Summer of the Cow

I hate this time of year. You can hardly get around because all the backroads get clogged up with news vans parked on the roadside. Yep, every summer the media around here goes bonkers. You can more or less set your calendar by it: Around July 4th, you’ll see the first helicopters circling over pastures, getting fresh footage of cows loafing for the nightly news. Sometimes they’ll film a whole herd grazing a hillside, which is sure to spike ratings for the lead story, “Farmer Gored by Killer Bull: Second Attack in Two Weeks.” Sometimes they’ll even get shots of cows stampeding toward the feed bunk, in a so-called “feeding frenzy.” And when they’re really desperate, they’ll get a closeup of a steaming cow patty, as evidence that cows have been recently grazing the area. 

Of course, the only thing this media-hype does is put a damper on our tourist season. In fact, last year I didn’t see a single tourist swimming in any local farm ponds, likely for fear of cows grazing the shores nearby. To try to re-attract visitors, Ed Johnson built a hydraulic Loch Ness Monster for his farm pond that surfaces every three hours and snorts steam, but even that gimmick hasn’t been able to drive tourists back into his pond water.

And that’s a real shame. It’s as if people don’t realize that cows are mostly harmless bovines. On average, they only kill twenty people in the United States per year, which is merely eight times higher than the number of people who die each year from shark attacks worldwide–and when was the last time you saw a news story on shark attacks? It’s a double standard if you ask me.

13 thoughts on “Summer of the Cow

    1. I really wanted to work a jaws reference into this post, but I couldn’t figure out a good way to do it, so I just gave up. I wish I would have thought of that.

  1. I remember reading in a Bill Bryson book about the number of people killed by cows. Anything that large is unnerving, at least to me, but then we’ve already established I’m a scaredy-cat.

    1. I’m right there with you. Somethings deserve respect, if not a little fear, and I would put thousand pound animals into that category.

  2. Confess to cow terror (even though we’ve reared a few) – especially with calves. Will make large detours to avoid. Funny though our big shaggy Highland cows which look the most threatening are the sweetest natured!

    1. Yes, I’ve never been charged by a bull, but I’ve had several momma cows with calves charge me before. I’ve learned to never come between a momma and her offspring.

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