Hiking With Cows

This morning Ceasar and I went on a different hike that ends at the top of a mountain. Near the top we came across a small group of cows. You’re probably thinking, not a big deal. At least that is what I was thinking when I saw them ahead 10-20 meters from the trail. Then as we got closer they suddenly started walking quickly toward us! They kept getting closer and closer until they were just about 1.5 meters away. Ceasar quickly jumped behind me feeling afraid. Thanks! The cows energy was friendly and curious but I couldn’t help but be intimidated. Then I saw more cows in the distance starting to come closer as well. Ceasar started doing his gurgling noise while pulling on the leash, so I decided to Nope out of there and head back down the mountain. As we moved away they started MOOOOOING more and more loudly, the further away we got. We still continued down. How strange! I have been around cows plenty of times, biking, hiking, helping on farms, but I’ve never been approached so eagerly before. Apparently, this is normal for Norweigan cows. Very soon after we turned around there was a female hiker ascending up. I told her about the cows and she just shrugged it off saying, “it is ok” continuing up without without dropping stride. HA! I’m sure I will look back on this someday and feel very silly.

Well, that was my excitment this morning. Now I am left with contemplating how cows are treated in the US. Even in Boulder where cows are free to roam with plenty of land, these cows would never approach a dog and human hiking. Much less with such gentleness and delight. I know cows can be very dangerous which explains my strong hesitation. But cows are really very docile, friendly animals when treated well. I remember growing up on a farm, we had cows until I was about 3 years of age. I remember sitting/riding on one, named Dolly, while my uncle lead her around the farm. She was very content and actually desired being around people. I remember the joy she exhibited when my uncle would scratch under her neck. Such a nice memory!

I guess now, I’m forced to consider whether eating cows is appropriate for me. I have never had a problem with eating beef in the past. I love beef! However, I remember about 10 or so years ago I watched this intense documentary called The Cove. In case you don’t know, it details out the butchering of dolphins in Japan. I was very upset after watching this movie. That there are people in the world that would kill such an intelligent and wonderful animal. I would frequently get on my soap box to others about how they needed to see it, most of them explaining that they couldn’t, fearing it would make them sad. Which I reponded to with arrogance. During this time I would pride myself on the fact that I watched this movie because I learned so much in the process about how dolphin meat isn’t even good for humans to eat. “Just don’t watch the last 10 minutes,” is what I would tell others. I would condemn them for not even being able to view the atrocities that populations were doing. I could hear my friend, Denise chastizing me for not being able to read books from the WWII era saying, “Imagine how they feel, they had to go through it and you cannot even read about it?” I related this to The Cove and felt very entitled to share this opinion with lots of people I came across at the time. But now, I realize I was being very hipocritical. I eat beef without even thinking about it. I also eat pork. Pigs are said to be more intelligent than dogs. I have not seen inside a factory that butchers pigs but I am sure I would feel the same kind of sorrow and anguish I felt when watching The Cove. Yet, what I was currently participating in was not any different. Wow!

I will not decide today about my future with beef. But I will try to actively consider the cows everytime I eat them. I’ve learned it is always good to question what you know and this is no different. Ignoring or resisting never solves anything within ourselves. It only creates more conflict and arrogance. Change is usually very slow and acquired over time. Maybe someday I will choose to not eat beef or maybe not. The choice is mine alone. Right now I am grateful to at least be paying attention to it.


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