.
Upon her release, the Russian immigration authorities were less kind. They ordered Yume to leave the country and prevented her from returning for 40 years.
Today he must live without Russia – and Russia without a day – until 2063.
After following a vegan diet, her interest turned to activism
Day says her interest in animal welfare began as a teenager when she chose to become a vegetarian.
But it was only when she moved to Europe in her late twenties that she embraced animal activism — with a knack for publicity.
“I realized I’m an adult,” she says. “I don’t need anyone’s permission.” “The next day I bought a pig.” Again, a wry smile.
This decision made headlines in the UK in 2019 after a landlord discovered Day was living with “Jixy Pixy” in her London flat. An eviction follows for both the pig and the owner.
Day then began teaching English throughout Eastern Europe—a resolution that found her in Dnipro, Ukraine, when Russian forces invaded last year. In the early days of the conflict, I volunteered to treat war-affected animals.
“They only bombed our city twice in a few months,” she recounts, “and we had a lot of refugees coming in. But we felt like we came together as a community.”
However, as the fighting raged, she left for Poland the previous May.
Still, seeing Russia was always a goal. Day taught herself Russian in high school. I made some Russian friends on social media. Although the US State Department He strongly urges Americans not to travel To Russia, I applied for a tourist visa.
Today he embarked on a path leading to Red Square – with a cow
Soon Yum was browsing online auction sites and discovered a cow that needed saving.
Dr. Calf’s story begins on a farm in the Kirov region – about 600 miles east of Moscow. It is a medium sized calf but with distinct brown markings around its eyes.
Next thing he knows, he’s in a car. His new owner hired a chauffeur to take him—all expenses paid—to Moscow. Capital. red square.
In the photos, Dr. Calf appears to be admiring the Kremlin’s clock tower. St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum get a more informal look. GUM luxury shopping mall? Not sure. Lots of leather goods.
Then the men in uniform approach.
Since then, Dr. Calf has been transferred to a “state rehabilitation farm” outside Moscow, Day says. “It’s safe,” she confirmed to NPR.
I transferred power of attorney to Russian animal activist friends and made arrangements to pay for Dr. Calf’s ongoing care.
Another twist in this story has a lot going for it:
Met someone’s day in prison – a police officer. “Nothing inappropriate happened,” Day says. The two started a conversation during her daily walk in the prison yard.
Now she is appealing the travel ban – to see her cow and, if things work out, perhaps her new boyfriend. “I want to fight this thing.”
“I’m a weirdo,” she admits. “I follow my heart and answer only to my animals.”
Finally, a confession.
“If it’s necessary to sit in jail for two weeks in order to have a chance to share my message of loving animals — that we don’t have to eat them and we can love them in a different way — then it’s worth it,” she says.
“Why, was this known even in the United States?” you wonder.
“General web ninja. Total explorer. Problem solver. Unapologetic troublemaker. Coffee guru. Pop culture maven. Student. Organizer.”
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