START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
4,080,053 people care about Animal Welfare

7 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Cows

7 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Cows

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on May 27, 2014. Enjoy!

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.

Read more: , , ,

Top Photo Credit: Sanctuary Gaia

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

573 comments

+ add your own
4:51PM PDT on Apr 15, 2015

https://www.thedodo.com/community/Kip_Andersen/making-cowspiracy-was-a-total-trip-literally-1070115979.html

5:47AM PDT on Apr 15, 2015

We always had a few cows when I was a girl. I can tell you from personal experience, this article is true in all respects. As to how smart they are, we had a cow that learned how to work the pump handle with her nose to get a drink of water.

11:28AM PDT on Apr 13, 2015

I've always loved cows. Didn't know they are slaughtered when milk is not enough to bring profit. I hate that.

11:16AM PDT on Apr 13, 2015

thanks for the interesting article.

7:40AM PDT on Apr 8, 2015

"Is being vegan a matter of "choice"? . . . Only in so far as we are able to choose to ignore our moral obligations not to exploit the vulnerable." . . . Prof Gary Francione

7:57PM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

Great story, reminds me of my childhood days on the farm, all our cows had names, easy to milk and the calves were adorable.

7:55PM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

Beautiful cows and calves, beautiful pictures, beautiful day, thank you for sharing.

6:07PM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

"Men don’t achieve truth because they lack humility and love of truth. They won’t criticize their own beliefs. Truth would overwhelm them.” - Henri Amiel

6:01PM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

Gerald: "Carry on with your illusion of animal rights."

How convenient. In the words of Carl Sagan, "How smart does a chimpanzee have to be before killing him constitutes murder?"

5:21PM PDT on Apr 6, 2015

Christopher, yesterday I drove by a fence around someones garden in an area where it's still legal to feed deer. I want to take a picture of it, the things the height that would be appropriate for a human prison.

Carry on with your illusion of animal rights. My garden supersedes deer and rabbits wanting a un-natural diet.

Christopher P; @ 10:57am PDT on Apr 6, 2015
@ Gerald

http://os.care2.com/all/watch-rabbits-rescued-from-laboratory-take-first-hop-of-freedom#1

Respect...isn't that wonderful?





add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

@ DaleO: On that we agree, I really don't care what someone wears, save if it is foisted on them, that's…

Thank you. This article should be disseminated across the internet. Anyone who would support these factories…

ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.