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A Cow Never Forgets

August 18, 2010

In case you haven’t checked out our Education page yet (which I encourage you to do) we wanted to share our latest educational tidbit…

A Cow Never Forgets

Research shows that cows have the intelligence close to that of a dog and slightly higher than a cat.  Published studies also report that cows have an excellent memory!  Apparently so much so that it’s not uncommon for cows to make their way back to their home farms after being sold at auction.  They remember what areas of the pasture are best for grazing as well as locations of their favorite watering holes.  Fellow cows and calves are also recognizable to each other and often work together in packs similar to dogs and wolves.  Alpha leaders are chose based on their best qualities to lead the group and strong relationships form between members of the herd.  Cows also retain memories of people and things that hurt them and cause pain.  It isn’t rare for members of the herd to have a falling out and avoid each other once it has happened.  Just like us humans, cows become stressed and unhappy when they are taken away from their families or family members are taken away from the herd.

Why does this matter if I’m not vegetarian/vegan?

Treatment of cows on feedlots and factory farms is some of the most inhumane out there.  Cows raised for both dairy and meat in large factory settings are subjected to enduring pain, both mental and physical. Considering the long memory span of cows, imagine going through the branding process, having your horns removed (all without painkillers), or having young taken away for veal.  It is not uncommon to hear mother cows bleating for days after they are separated from their calves.  In these settings cows are often not fed proper diets and are also transported several hundred miles during extreme weather conditions which leads to death and serious illnesses.  Once at the slaughterhouse cows often go to slaughter still alive.  Sick and injured cows are no different.  Not only is the sheer pain and mistreatment that these animals sustain disconcerting, but the fact that we as humans consume meat in our diets produced from mistreated cows who often have pneumonia, bloat, acidosis, diarrhea, ulcers, or even liver disease should make you stop and consider the impacts on your own health and well-being.

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