'Hero cow' escapes abattoir in Poland by swimming to island – Sky News

A plucky cow that was being taken to an abattoir in Poland managed to escape after swimming to safety on an island.

Keen to keep her life the bovine made a run for it as slaughterhouse workers tried to load her on to a lorry at the farm she was raised on.

Having ignored advice she would need to be tranquilised the workers were then sent running after the escaped animal, Polish news show Wiadomosci reported.

A farmworker suffered broken and bruised ribs after the cow rammed a metal fence during her escape.

She then ran into the nearby Lake Nysa in south Poland close to the border with the Czech Republic and appeared to dive underwater, before swimming over to an island, which has become her new home.

The farmer, known only as Mr Lukasz, tried for a week to get the cow back but has given up and is now caring for her on the island, where he makes sure she has enough food.

He eventually called the fire brigade to help him shift the stubborn cow but when firefighters approached her by boat she swam about 50 metres to a peninsula.

Pawel Gotowski, deputy commander of the Nysa fire brigade, said they could not get closer than 70 metres to the cow because she was so scared.

The farmer said he does not want to put the cow down as he can still make money by selling her.

Her story has captured the nation, with local politician and former singer Pawel Kukiz offering to save the “hero cow” from her death.

He said: “If all citizens could show such determination as this cow then Poland would be a much more prosperous country.

“I am not a vegetarian, but fortitude and the will to fight for this cow’s life is invaluable.

“Therefore, I have decided to do everything to get the cow delivered to a safe place and, as a reward for her attitude, guarantee her a long-term retirement and natural death.”

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A local zoo said it would happily take the cow but it unable to do so because European Union rules state zoos can only house “approved” animals.

Most cows are good swimmers, but if they grow tired they do not head for dry land and instead stop swimming and drown.

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Looking at Cattle Inventories in Major Beef Cow States – Drovers Magazine

The Cattle report issued by USDA-NASS in late January included several interesting changes in major beef cow states.  Drought impacted the northern plains much of 2017 and continues to negatively impact producers in parts of Montana and North and South Dakota.  However, regional drought which affected parts of those states did not result in net herd liquidation year over year.  The beef cow inventory in Montana grew 0.7 percent to 1.497 million head in 2017.  In North Dakota, the beef cow herd grew 3.2 percent, twice the national herd growth rate, to 984.5 thousand head, in 2017.  This is the largest North Dakota beef herd level since 2002. Beef replacement heifers in both states were down sharply, 8.2 percent smaller in Montana and 7.3 percent smaller in North Dakota, and may indicate less growth potential in 2018, which could be due in part to the ongoing impacts of drought. 

Most surprising is the strong herd growth in South Dakota, which added the largest number of cows of any state in 2017.  The beef cow herd in South Dakota increased 8.2 percent, to 1.801 million head, also the highest state herd inventory since 2002.  Beef replacement heifers in South Dakota were up 10.1 percent, suggesting that aggressive beef herd growth will continue in 2018. 

The beef cow herd in Texas grew faster than the national average last year and was up 2.8 percent to a January 1, 2018 level of 4.585 million head. Nevertheless, Texas has generally recovered more slowly from the 2011-2013 drought than other states and the 2018 herd inventory is still less than the 2011 total.  Beef replacement heifers were down a scant 1.2 percent in Texas, perhaps suggesting potential for additional herd growth in the coming year.  Oklahoma, which had previously recovered to pre-drought levels, added another 1.7 percent to the beef cow herd inventory year over year, and at 2.131 million head was at the largest state herd level since 1983.  Beef replacement heifers were down 5.7 percent in Oklahoma. 

Missouri added the third largest number of beef cows to the herd (behind South Dakota and Texas) pushing the 2018 beef cow inventory up 5.4 percent to 2.166 million head.  This moved Missouri slightly ahead of Oklahoma to once again rank as the second largest beef cow state in the country.  Beef replacement heifers in Missouri were down a modest 1.4 percent year over year.  Kansas, after jumping five percent in 2016, decreased the beef cow herd by 4.0 percent in 2017 to a January, 2018 total of 1.507 million head.  Beef replacement heifers in Kansas were down 9.7 percent and may suggest additional herd decrease in 2018. Nebraska and Iowa were little changed with the Nebraska beef cow herd down 0.5 percent to 1.91 million head and Iowa up 0.5 percent to 970 thousand head.  Kentucky, also a top ten beef cow state, saw a 1.0 percent herd growth in 2017 to 1.033 million head.

It is noteworthy that Florida, long a top ten beef cow state, dropped to thirteenth place with 886 thousand head on January 1, 2018; behind Arkansas with 924 thousand head and Tennessee with 910 thousand head.  This is the first time Florida has had less than 900 thousand head of beef cows since 1964.

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“Cow vigilantism” in India – The Economist (blog)

MANY stock images of India’s cities show cows lying by the roadside or ruminating in the middle of the street as cars and bikes swerve around them. The animals, sacred to Hindus, have a licence to roam. Earlier this month the state government of Uttar Pradesh proposed making medicines with their urine, which is rumoured to cure cancer, eliminate wrinkles and prevent ageing. Their dung is believed to absorb harmful radioactivity. The animals’ status is now so high that in recent years “cow vigilantes” have taken to attacking and sometimes killing people they suspect of trafficking in cattle intended for slaughter. Thirty-seven such attacks were reported in 2017, many more than in previous years. Just last month a mob in the eastern state of Bihar beat up a truck driver whom they suspected to be carrying beef.

It was not always so. D.N. Jha, a historian, writes in “The Myth of the Holy Cow” that beef, along with other varieties of meat, was often used in the haute cuisine of early India. But sometime during the second millennium BC, with agriculture evolving, cows were increasingly considered more useful as a source of milk, manure and ploughing power than as meat. Fast-forward to the 19th century AD and for upper-caste Hindus the eating of beef had become a taboo. Cows were central to the first big riot between Hindus and Muslims, in Uttar Pradesh in 1893, which took place after Muslims had been stopped from slaughtering cows during an annual festival. 

Most of India’s 29 states have either banned or restricted the killing of cows. In Gujarat it is punishable by life imprisonment. Rajasthan has a cow-welfare ministry. In the “cow belt” of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, “cow protectors” armed with bats, swords and guns look for vehicles that are transporting cows across state borders. They have been known to extort money from drivers without verifying whether the cows they carry are being sent to slaughter or, in the case of meat, whether it is indeed beef. In a country where relations between some Hindu and Muslim communities remain especially fraught, this behaviour does not necessarily reflect greater religiosity. But politics does seem to matter. According to IndiaSpend, a data-journalism website, 97% of all cow-vigilante attacks reported since 2010 took place after the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, with Narendra Modi as prime minister. Most have targeted Muslims and Dalits (formerly known as untouchables), who traditionally skin the carcasses of cows. In a report published in January, Human Rights Watch, a global campaigning group, wrote that the Indian government has failed to investigate the attacks in credible fashion, while “many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence.”

The costs of the attacks are high. India’s $83bn dairy industry has taken a hit. Farmers are increasingly unwilling to expand their herds, as it is hard to get rid of unproductive livestock. Shelters for old cows are often overcrowded, says Kavita Srivastava, an activist. In Rajasthan a 10% surcharge is levied on stamp duty to fund the shelters. In many states boxes outside shops encourage people to donate towards their upkeep. But the system is opaque. “No one knows where the money ends up,” says Arjun Sheoran, a lawyer. Some steps would improve the situation. Stricter laws that recognise cow vigilantism as a crime against minorities could be enacted. Victim-protection schemes and faster court rulings could be funded. And more stringent punishments could be meted out to those who use cows as a pretext to exacerbate communal tensions. But moves of this nature will be difficult in a country where a judge claimed just a few years ago that cow dung was more valuable than the Koh-i-noor diamond.

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Search is on to find Britain's Sexiest Cow – Farmers Weekly – FarmersWeekly

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Search is on to find Britain's Sexiest Cow – Farmers Weekly
Yes, you did read the headline of this story correctly. From Valentine's Day (14 February), farmers can enter their cattle in a competition to win the title Britain's Sexiest Cow. This isn't a load of bull, it's a real competition. Now is the time to

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Cow urine to be promoted as health drink in India's Uttar Pradesh – Dhaka Tribune

The Uttar Pradesh government’s ayurvedic pharmacy at Pilibhit in India has proposed to collect, process and sell packaged bottles of cow urine.

Dr Prakash Chandra Saxena, principal and superintendent of Government Ayurveda College and Hospital in Pilibhit, said: “Not just for medicinal purpose, we will promote cow urine as a health-giving drink. We have prepared a plan and will discuss it with Ayurveda department in Lucknow for approval,” reports the Times of India.

He further added: “Drinking 10ml to 20ml cow urine daily will act as a preventive against seasonal diseases, like fever, cough and stomach-related ailments. Daily consumption of cow urine will also help increase people’s immunity. Our aim is to make cow urine easily available to common public.”

“At a later stage, we may plan to prepare medicines using cow urine for other diseases, including cancer and skin-related problems. As ayurvedic medicines have no side-effects, its demand is increasing in the country,” said Dr Naresh Chandra Gangwar, in-charge of the pharmacy.

In July 2017, the centre set up a 19-member panel, including three members linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), to carry out, according to an inter-departmental circular and members of the panel, scientifically validated research on cow derivatives including urine, and their benefits.

The department of science and technology, department of bio-technology, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of the Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with IIT-Delhi initiated the national program called Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya (SVAROP).

The Adityanath government has also cleared setting up 1000-capacity gaushalas (cow-shelters) in seven districts of the state and 16 urban locations in the first phase of the project.

A committee under the district collector will maintain new cow shelters with help of NGOs and public.

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Mexico Enacts Measures to Save Endangered 'Little Cow' Whales – teleSUR tv HTTPS (press release) (blog)

Mexican authorities are taking serious action to protect the last of the endangered Vaquita Marina whale through fish reservations around the Sea of Cortez.


Fishy Roadkill: 300 Sharks Found Off Mexican Highway

With less than 30 left in existence, the vaquita, translated from Spanish means little cow, also known as a cochito, ittle pig, falls prey to poachers for their bladders which are considered a delicacy in the Chinese market.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced Friday its plans to finance the construction of three totoaba farms to “prevent illegal trafficking.” On its official site, the ministry detailed its plans to collaborate with the departments of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food and Marina to open the reservations.

An implementation process will be incorporated and fishermen will be offered three months of compensation for their cooperation in supporting the state’s environmental efforts and for avoiding the designated area while the project is underway.

Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Additional changes for the protection of the vaquita marina will be an expansion of a 2015 legislation granting the sea mammal 750 sq km of space and the banning of “ghost networks” which both the state and non-governmental organizations will try to eradicate through the use of 85 acoustic monitoring points.

The state’s department is not taking any more chances, coupling their precautions with additional long-range video surveillance systems, control and mobile communications, digital communications equipment, 14 vessels, 23 vehicles and four aircraft; 177 elements of infantry, 54 of gendarmerie and inspectors of Profepa and Conapesca.

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Cow at sea sparks rescue attempt – Townsville Bulletin

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Townsville Bulletin

Cow at sea sparks rescue attempt
Townsville Bulletin
The steer escaped during the loading process overnight and was unable to be located. An outrigger canoe club training at the time and individual kayakers banded together this morning for an impromptu rescue effort but the steer didn't survive
Escaped cow survives all night in the sea but dies of exhaustion just as brave canoeists tow it toward the shoreDaily Mail

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Cow condition key element to calving – Western Producer

Poor nutrition, reproductive tract infections and bull performance can be linked to conception failure

A cow’s overall condition affects its ability to become pregnant and deliver a healthy calf.

“The bottom line is we need to get our cows cycling at the start of the breeding season and we need to ensure we get those conception rates to achieve herd fertility,” said Cheryl Waldner of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

Problems and recommendations for better herd reproduction were presented in a recent Beef Cattle Research Council webinar.

Field research examined 64,000 records from 90 western Canadian cow herds between 2014-16. It showed about six percent of cows did not get pregnant. Average herds also reported that 8.5 percent of heifers were open with a range from zero to 24 percent of young females failing to conceive.


This failure can be linked to factors such as poor nutrition, reproductive tract infections and bull performance.

As well, the decision among many producers to calve later in the season has shown to lead to decreases in pregnancy rates.

Researchers have seen lower open rates in cows bred in May and June compared to herds that breed earlier in April or in July or later.

“The difference is not huge but it is significant and it is something we need to think about,” she said.

“We are maybe pushing our cows harder, asking them to get pregnant in the summer grazing season,” she said.

Stillbirths, including those that died within 24 hours of life were lower for cows bred in June, July and August compared to cows bred earlier.

Abortion rates are very low.

“There was no association between start of breeding season and risk of abortion. The abortions are low and not seasonally dependent,” she said.

However, the loss of a fetus could be due to something like bovine viral diarrhea.


Nutrition and body condition has a major impact on reproduction.

Current surveillance data from last year is still being analyzed but producers are questioning whether the 2017 drought could impact this year’s calf crop.

Data from the last severe drought in 2001-02 showed herds in the hardest hit areas were likely to have more stillborn calves.

Body condition scores were considered but researchers also speculated vitamin A deficiency may have been responsible for more dead calves at that time.

Body condition score is the bottom line for assessing nutrition in cow herds.

The Canadian system for ranking weight and frame ranges from one to five. The western Canadian study of about 30,000 cows shows cows range from two to four. Three is optimal.

Thinner cows are more likely to be open at pregnancy checking time.

Thin cows struggle to rebreed compared to the average to heavier females. Thin ones are more likely to abort.

First- and second-calf heifers and those older than 10 years were often thinner.


While a cow with a score of 3.5 is often considered to be on the heavy side, it is more likely to be pregnant than a three.

The heavyweight cows scoring a four or 4.5 did not show a decline in pregnancy rates.

Cows that were 3.5 and beyond were more likely to have a hard calving but they were not likely going to lose the calf.

“The ones we have got to pay attention to are these thinner cows that were twos or less. They were much more likely to have a hard calving than these cows that were a little bit heavier,” she said.

“Cows that were thin in pre-breeding or pre-calving were still more likely to be thin at pregnancy testing. They don’t always recover as nicely as we would like them to,” she said.

The importance of trace minerals like copper must also be appreciated.

This deficiency is common in Western Canada. The most deficient regions seem to be eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba.

Pregnancy rates and lower serum copper levels have been associated with higher open rates in cows younger than 10 years.


In 2014, blood tests on mature pregnant cows showed 43 percent were copper deficient.

Further tests in 2016 on young cows found 24 percent of those were deficient and 85 percent of herds had one or more copper deficient young females.

If the trace mineral molybdenum is present in the region, its ingestion can tie up copper. About 13 percent of cows in the survey had higher than recommended levels of molybdenum. They probably picked it up from feed and soil.

Sulfate and iron also tie up copper.

For supplementation purposes, there are different types of copper.

Chelated minerals are bound to something organic that improves absorption of the mineral. They are more expensive but for those having serious problems with low copper, or high sulfate or iron in the water or molybdenum in the soil, chelated minerals can be useful said Waldner.



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Heroic cow escapes trip to slaughterhouse, hides in Dutch forest for weeks – Treehugger

And in the meantime, the bodacious bovine has become a social media star and will receive a full pardon … as soon as they can get her out of the woods.

A spunky cow by the name of Hermien has captured the hearts of freedom lovers everywhere as she remains on the lam in the woods of the northwest Netherlands, elusive to all efforts of capture.

Her break for liberation came as she was being loaded onto a truck heading for the slaughterhouse. No one puts Hermien in a corner, apparently. She hoofed it to the woods, where she has been hiding out since December!

Apparently, she only comes out at night. Understandably, she is not very trusting of humans.

“She has been running free for six weeks now, and you can count on her being very shy, apprehensive about every person that comes close to her,” Bert Hollander of the cow sanctuary, Koeienrusthuis, told the NL Times.

And as it turns out, the three-year-old Limousin cow is the hero we all need right now, as evidenced by the plethora of hashtags peppering social media: #JeSuisHermien, #GoHermien, #HelpHermien, #FreeHermien and #MeKoe (koe is the Dutch word for cow), to name a few.

And all the support hasn’t been for naught. Pieter van Vollenhoven, the son-in-law of former Queen Beatrix, tweeted “we’ve got to save Hermien, let’s all buy her together and give her freedom.” And indeed, the Party for the Animals (PvdD) has launched a crowdfunding campaign that has raised €48,000. They write:

The money will be used to ensure that for the rest of her life, Hermien will be well cared for in cow shelter “De Leemweg”. The shelter is entirely dependent on donations, and adopts and looks after cows from the Netherlands that have escaped from slaughterhouses, cows that have been neglected, or, for whatever reason, have nowhere else to go. In the shelter, cows are allowed to live a quiet and peaceful life until their natural death.

If they can ever get her out of the woods, that is.

See some paparazzi footage below. Beautiful girl, we wish you a long and happy life.

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Via Oddity Central

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Cow Hollow shops struggle to survive – San Francisco Chronicle

After 42 years of selling jewelry on Union Street, Terry Brumbaugh is calling it quits.

His shop in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood is plastered with signs advertising discounts on every last pearl necklace and sapphire ring in the display cases. Brumbaugh is retiring, a decision he made in part because commercial rents are high and competition from online retailers is ramping up.

“It’s a good time to go out of business,” he said, with a smug grin.

Brumbaugh has plenty of company. Of the 197 storefronts that line Union Street between Van Ness Avenue and Steiner Street, 20 are vacant, according to a Chronicle count last week. The empty spaces are even more pronounced on Fillmore Street. Thirty-two stores dot the three-block stretch between Union and Greenwich streets, but seven of them are empty shells.

“I can never recall a time when there were more vacancies,” said Jeremy Scherer, who for 20 years has worked at Plumpjack Wine and Spirits in the bustling Fillmore-Greenwich Street intersection known as the Bermuda Triangle. Scherer is now president of Plumpjack.

Vacant storefronts are prevalent throughout the city, leading some to wonder whether the demise of small businesses is a warping side effect of economic prosperity. It’s particularly unsettling in Cow Hollow, a patchwork of old bars, hair salons and beachy cafes in one of the most affluent areas of San Francisco.

“Union Street was always the Madison Avenue of San Francisco — it’s artsy, it’s boutique-y, it had a reputation for taking care of locals and enticing a great deal of tourist traffic,” said David Blatteis, board chairman at Blatteis Realty, a brokerage firm that represents many of the street’s property owners.

1824 Union Street in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

1824 Union Street in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in San Francisco, Calif.

Yet in recent decades, the composition of Union and Fillmore streets has changed dramatically. Mom-and-pop shops are shuttering. Chain stores and temporary pop-ups are moving in. Fitness centers and Pilates studios are replacing the antique shops and galleries.

“Landlords on this street just have to get real about what it takes to make a small business work,” said Brumbaugh, noting that commercial rents have ballooned as high as $30,000 a month for some spaces — an insurmountable figure for most small businesses. At the same time, brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to retain customers who now have the ease of shopping on eBay or Amazon.

“People like to go online and hit ‘pay,’” said Renee Cocke, manager of Krimsa, a high-end rug store that her sister opened on Union Street 15 years ago.

The question is how far the city should go to preserve its retail enclaves.

“It’s really tough to legislate a free market,” said longtime commercial broker Cameron Baird, noting that real estate prices and business trends fluctuate a lot faster than the law. “By the time you put legislation in place, it may already be outdated,” he said.

Blatteis acknowledged that most small businesses can’t afford the average rent on Union Street, which he said is about $8 a square foot, or $12,000 a month for a medium-size store. That’s a slight drop from the average of $10 per square foot two years ago, he said, but it comes with the added cost of bringing an old building up to code. Add to that the rising cost of labor and city fees, and some shop owners can’t make the cut.

He said the city’s efforts to preserve those small businesses are counterproductive. Over the years San Francisco has tightened its controls on formula retail — any business with 11 or more stores — and as a result, Blatteis said, buildings that could be filled by chain stores remain bare, hurting the neighborhoods.

“It often takes a year for a formula retail store to get through the Planning Department and the Planning Commission,” Blatteis said. “So you either have to have an owner that’s willing to give up rent, or a tenant who is willing to pay speculatively.”

Others say the city isn’t doing enough to prevent landlords from holding storefronts captive and setting the rent unreasonably high.

“The average profile of a landlord has changed,” Scherer said. “These are not people that care if a space is vacant for 10 years. They don’t need the money — they own 20 other properties.”

San Francisco already requires owners of empty storefronts to register with the city and pay an annual fee of $711 until their spaces are filled. A recent report from the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst showed that many businesses don’t pay the fee.

Some Cow Hollow merchants are calling for aggressive measures. Ben Bleiman, owner of Tonic bar, said he would support a blight tax on landlords who turn down prospective tenants and leave storefronts empty by setting unreasonably high rents.

“There’s a few bad actors who own a lot of property, and they will hold out for years to get an exorbitant price per square foot,” Bleiman said. “It kills the neighborhood.”

Paul Kerr, owner of the small home decor shop Atys, suggested the city impose some form of commercial rent control in San Francisco’s retail hamlets.

“I want our neighborhood to thrive and I want retail to be wonderful and elegant again,” said Kerr, who opened Atys in 1997.

Mayor Mark Farrell, who represented Cow Hollow as a district supervisor, said he focused on public safety and aesthetic improvements, including new benches and trees, to make the commercial areas attractive.

“Look, our small businesses are the heart and soul of San Francisco, and, in my opinion, the city government cannot do enough to protect them,” Farrell said.

His successor, Supervisor Catherine Stefani, promised to prioritize vacant storefronts in her legislative agenda.

But she and other supervisors haven’t yet found the right solution. Some economists say the onus is on businesses themselves — not the city — to adapt to market conditions. That could mean taking to social media or launching an app-based delivery service. Or it could mean that only certain types of merchants survive.

“Bars, cafes, services, unique new products — those will remain competitive,” Baird, the broker, said. “The reality is San Francisco is expensive, and rents are just going to follow a northern curve.”

Rachel Swan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: rswan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rachelswan

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