Carabao (water buffalo) runs for freedom from slaugherhouse, injures 3 in Quezon City, Philippines


After a trip from Naga City, the animal ends up as a “detainee” at the QCPD-Cubao station on Saturday.

A carabao's wild run for freedom from a Quezon City slaughterhouse wreaked terror in a commercial area early Saturday, forcing an evacuation at a call center and tossing furniture in the lobby of a small hotel.

Before it could be restrained, the water buffalo injured three people, including a butcher and a call center agent. At press time, the farm animal remained tethered and caged in a freight container outside a police station in Cubao, more than a kilometer from the abattoir, where its two-hour rampage ended.

Police said the animal, a three-year-old female weighing about half a ton and with potentially lethal 18-inch horns, escaped around 3 a.m. from the Mega Q-Mart slaughterhouse on Ermin Garcia Street in Barangay (village) E. Rodriguez, after it was unloaded from a truck carrying livestock from Naga City.

"Maybe the smell of blood made it run wild," Dante Floresca, one of the workers who delivered the animals, said in an interview.

First to be gored was butcher Jonith Rufino, 35. "I ran, but it was faster. It tossed me into the air with its horns and when I woke up, I was being stitched up in hospital," he told Agence France-Presse.

"In my 14 years at work, this is the first time I was attacked by an animal," said Rufino, who required 14 stitches to a wound on his backside at Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC).

Later, on Ermin Garcia Street, the carabao encountered Willie Aries, 44, who had just bought bread from a bakeshop. According to his nephew, Aidween Servantes, Aries was treated also at QMMC for bruises and leg injuries after being attacked twice by the animal. In the second attack, he said, his uncle's denim pants got caught on one of the horns and that he had to take the pants off to free himself.

The carabao then galloped toward Aurora Boulevard where it attacked 32-year-old call center agent Maria Betty Tanion. The woman was thrown off her feet and lost consciousness after her head hit the pavement.

Reaching the Araneta commercial center, the animal entered the lobby of a small hotel and tossed some furniture, according to SPO1 Kingly James Bagay of the Quezon City Police District's Cubao station.

It later barged into the building of Telus International Philippines, Bagay said.

No one was hurt at the two buildings but the call center, where some glass panels were broken, had to be evacuated, he said.

The animal was eventually trapped at the call center's reception hall, about two hours after the rampage began. "A lot of people helped the police in pulling the rope tied around the carabao to stop it," the police officer said.

"I've been a policeman in this city for 15 years. I have never seen anything like it," he said. "The animal was probably stressed after the overnight trip. Its handlers should have paid more attention."

Bagay said the carabao would likely still be destined for the abattoir.

Through the Philippine Carabao Center in Nueva Ecija province, the government promotes the conservation and propagation of the carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk and hide.

Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showed that some 457,000 carabaos were slaughtered for meat in 2013, while some 6.57 million liters of carabao milk were produced that same year.

The latest inventory puts the total carabao population in the country at 2.68 million as of July 2014.

A House bill pending since 2011 seeks to prohibit the slaughter of carabaos when they reach a certain age: 7 years old and above for males and 11