Gov. Tom Corbett's office and the state Department of Agriculture today granted a "pardon," sparing a white cow that fled an Upper Darby slaughter market, a date with death.

Elissa Katz, an animal advocate, said that after all-day negotiations and prodding from a council on American-Muslim relations, state officials approved the eventual release of the white bovine to a farm sanctuary in upstate New York.

But the unnamed cow must first undergo a physical and serve a two-week quarantine in a horse barn before it can begin its new life. That is to ensure it doesn't harbor disease.

"It's really great, it will be such a great ending," said Katz. "I still have my fingers crossed. It's been a long day."

Moein Khawaja, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the Inquirer this morning and said he was troubled by the plight of the cow which was described in news stories.

The white bovine had escaped from the Madina Live Poultry market on Fourth Street on Saturday night and had run wild through the streets before being corralled by police.

It was returned to the butcher shop, which caters to Muslim clients by butchering meats and poultry in a manner consistent with their religion. It was due to be made into steak and hamburger.

Khawaja acted as go-between between the market's owner and the state officials, hoping to reach some solution. "We're all rooting for the cow. But this isn't Disney," he said.

On Thursday, animal activist Marianne Bessey, a Philadelphia lawyer, had taken up its cause. She went to the shop ready to pay $800 for the cow and transport the animal to a sanctuary in upstate New York. She even had a trailer ready to carry the cow northward, but was told the shop could not sell live animals.

Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or