Jenny, a lame 30-year-old mule who was to be sent to auction - and probable slaughter - by her owners at Fairfax County's Frying Pan Park, has been spared.
After a storm of protests by animal lovers, the park's advisory board, which runs a model farm that includes a menagerie, has agreed to sell Jenny to the Animal Protection Association of America for a dollar.
Bettijane Mackal, president of the association and frequent defender of the rights of animals, said she offered to buy Jenny because "Here is this poor old mule that kids have ridden and they were going to take it to an auction and probably sell it to a 'killer.'"
The park is being developed to resemble a typical Virginia subsistence farm between the two world wads, and it has a wide variety of farm animals.
Earlier this month, the advisory board voted to send Jenny to the Front Royal Livestock Sales because, as member Joseph Beard said: "She's gotten so old she's lost her teeth and can't graze, and she looks terrible. You don't want people to see her - she looks that bad."
The Front Royal aution sells old and drippled horses, mules and other animals. Most of the purchasers are what are called "killer buyers." Animals bought by killer buyers are loaded live onto ships, slaughtered on the high seas and then sold sold in the form of steaks and ground beef in France and other European countries.
But Jenny will not end up on any dinner plates in Europe. Mrs. Mackall said she will have a veteninarian look at the mule, and then, "I'd like to put it in a good place to live out the rest of its days. I hope someone will want to give it a home."
According to Melba Shields, assistant manage of the Frying Pan Park, Jenny has most of her problems in damp weather. "During the last rain spell," Shields said, "said really stiffened up. We've been soaking her legs in salt water, and that helps a lot."
Beard of the farm park's advisory board, who has had to field some of the protests against the auction plan, said the auction was originally decided on because "there's only one end, and that's a terminal end." Beard, former Fairfax extension agent, said that in the old days farmers sent their old and infirm animals to rendering factories, "but there aren't any of those around anymore."
Frying Pan Park, on West Ox Road near Herndon, is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority. CAPTION: Picture, Animal Protection Society of America has bought Jenny, the 30-year-old mule at Frying Pan Park. By James M. Thresher - The Washington post