Cows are amazing animals. Cows are gentle and strong animals. And how many other animals can turn grass into milk? And how many other animals drink about 35-50 gallons of water every day? And how many other animals can produce 125 pounds of saliva in a single day? And how many other animals can be patient enough to be milked 2 or 3 times per day? As a person working in the dairy industry, I probably should appreciate and respect them much more than I do. By human standards, a cow’s existence seems boring, however, she does a lot during her normal day, and her purpose on this Earth is to feed our human race with the most nutritious liquid on Earth. What does a cow do all day besides being hooked-up to a milking machine for 10-15 minutes per day? Well, a cow normally will eat and drink for 6 hours each day, as well as “chew her cud” for about 8 hours each day. That leaves about 10 hours each day to walk for exercise, interact (socialize) with other cows, and of course rest, or sleep. In hu- man thinking that does not sound productive, however, this results in about 7 gallons of milk every day. Cows never take a pause from making milk, so this is about 7 gallons of milk per day 365 days per year, year after year. All the dairy products that we enjoy as a society are not possible without cows. Healthy, happy cows produce really, really good high quality milk, which is step #1 for making high quality dairy products. Without cows that would mean no ice cream! That would mean no cottage cheese! That would mean no cheddar cheese! That would mean no yogurt! That would mean no sour cream! That would mean no cream cheese! That would mean no whipping cream! My point is obvious. From this perspective cows are much more than just milk to drink with meals, that is, food items for appetizers, snacks, side dishes, lunches, desserts, etc. I was raised in Vermont back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Vermont was a “mini” Wisconsin dairy state that had a cow population greater than that of people. In fact, I remember owning and wearing a VERMONT tee shirt that stated how can 693,000 cows be wrong? I would not be wrong saying that cows dominated the state back then, with small family run dairy farms throughout all the towns and villages you passed through. By virtue of growing up in Ver- mont I was destined to become employed in the dairy industry in some capacity. However, I still took for granted the importance of the cows in the overall big picture. Along the way, as I became older, I understood. I now have a good appreciation of cows. Now I’m not implying that we should consider that cows are sacred or a sacred sym- bol, but perhaps next time you see a herd of cows roaming in a pasture you can look at them as more than big, “boring” animals. Cows are so much more! Did you know Fun Facts about cows and milk: • Before milking machines were invented in 1894, farmers could only milk about 6 cows per hour. • The first cow in America arrived in the Jamestown colony in 1611. And until he 1850’s almost every family had its own cow. • The first regular shipment of milk by railroad was between Orange County, NY and New York City, beginning in 1841. Cows Make the World a Better Place: A Tribute to Cows by Al Duthie
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