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7 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Cows

7 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Cows

Cows are incredibly intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive animals who are among the gentle giants of the world. Despite weighing in excess of 1,400 lbs, they have no instinct to harm and can be a wonderful companion to those lucky enough to spend time in their presence.

Despite this, the vast majority of cows spend their lives confined to dreadful conditions on factory farms where they are subjected to all manner of cruel and inhumane practices so that we can exploit their bodies for milk and meat. When confined to the stalls of a large dairy or beef farm, they are unable to exhibit their natural behaviors, and this leads to a widespread misunderstanding of their true nature.

If you’ve never taken the time to consider the complex emotional capabilities of these sentient animals before, here are seven fascinating things you never knew about cows. If you don’t believe them to be true, contact your local farm animal sanctuary and arrange to meet one in person!

1. Leap For Joy

Image credit: Farm Sanctuary | Connie Pugh

When cows are happy, they run around and leap into the air with excitement. There are some amazing photographs and videos of cows doing this when they are released into fresh green pasture after being kept inside for a period of time. Samuel the cow from Sanctuary Gaia did just this after he had been let into the field for the first time after an operation.

2. Get Excited When They Solve Problems

Image credit: Woodstock Animal Sanctuary

Cows are critical thinkers and they are able to solve complex problems. Researchers studying their problem solving capabilities noticed a distinctive spike in their heartbeat when they were successful in overcoming challenges. They are not so different from you or I in this respect.

3. Live for up to 20 Years

Image credit: Farm Sanctuary

Despite the fact that cows in the meat and dairy industry often don’t live over 5 years old, their natural lifespan is in excess of four times this. When cow’s bodies are intensively used by the dairy industry, their bodies cannot cope with the demands placed on them, and their vital organs begin to deteriorate after a very short amount of time. When milk production slows, they are sent to slaughter, while they are still effectively not even adults.

4. Remember Faces for Long Periods of Time

Image credit: Farm Sanctuary

Cows have amazing memories, and due to their social nature they are extremely good at remembering and recognizing faces. There have been many instances of cows running over to greet visitors at sanctuaries who have not seen them for six months or longer, yet the cow still recognizes them and comes over for a cuddle.

5. Nurse Their Calves for up to 3 Years

Image credit: El Hogar Pro Vegan

When given the chance, cows have been known to nurse their calves for as long as three years. They have extremely strong maternal bonds and are excellent parents to their young, with different herd members performing nurturing roles if required.

6. Grieve for their Loved Ones

Image credit: El Hogar Pro Vegan

It is common for cows to show very obvious signs of grief when a loved one is taken away from them. When a calf is taken away from its mother, she will scream and cry for many hours, and will not display her usual behaviors for a long time after that. They have even been known to walk for miles on end looking for their calves, all the time displaying visible signs of stress, anger and distress.

7. Love Cuddles and Affection

Image credit: Sanctuary Gaia

Anyone who has visited a farm animal sanctuary will tell you that cows are extremely affectionate and loving creatures. Cows who have been mistreated and abused in the past can take some time (as with all animals) to heal and learn to trust humans once more, but they do have an amazing capacity for forgiveness and understanding of the intentions of new people they meet. Cows love to lay in the sunshine and have strokes and rubs, and will happily follow around people they know are going to give them attention.

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Top Photo Credit: Sanctuary Gaia

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205 comments

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5:02AM PDT on Aug 21, 2014

I did not know that cows did all this! Thanks for the info!

6:09AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

The human excuse will be the whining "if it weren't for humans the billions of cows wouldn't survive". So wait a minute, why then are you artificially breeding billions of cows, chickens, sheep, etc? And don't tell me it's in order to breed billions of humans to ruinand destroy the earth sooner. That in itself is a crime.

6:04AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

The murder of cows, calves, lambs, chickens, is exactly what it is and no less, MURDER. Not only is it murder, it is genocide, no different than the herding of 6 million innocents in concentration camps courtesy of Hitler's Germany. The human race is a cursed monstrous species.

5:59AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

There is no difference between ripping calves away from their mothers to be murdered than it would be for these same monsters to go door to door ripping human children away from their mothers to be murdered. Not a shred of difference. There is a holocaust going daily from the curse ironically called "humanity"

1:44PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Do not pet calves if you wish to keep them. When they grow up they become aggressive toward people because of this. Petting older animals is ok :)

12:43PM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

I have 1st hand experience on this. The cows by our friends place always come back for a brush and cuddle. Love them

8:19AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Cows are cool!

10:51PM PDT on Jun 11, 2014

thank you to the cows. Love the food you eat...remember it all thinks and feels...just like you do.

9:59AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said in conversation with French Roman Catholic Cardinal Jean Danielou: "Jesus Christ said, 'Thou shalt not kill.' So why is it that the Christian people are engaged in animal killing? Actually, you will not even have a human society until this cruel practice of maintaining slaughterhouses is stopped...

"...consider the cow: we drink her milk; therefore, she is our mother. Do you agree?"

"Yes, surely," replied Cardinal Danielou.

"So if the cow is your mother," asked Srila Prabhupada, "how can you support killing her? You take the milk from her, and when she's old and cannot give you milk, you cut her throat. Is that a very humane proposal?... cow killing is the greatest sin... Don't kill cows. It is the greatest sin. And as long as a man is sinful, he cannot understand God. The human being's main business is to understand God and to love Him. But if you remain sinful, you will never understand God, what to speak of loving Him."

"...if the Christians want to love God," said Srila Prabhupada, "they must stop killing animals... This program follows the teachings of the Bible (Genesis 1:29); it is not my philosophy. Please act accordingly and you will see how the world situation will change."

10:02AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

@ Vasu M; quote:Abortion and war are the karma for killing cows and other animals. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada spoke in San Francisco, in 1967:

The more radical hippies and Vietnam war resisters want more than peace in Vietnam. They want a recognition of the "solidarity of man," the institution of a new world-state conceived in planetary instead of 'tribal' terms.

Vasu, you are promoting a "Vegan New World Order", we are told to beware of the commandments and doctrines of men, to beware of men bringing in damnable heresies, trying to subvert the doctrines of the church. Your entangling and devious use of scriptures, while you proclaim to follow "gods direct contact" vegan promoter indoctrinating followers on supreme master tv.

We are to judge No man by Foods eaten! And not to offend a host providing a meal if WE find it offensive to OuR dietary practices.

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