A pregnant runaway cow from Bulgaria which roamed into neighbouring Serbia has been condemned to death because she crossed the EU border, prompting a desperate plea from her owner on Thursday to save her.
Red cow Penka, due in around three months' time, wandered westwards away from its herd near the Bulgarian village of Kopilovtsi on May 12, straying over a border checkpoint into non-EU Serbia.
But after it was returned to its owner Ivan Haralampiev by a farmer over the frontier, Bulgarian officials said the animal must be put down because of strict EU rules -- despite being given a clean bill of health by Serbian vets.
"The motives are that she had left the borders of the EU" and cannot be imported back into the European Union, Haralampiev told public BNT television Thursday as he pleaded for his cow to be saved.
"A vet comes and orders it to be immediately culled!"
He farmer also lamented how the cow was able to saunter over the border unchecked.
"How come nobody attempted to stop it?" he said.
Although Serbian vets wrote a statement saying Penka was in a perfect condition and fit to return home, Bulgarian authorities said it should be put down without delay.
Officials told AFP Thursday that it was not in their powers to save Penka from the EU regulations.
"It is not for us to decide. We are only implementing rules that come from Brussels," vet expert Lyubomir Lyubomirov told AFP.
Pregnant cow Penka accidentally left the EU when it strayed from Bulgaria into neighbouring Serbia