On honour's day of the cow

From the perspective of Gut Aiderbichl

Written by Gisela Pschenitschnig

The introduction of the Cow's Day of Honour was intended to encourage people to eat more chicken meat than beef on this special day.

I hear people say: "Why should I honour the cow, it is there to eat! On average, "meat-loving" Austrians consume 12 kilograms of beef and about 115 kg of dairy products every year. The credo of vegetarians and vegans is usually "I don't eat meat or animal products".

A few years ago, there was a little girl on a guided tour. She was hanging on my lips and didn't want to understand why you "eat the beautiful cows. After some time she visited us again and said: "Do you remember me? I was on your guided tour with my grandparents and you told me about the cows and pigs. At that time I decided never to eat meat again in my life".

"Stupid cow" does not apply!

There are no stupid things in nature - everything has its order and its purpose. Cows are intelligent and extremely social animals and are also revered in many cultures. In some cases, the possession of a cow is believed to be the oldest form of wealth.

They are getting rich in any case - the billion-dollar industries all over the world whose basis is cattle farming. The cow gives people meat, its milk is not only the basis for countless types of cheese, but also for yoghurt, whipped cream, butter and many other products.

Milk production is boosted by high-performance feed, grass, maize and other feed concentrates. Long gone are the days when the farmer might have had three cows in the barn, with whose milk he provided for his family and for which purpose one cow was slaughtered every two to three years. Today, a "turbo-milk cow" lives no more than 5 years - then it's over with the calves and the milk yield - you can imagine where the last road leads to...

The pain of separation after calving

is incomparably painful for both, for the cow and for her baby. Immediately after birth, the majority of calves are separated from their mother. The calf needs about 4 litres of milk a day to survive, but is usually only fed artificial milk substitute instead. And by the way, cows only give milk when they have a calf - so many cows in mass farming are probably "permanently pregnant".

Calves without their mothers to cuddle with and suckle on are usually nervous, make more noises and constantly stick their heads out of the barn in search of something. Of course, separation from the mother not only has a direct impact on the health of the animals, but also on their social behaviour in particular.

Gut Aiderbichl and the mother-child attitude

Nature never intended a calf to be separated from its mother cow immediately after birth. In large stables, the two have at most a few days together before the family is separated. Sometimes we take in cows that are already pregnant at Gut Aiderbichl - then of course we look forward to the calf all the more! Because we know that it and its mother will be fine for the rest of its life. After birth, it can drink and grow up naturally with its mother, cuddle with her in the straw for as long as it likes and simply grow up to be a happy, healthy animal.

Why does the cow have horns?

Horns fulfil many important functions in the body and also in the life of a cow. On the one hand, horns have always served as an aid in power struggles when it comes to clarifying the hierarchy in a herd of cattle. The horns are sometimes pointed and in some places even razor-sharp. Therefore, after a few weeks, the horns of small calves are painfully burnt out with a burning rod, which is not only extremely painful but also dangerous for the animal. This procedure overlooks the fact that horns are also very well supplied with blood. They are important for heat regulation in the body and make an important contribution to gas exchange during digestion. Thus, horns contribute significantly to the health and well-being of a cow.

Encounters with animal transporters

are the worst for me. When I suspect insecure, nervous, fearful animals in the "live animal transporters", I would like to overtake the transporter, stop it and let all the animals go free. Cattle are highly sensitive, intelligent animals. They develop stress and release it in the form of toxic hormones throughout their bodies. That is also why, as soon as they get closer to the slaughterhouse, they can smell and sense what they are heading towards - and start to roar and fight back.

I wish for more courage to actually stop a slaughter truck at some point and I wish for consumerism in favour of preserving and saving these beautiful animals.

I look forward to the next guided tour with you at Gut Aiderbichl Henndorf, sincerely, your Gisela

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