Appreciating the cows

Did you know the second Tuesday of July is Cow Appreciation Day?

It started out as a marketing campaign for Chick-Fil-A restaurants and encourages people to eat chicken instead of beef, but also invites them to “love and appreciate cows”. If you are so fascinated by this that you take time to go online and check it out, you will find that there are actually “Cow Appreciation” activities all over the country! 

Some of these activities are 1. Dress like a cow and go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. 2. Go to a cattle farm and “spend quality time” with the cows, giving them “much deserved attention”. Or 3. Go to a dairy farm and buy some fresh dairy products straight from the source. 

Well, that sounds very nice and lovely… but out here in cow country we might “celebrate” a little differently.

First of all, people with cattle already give them lots of attention. They give them attention when they are calving, branding, working and sorting. They give even more attention when cows get out of the pasture or upside down in the chute. And not only do the owners of the cattle give them attention, but any neighbor also who has a stray on his place will pay “much deserved attention” to them too. Out here, cows don’t have a self-esteem problem based on not enough attention.

Secondly, dairy farmers work hard. If I wanted to celebrate cows, the last thing I would do is go to a dairy farm and bother them by trying to buy yogurt or cheese. They would toss you out on your ear. If you really want to appreciate a dairy farmer, buy a bunch of dairy stuff at the store, then send him a thank you note and tell him about it. A few dairies sell their products directly to the public, but most of them are too busy milking to deal with visitors.

Thirdly, the very best way to appreciate cows is to take good care of them. Then they will be healthy and flavorful when we eat them! You don’t run around trying to hug them because this will cause them stress. It will also cause you stress, especially if one of them decides you are a real pain and takes after you. Sometimes taking care of cows just means leaving them alone. 

So how would a “real” cattle rancher celebrate Cow Appreciation Day? In the winter, he will feed the cows and make sure the ice is chopped so they can water. He will spend a whole day preparing for a blizzard and once the blizzard is gone, he will be out there checking them for any problems. 

In summer the rancher will make sure the cattle have plenty of water, even if he has to haul it for miles. He’ll fix fence in 100-degree heat. He’ll know his cattle well enough to know when one of them is sick or hurt and will take care of it as soon as possible. Even though cattle can aggravate them to no end, ranchers celebrate Cow Appreciation Day every day!

So, if you are a rancher, carry on. You are celebrating Cow Appreciation Day and didn’t even know it. 

If you are not a rancher, you can try to hug a cow or bother a dairy farmer if you want, but the best way to celebrate is to buy beef. You may go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, but beef is what’s for dinner!



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