MSPCA-Nevins Farm’s 2,000 Pound Steer Goes to Farm Sanctuary

February 10, 2012

BOSTON, Feb. TBD, 2012 – The MSPCA Nevins-Farm today announced that its 8-year-old Simmental Steer “Thunder,” will be transferred to the world-famous Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York, where he will live out the remainder of his life at the 175-acre shelter set amidst rolling green hills and forest.  Thunder’s transfer to Farm Sanctuary will take place later in February via a specially designed truck fully equipped to keep him safe and comfortable during the nearly 7-hour drive from Methuen, Mass. to his new home.


The move to Farm Sanctuary will be a very different life for Thunder.  The last time he shared a paddock with another cow was in 2011 when the MSPCA-Nevins Farm took in a female cow named “Baby Bell.”  Baby Bell lived with Thunder for three weeks, enough time for him to become smitten with his new friend, before she was adopted out to a forever home.  The transfer to Farm Sanctuary means Thunder will once again find animal companionship that will last for all of his days at the sanctuary.


Saying Goodbye to Old Farm Friends

Thunder’s transfer from the MSPCA-Nevins Farm to Farm Sanctuary was made possible by the work of two long-time MSPCA supporters, Dorr Begnal and John Talbot, who also support the Farm Sanctuary’s mission to protect farm animals from cruelty and inspire change in the way society views and treats them.  In leaving Nevins Farm—the only home Thunder has known for the past 4 years—he leaves behind hundreds of fellow farm animals, from horses, goats and pigs to fowl of all sorts—as well as his paddock alongside the highway, from where he was admired by millions of motorists who have driven past him in the last few years.


Gifts for Thunder and His Farm Animal Friends

The MSPCA-Nevins Farm is pulling out all the stops to ensure the transfer is safe and comfortable for Thunder and minimally disruptive to the daily operations on the farm.  During the month of February the farm will welcome members of the community who wish to bring “going away gifts” that may be enjoyed by Thunder during his journey, or by the many animal friends he’ll be leaving as he prepares for his new life.  The list of appropriate gifts includes: carrots, apples and hay (all of which can be enjoyed by Thunder and other farm animals).


In addition, the MSPCA-Nevins Farm has created a beautifully bound book that may be signed by anyone who wants to wish Thunder well on his journey.  The book will be housed at the MSPCA’s Noble Family Adoption Center for anyone who wishes to write a personal note to Thunder.  The book will travel with Thunder and will be on display at Farm Sanctuary.  This special book will solidify the kinship between the MSPCA-Nevins Farm and Farm Sanctuary and serve as an important reminder of the many lives Thunder touched throughout the years.  Said Melissa Ghareeb, who oversees Thunder’s care at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm, “Today marks a major milestone for our organization as we prepare to say goodbye to a beautiful and friendly animal who has come to be seen as mascot for our farm, and an ambassador for farm animals the world over.  It’s with great sadness and great joy that we say ‘farewell’ to Thunder and we’re so grateful to Farm Sanctuary for accepting him into their farm animal family.  We know he will be well looked after and we look forward to seeing him thrive in his new home.”


The Journey to Farm Sanctuary

Because Thunder’s trip to Farm Sanctuary is expected to take about 7 hours, and will happen during one of the coldest months of the year, extra precautions have been taken to ensure he is safe and comfortable throughout.   Thunder will be transported in a specially designed, 23-foot Featherlite trailer that will be heavily bedded for his comfort throughout the journey.  Thunder will be moved to the Nevins Farm barn in advance of boarding the trailer and he’ll walk up a sturdy ramp with walls on either side, to ensure safe entry onto the trailer.


It’s expected that Thunder will lay down to rest during much of the trip.  And in between “cattle naps” he may munch on hay and other treats that will be available inside his trailer.  The Farm Sanctuary team also plans to stop regularly to check on him and ensure he’s comfortable.  Upon arriving at Farm Sanctuary Thunder will enjoy his new home, in which many other cows and farm animals live.  Both the Nevins Farm and Farm Sanctuary teams are very eager to see how Thunder bonds with his new friends.


Said Susie Coston, the National Shelter Director for Farm Sanctuary: “We’re delighted to welcome Thunder to Farm Sanctuary and especially happy to introduce him to many more cattle.  Cattle form lifelong relationships and it will bring us so much joy to watch Thunder’s friendships blossom as he settles in.  Since Thunder is accustomed to meeting people at the MSPCA-Nevins Farm, where he’s been such a favorite over the years, we’re sure he’ll delight the visitors to our Watkins Glen shelter and will inspire many to have a new, more compassionate relationship with farm animals.”




The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit