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Top 10 Controversies Surrounding Cattle

Iva Cheung . . . Comments

Cattle may seem like a simultaneously mundane and esoteric topic, but when I was researching for this list, I found it eye-opening to consider how each of these issues is a commentary on us as humans. I recently read a book called Cow: A Bovine Biography by Florian Werner (translated from German by Doris Ecker), which shows how the symbiotic relationship between cattle and humans has led to the cow’s becoming embedded in various facets of our culture, including literature, music and visual art. The book argues that the evolutions of humans and cattle are tightly intertwined. No wonder the cattle industry is so very fraught.

You’ll notice some common themes throughout the list, as many of these controversies have arisen because of modern industrial farming practices, and the two sides of an issue are often split based on whether we see cattle more as commodities or fellow living creatures. In most cases, I aim not to take sides but simply to present the issues. (For the record, I’m no vegan.) Decide for yourselves, and share your thoughts on these and other contentious cattle-related issues in the comments.




The wise man said, “This is a male camel. As it gets older it will get unruly. You should castrate the beast to save you trouble.”

The young man asked, “How do I accomplish this, O wise one?”

The wise man replied, “You take two large stones, hold one in each hand, place the testicles between them, and bring the stones sharply together.”

“But surely this will cause severe pain,” said the astonished young man.

“Not if you are careful to keep your thumbs out of the way.”

I’m not sure of the origin of this old joke, but it’s been circulating for decades and provides a good reminder of how we view and value our livestock.

Animal welfare advocates argue that castrating bulls is unnecessary and cruel, saying that bulls actually bulk up better and produce more meat than steers, their castrated counterparts. Not only is the process of castration painful, but it also puts the animal at risk of infection. However, those in favor of castration say it reduces aggression in livestock and that people prefer the taste of beef from steers, which is usually more marbled and less tough, making it more marketable. Aggressive bulls are also more likely to damage equipment and injure other cattle or their human handlers.

Even among castration supporters, a debate of when and how to castrate rages. Calves heal better after surgical castration than older animals, but surgical castration on calves is usually done without anesthetic. Other methods involve cutting off circulation to the genitals using rubber rings; eventually, the testicles fall off. But does this cause the animal more pain than simply cutting the gonads off?


Slaughtering Methods

Animal science professor Temple Grandin has devoted her life to creating more humane livestock-handling systems in slaughterhouses. Her autism, which allows her to see the world through the eyes of cows and other animals, informs her many innovations that make an animal’s final moments as calm and peaceful as possible.

In line with her recommendations, most cattle today are slaughtered using a captive bolt stunning gun (think No Country for Old Men), which, when used correctly, instantly kills the animal. However, Jewish and Muslim communities don’t consider this type of slaughter to be in keeping with their religious dietary laws, which require that cattle be slaughtered with a single, swift cut to the throat that severs the jugular veins and carotid arteries but leaves the spinal chord intact. Causing minimal suffering is one of the aims of such ritual slaughter, but it’s not always done right; earlier this year the government of Australia faced pressure to end live cattle exports to Indonesia, where videos surfaced of inhumane slaughtering practices.



Veal Scallopini Lemon Capers What Wine

Some people object to the idea of eating a baby animal, but veal is nothing more than a byproduct of dairy farming: in order to produce milk, cows have to give birth, and because of worldwide milk demand, the cows produce more babies than we could possibly support as fully grown cattle.

So if you’re a vegetarian for ethical reasons but you consume dairy derived from factory farming, you’re actually inadvertently fueling the veal industry – especially if you eat cheese, which requires not only milk but also the rennet from a calf’s stomach.

Others find cruel the practice of depriving a veal calf of both its mother’s milk (so that we can drink it) and of solid cattle feed (so that its flesh will stay pale); instead these calves are fed whey formula from birth. Eating free-raised veal, where a calf has unlimited access to its mother’s milk as well as pasture, is probably as ethical as you can get (see also #1) while still eating beef.


Hormones and Antibiotics


Farmers in North America are permitted to give cattle hormones to boost their growth and productivity, although synthetic hormones aren’t allowed in Canada. Growth-promoting hormones are banned altogether in Europe. The major concern is that humans can absorb these hormones when they eat beef or consume dairy products, potentially leading to health problems such as cancer. The hormones might also leach out of the cattle’s waste and into the environment, where their effects on wildlife can be potentially devastating.

The North American cattle industry defends its stance, citing research that proves hormonal growth promoters don’t pose a threat to human health and saying that not using the hormones would vastly increase beef prices for consumers.

A related debate concerns the use of antibiotics, and critics blame factory farming. Antibiotics are frequently required when animals are kept in close quarters and share the same feed. When they have access to pasture, disease transmission is drastically reduced. Clinical antibiotic administration—when an animal actually becomes ill—is not the major point of contention; rather, it’s the sweeping administration of antibiotics as a preventive measure that some believe to be a major contributor to global antibiotic resistance.


Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized


Anyone who grew up on a dairy farm will tell you that milk tastes best straight from the cow. Raw milk proponents would agree, and they’re pushing governments to allow the sale of unpasteurized milk, which is illegal in many jurisdictions. They argue that pasteurization alters the nutrient balance in milk, destroying beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and milk’s antimicrobial properties, as well as altering its natural sweetness. Many raw milk advocates believe that pasteurization is necessary only because of factory farming, where milk from all of the animals, some of which may be ill, are mixed together in a big vat, inevitably leading to contamination of the whole batch; they are adamant that if a cow isn’t diseased, and if she has access to pasture and produces milk free of blood or coagulation, the milk is perfectly safe to drink.

Proponents of pasteurization would disagree; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that raw milk is responsible for three times the hospitalizations compared with other food-borne illnesses. Milk can be contaminated at any point between milking and consumption, including transport and bottling, and could contain E. coli, salmonella or listeria. In Canada, selling raw milk and raw milk products (aged cheese is an exception) is still illegal.

Some raw milk fans have gotten around legal restrictions by participating in cow-sharing agreements – owners can legally drink raw milk from their own cows. And twenty-eight U.S. states, including California, Washington and Maine currently allow the sale of inspected and certified raw milk in grocery stores.


Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed


One of the major reasons ruminants like cattle, sheep and goats have historically been so important to humans is that they’re able to turn something we can’t digest (the cellulose in grass) into something that we can (milk or beef). So advocates of grass-fed cattle argue that feeding them something that we can already readily digest – grain – is a waste of food.

Grass-fed cattle aren’t as productive as grain-fed animals, however, and the latter have higher fat content and better marbling, which makes their beef much more marketable.

This debate is, once again, centered on the issue of industrial farming, since grass-fed cattle are typically allowed access to pasture, a practice that requires more land and labour resources, whereas grain-fed cattle are usually penned within large factory farms. Critics of grain feeding insist that cattle’s natural diet consists of grasses, not grains, and that their digestive systems simply can’t handle grains very well, which leads to illnesses that necessitate antibiotics (see #7).


Grazing Practices


Related to the grass-fed versus grain-fed debate is the issue of grazing. The vast majority of deforestation in the Amazon has occurred because subsistence cattle ranchers have needed land to allow cattle to graze. They burn a patch of rainforest and plant crops for cattle only to have the cattle exhaust the food supply and the nutrients in that area – and the cycle repeats. Native grasslands throughout North America have also been depleted from the trampling of grazing cattle.

So keeping cows penned in and grain-fed may be good for preserving our landscape while creating more marketable beef. But is there a way to accommodate grazing while encouraging plant growth? Zimbabwean farmer and biologist Allan Savory thinks so. He noticed that in the wild, grazing animals stay in tight groups to protect themselves from predators. They fertilize that small area with their dung, then move on to another small patch of plants, allowing the first patch time to regenerate and grow. By carefully emulating this pattern (rather than letting cattle disperse over a wide range), using a framework that Savory has dubbed “holistic management,” ranchers can actually promote the growth of native plants, leading to increased biodiversity and sustainability.


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

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BSE, or mad cow disease, is a degeneration of the brain caused by a pathogenic protein, or prion. The infected animal develops holes in its brain that cause problems with coordination, excessive aggression and, ultimately, death. Most researchers believe the disease originated because cattle – vegetarians by nature – were fed meat and bone meal as a protein supplement. The meal was derived from dead cattle and may have been contaminated at a slaughterhouse or processing plant with the prion that causes scrapie, a similar disease in sheep.

BSE has been linked to what’s known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob (vCJD) disease in humans, a terrifying neurological disorder that begins with dementia, memory loss, personality changes and hallucinations, progressing to loss of balance and coordination and ending, invariably, with death. After onset, patients typically have only months to live.

The practice of feeding an animal to a vegetarian is offensive enough to many people, but the fact that cattle were eating dead cattle meant that humans were essentially forcing them to be cannibals. A ten-year ban on beef exports from Britain, where occurrences of BSE and vCJD were most common, and regulation changes to cattle feed ensued after the outbreak in the mid-1990s. However, to this day, cattle are still given feed derived from the remains of animals – just not those of ruminants. Since vCJD can have a long incubation period of several years and possibly decades, whether this restriction is strict enough may yet have to be evaluated.


Breeding and Cloning

15041Cow Cloning

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the results of a risk-assessment study that concluded that cloned animals are just as safe for the food supply as normal animals. Supporters of cloning see it as nothing more than an extension of existing cattle husbandry practices, including selective breeding and artificial insemination. If you have an animal with very desirable traits – like disease resistance, high milk production, and the like – why wouldn’t you want genetically identical copies rather than roll the dice with typical sexual reproduction?

Opponents decry the practice as highly unnatural. When the very first cloning experiments were carried out in the 1980s, the results were unpredictable – disabled or severely ill freak cattle were not uncommon. Although cloning techniques have become more reliable, the risk of malformed offspring – not to mention the slippery-slope argument of applying cloning practices to humans – raises ethical questions. Moreover, having a massive population of genetically identical animals makes them – and those that depend upon them – extremely vulnerable to factors like disease that could wipe out the entire herd. It is, in essence, mono culturing taken to extremes. What bothers many opponents in particular is that cloned beef doesn’t have to be specially labelled, and the consequences of cloning and eating cloned beef may not become obvious for many years.


Climate Change


There’s no question that burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases, but some climate change experts say that we should direct at least as much of our attention to our livestock as culprits of climate change. Cattle, like all ruminants, belch out methane, a greenhouse gas that’s more than twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide. What’s more, in many parts of the world cattle ranching goes hand in hand with deforestation (see #4), the destruction of one of nature’s most efficient carbon sinks.

From a climate-change perspective, eating veal is actually a bit better than eating full-grown cattle, since the calves are not digesting cellulose and so produce less methane, but beef in general has twice the carbon footprint of an equivalent amount of pork. And eating cheese is just as bad as eating beef, according to Mike Berners-Lee’s How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything, since a huge volume of milk is needed to produce a small quantity of cheese. Berners-Lee suggests that to mitigate the climate impact of your cheese, you should go for soft cheeses, which are less milk-intensive than hard cheeses, and not to waste cheese if you’ve got it; mould on hard cheeses is no reason to discard the whole brick.

Of course, the most climate-friendly solution is to stop eating beef (and goat and lamb) altogether, but as the world’s developing economies grow, global meat consumption is probably just going to keep climbing.

  • jfreaker

    controversy on cattle should include those praising them as ‘gods’

    • Tea Pixie

      Why is that controversial? Worshiping a cow is no more or less ridiculous then believing a guy came back from the dead and saved humanity. Each to his own.

      • DanF

        yeah at least cows are real

    • Amrendra

      Yeah!!! It should be controversial to consider and worship cows as “gods” but its completely ok to mass produce corn and feed it to them going against nature and killing them in in factory style.

    • Skip

      It is not controversial to worship cows because it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or Christianity. If it did, it would be ridiculed as well.

      • HouseOfSiphonophore

        So true.

    • cowman

      our ozone layer will be so f****d if that ever stops

    • rajimus23

      I think number two is a good example of our need to control and subjugate lesser beings. yes a cloned cow has more marketable attributes but is it worth a genetic genocide? wouldn’t a massive bunch of cloned cowsbasically create a genetic bottleneck for the species? also if they still need to mate and all the bulls are clones of one bull and all the cows are clones of one cow wouldn’t all the calfs be siblings, causing the next gen of calfs to be have to fuck their brothers and sisters? wierd….

    • rajimus23

      also better to “worship” a cow than to chain it to a post and not let it drink its mothers milk. yes, our culture is so backwards with our 4000+ years of advanced engineering, architecture, mathematics and medicine. sala gorah jangli. please, go club some animal and crawl back to your cave.

    • Jim

      Controversy should also include the fact that the first picture was yanked from an Earthworm Jim videogame:

      lol . . . Editor in chief doesn’t even try anymore with his Google screen grabs.

  • ringtailroxy

    This is a very easy-reading list on a great topic! Might I also suggest these 3 other books? (I have not eaten the flesh of a cow in over 25 years, but I enjoy milk, ice cream, yogurt, and sweet, tart, sharp, aged, crumbly, hard, orange, yellow, or blue… CHEESE)

    1.) Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture

    2.) A Cow’s Life: The Surprising History of Cattle, and How the Black Angus Came to Be Home on the Range

    and, for a profound and amazing read that is well-researched, emotional, and completely entertaining for meat eater and non-flesh eater alike…

    3.) Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf: The Story of One Man, Two Cows, and the Feeding of a Nation

    I’m a CVT, and the ethical treatment and proper welfare of our food animals should never be disregarded in the pursuit of a cheaper cut of meat.


    • Arsnl

      “ethical treatment and proper welfare of our food animals should never be disregarded in the pursuit of a cheaper cut of meat”
      First of all. Ethics are not some universal accepted standards. They vary. What you said is like me saying “i am for making good art”.

      And tell that speech to poor people who may get tired after a week of ramen noodles or potatoes or whatever.

      • inconspicuousdetective

        first, i am a carnivore, i love beef and chicken and any other animal out there that you can eat really. but that does not mean that it has to live a torchered existance before i eat it. just because it’s out of sight shouldn’t mean it’s out of mind, as human beings it’s our job not to let something like that happen.

        • Arsnl

          Do you have any evidence that my cheap meat didnt come from a cow that was treated ok?
          What roxy said were a bunch of generalities. “Ethics”, “proper wellfare”, “cheap”. What do these words mean?
          And you are not giving me any reasons why beef should be more expensive.

          “i love beef and chicken ” this is not a discution of carnivores v vegetarians. It’s a discution of why should poor people pay more. I dont buy cheap beef cuz it tastes so good.

          “torchered existance”, “as human beings it’s our job not to let something like that happen.” No. It’s our job to assure the well being of our fellow humans. And again you have no proof that chicken and cows and pigs are living a horrible life now in Europe or the US. (im talking about your average law respecting farm)

          • gav

            I asked a bunch of cows if they were leading a tortured existence. They all said N0-0-0-0.

          • inconspicuousdetective

            no, i don’t have proof that it happened to the meat either you or i ate. but you know that it does indeed happen. “It’s our job to assure the well being of our fellow humans.” nobody said it wasn’t, but as humans, we have enough brains to survive and also not destroy everything around us. the human race is notorious for doing that, if you want me to give you some examples then look no further then the near extintion of several indigionous animals to the united states, such as wolves and buffalo (bison) who, only through extecsive efforts were able to be brought back to near stable conditions in the wild.

            i threw in that i eat meat to get the hypocrite thing out of the way, it’s not like i’m boycotting meat because i don’t think animals are treated fairly. and this is NOT a discution of meat prices, it’s a discution of how we treat these animals before they become meat, so to speak.

          • inconspicuousdetective

            a pretty cool coincidence, actually.

        • DanF

          we do all know how to spell discussion right? I thought you were all using some word I didn’t know…discution

          • Arsnl

            Oups. That one slipped under the radar. Thanks man. To my defense it’s spelled with a t in my mother language. To my shame it’s spelled discussion in french and english. But to my defense again in french the verb is discuter and in spanish the closest (though it means to argue) is discutir.
            If you ever see a repeated spelling error in my comments feel free to correct me.

          • DanF

            Arsnl, it was just strange that you both did it

          • DanF

            Also other than a previous comment you have made about been European I would have guessed English was your first language, i wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise

          • inconspicuousdetective

            and i’m the one that should be ashamed, english is my first language. :/

      • Bob

        Just because ethics aren’t universally accepted doesn’t mean you can’t make an objective moral statement about this. The least the cow suffers, the better. We can all agree on this. And if you think it’s better when the cow suffers more, the rest of us can agree you’re a bad person.

  • Magpie

    My family friends have a farm and once let me try milk straight from one of their cows, it was awful! Their cat loved it though :)

    • Really? For a while I bought raw milk exclusively – it definitely tasted better and was GREAT in baking. Everything was so much more fluffy for some reason.

      • Magpie

        Yeah, I found it really bitter :( Shame though its probably really beneficial and alot of the supermarket brands taste watered down so I always buy full cream milk, nice and thick n’ creamy. yum :)

        I would hate to think what milk from a cat would taste like ewwww :P

      • its0ver9000

        That wasn’t milk…

        • Magpie

          It definitely came from a cow, they don’t have any bulls on their farm :S And I don’t they’re the kind of people who’d try to extract THAT from any animal :P

          Maybe my tastebuds are dodgy :P Or maybe it got spooked before it was milked :)

    • DanF

      You should try the milk straight from your cat…delicious AND cows love it!

    • constabledubs

      My cousin runs a small dairy farm, and the raw milk is damn good.

  • David Hopkins

    I don’t eat lamb. I just can’t stand the thought of eating a baby animal. Lambs are so cute too.

    • Canadianguy

      I very rarely eat red meat -no more than once a month- because it’s high in cholesterol and saturated fats. With that said, I love venison, lamb, mutton, and bison. These are far superior meets to beef in my opinion, and I’ve had highly marbled Kobe and Hanu beef (melts in your mouth, but after a few bites it just tastes like tallow).

      • Matt C

        I rarely eat red meat either: I’m poor.

    • Drexil

      I don’t eat mutton either, but for me it’s the taste. That said, pigs are delicious!

  • carmivore

    this looks like a vegetarian-biased list

    • ringtailroxy

      If you bothered to read it, even just the intro, you’d find that your statement is 100% presumptuous. Cute name though.

      • carnivore

        I just wanted to get myself into the first 10 posts =)

        • Deanne

          Hi Billy,A good question, and one that ecrssos most guys minds when they are losing weight.From my experience I can say I think that it is mostly fat mass that you have lost from your arms. When I did my first and only bodybuilding contest I dropped from 186 lbs down to 172 and my arms dropped from 16.5 inches to 15.5 inches, so I have had a similar experience to yours.During this same diet, my lean mass only dropped by a little less than a pound, so I assume this was all fat.I’ve also checked with a number of my friends who have experienced the same thing You can take some really, really simplified math and apply it here.We know that the circumference of a circle can be calculated by the equation:Circumference =2(Pi)*Radius(I know that our arms more resemble an ellipse, but the circumference of an ellipse is a brutal equation to work with)Using this equation we can see that the radius (the distance from the bone in the middle of your arm through the muscle and fat to the skin) of your arm was 2.546 inches when it was 16 inches in circumference and is now 2.427 inces. This is only a difference of 0.12 inches or 3 mm.Given that you have lost an incredible 40 pounds during your weight loss program, I do not think it is unrealistic at all to think that you may have lost 3 mm worth of fat from the thickness of your arms.If I were you I’d chalk this up to another example of your great weight loss accomplishement!BPPS- To quote a bodybuilder friend of mine A ripped 17 inch arm will always be more impressive than a fat 19 inch arm! PPS- I’m in the middle of reading Mindless Eating , I’ll blog about it soon, but I’m impressed enough with it already to suggest you pick it up and give it a read, I think you’ll like it.BP

    • Bull

      Now I want a hamburger!

      • gav

        try a Big Kahuna burger. It’s a tasty burger.

  • OmegaMan

    Iva Cheung, I think I should congratulate you on reading “Cow: A Bovine Biography by Florian Werner”, because I am an avid reader myself and I read daily but nothing in the world can make me read something titled “Cow: A Bovine Biography”.

    I guess it might be the subject of your interest or profession or both (yeah, most people can’t really do what they like and vice versa). No offense but it seems a bit funny to me.

    And oh, quiet a good list. I didn’t knew some of these facts. So, thank you. :)

    • ringtailroxy

      I guess to each their own… I have read several books on slaughter, animal welfare, and all manner of species… then again, my entire life has been immersed in animals, and my professional career revolves around them (albeit I only work with domestic companion animals and exotic pets, not livestock)

      It’s better than reading “Snooki: Confessions of a Guidette”


      • OmegaMan

        I am glad that you stopped reading Snooki..

        • ringtailroxy

          Sorry, OMG, I never read fiction… and I really would never read ay celebrity book… well, maybe an autobiography, if it was a pivotal public figure…

          • OmegaMan

            Which part of my first comment “no offense but it seems a bit funny to “me” ” you didn’t get?

  • Slumpy Joe

    So, why can the autistic girl see like a cow? Now I’m confused.

    • ringtailroxy

      Please, read any one of Grandin’s books. Autistic people see the world and react differently… and she sees the world as an animal does. She also is a veterinary genius and a renowned animal behaviorist. I have heard her lecture and she is a charming, gentle individual with many adorable quirks.

      She, quite literally, revolutionized the way & manner our cattle care facilities function & treat the animals.

      I am currently enjoying her book(via Kindle), “Animals in Translation” and it’s amazing, reads easy, and has so many insights in one paragraph that I find myself re-reading the same sentence several times, nodding my head in agreement, for concepts so clear and precise when Temple states them, that I wonder why I hadn’t thought of them on my own before!


      • Arsnl

        “she sees the world as an animal does”
        Do you have any you *scientific proof* of what you just stated. Cuz if it is, it would make for a killer sideshow act.
        Omg. I can see the world just as a green unicorn. Mooooo! Mooooo! Grass!

      • wrake

        “Her autism, which allows her to see the world through the eyes of cows and other animals”

        I must admit, I laughed, laughed and then face palmed…..

      • Bob

        That would make a lot more sense if we actually know for certain how a cow experiences the world. All I can say is, if she really experiences the world like a cow, she’d be eating grass, and she wouldn’t know she’s a person.

  • Nice list.

  • DanF

    “Her autism, which allows her to see the world through the eyes of cows and other animals”

    wow… have such a good understanding of autism….its doesn’t make get Dr Doolittle!

    • Drake

      You obviously don’t know the woman of which they speak. If you did you would know that such a statement is true. Do your research.

      But on the list, very good read. easy and informative. I myself only eat beef from local ranchers. I may suggest a few things on the list to them though.

      • DanF

        maybe she can see things from a de-humanised perspective but not through the eyes of a cow.

        • Drake

          Once again, do research. Learn something. Seeing through the eyes of animals is not that uncommon in those with slightly different brain make up, such as those with Autism or even those with higher creative skills.
          She see things in the ways animals do, instinctual and the like. She can also design and build entire systems in her head, and test them.
          The human brain is infinitely complex and mysterious, what it can do is only limited by your own perceptions.

          • DanF

            How does anyone know what it is like to ‘see through the eyes’ of anything other than themselves? I could tell you i can imagine what it is like to be a dandilion and you couldn’t argue.

            ‘Learn something’….just because i dont want to read her book doesn’t make me ignorant as you seem to imply. Oh and after a quick google search before you posted that last comment I can’t see her claiming to see through the eyes of animals anyway.

            You seem to get very easily wound up…try Tai Chi, it might calm you down.

          • Arsnl

            @Dan dude frankly it’s your fault you’re having this convo. Some people are just slow. And they should be treated as such.

            @Drake. Yes man. You are right. Autism makes people see the world through the animals eyes. Now im waiting to see some autistic people sh’it in their hands and throw it like crazy.
            “The human brain is infinitely complex and mysterious, what it can do is only limited by your own perceptions” my infinitely complex brain tells me you’re a hipster.

            “Seeing through the eyes of animals”
            Dude claiming to be capable of doing things isn’t the same as doing it. For the love of god there is no such thing as seeing the world that way. I, am a human being just like you, yet i find it unbelievable someone can make such stupid comments. So since i cannot understand you, a fellow human being, i doubt someone can see the world as an animal.
            Animal neurological connections are different. Their brains are freakin different.
            Your comment makes me so sad.
            Why dont you show us some peer reviewed scientific jurnals that can attest to the fact that she can do what people say she can.

          • mordechaimordechai

            Tai chi… lol

          • VintageObsessive

            The way the statement reads is what’s so funny. It should say something like, “Her autism allowed her to connect with animals on a deeper level than most people” or “Her autism helped her relate to the plith of the animals she spent time with.”

            Then again, that’s just my opinion.

          • Bob

            First of all, we can’t know for certain how a cow experiences the world. There are only some statements we can make with certainty about their experience. So it would be impossible to know if you’re experiencing the world as an animal would. Secondly, the human brain is not “infinitely complex”, that’s just a rediculous statement. And I think we can all agree that cows can not create and test “systems” (What kind of systems are you talking about anyway?) in their mind.

            And what you’re brain can do is not “only limited by your own perceptions”. It’s limited by biology and evolution. This is like saying we only use 10% of our brain, which is also untrue. And even the most creative person in the world couldn’t see the world through an animals eyes, because what we can imagine is limited by our experience, and nobody has ever experienced life as a cow, so nobody could know for certain what it’d be like.

            Judging by what we do know about cows, if you were to experience life as one, you’d be eating grass, you’d have very limited basic emotions, you would not be self aware, you would not have a consciousness, and you would be unaware of the fact that you’re going to die at some point.

  • Herr Hallmackenreuther

    Florian Werner also wrote another very interesting book called

    “Dark Matter: A Short History of Shit” :)

    • Herr Hallmackenreuther

      well, google it. ;)

      • DanF


    • DanF

      I am very interested as to what is under those asterisks

    • Eumesmopo

      The way Listverse keeps blocking more and more words, soon our vocabulary will be some sort of “Newspeak”.

      Frater, seriously, stop with this bullshit.

  • Metalwrath

    “Causing minimal suffering is one of the aims of such ritual slaughter, but it’s not always done right”.

    Sure, back in the day, ritual slaughter in Islam and Judaism was an aim to cause minimal suffering (with the bad-taste bonus of having the animal face the Mecca…), but nowadays, it’s surely the most inhumane slaughter method.

    All modern techniques are preferable. A typical way to reduce suffering is by using a compressed air gun aimed at the animal’s head, so that it’s basically unconscious when it’s throat is cut. In the Muslim and Jewish slaughter methods, the animal is fully aware when its throat is cut, and it agonizes for several minutes before losing all it’s blood, screaming, drowning in it’s blood, and kicking it’s legs.

    Ritual slaughter should be banned in all Western countries, but unfortunately Muslim demands are too aggressive, and our leaders lack a backbone.

  • Jamie

    They use a calfs Stomach in the process of making cheese? …


    • DanF

      I think it means that when a Cow has a calf there is something in the lining that is used to help churn, but i presume it comes out naturally with the milk.

      • mordechaimordechai

        yes it is called rennet and is an acid substance that comes from the upper digestive system of a cow. but in industrial cheese they just use an artificial surrogate

    • Aline

      Not so far fetched. Cows pelyad a roll in my flying experience. Returning to north Jersey from central New York one early autumn evening, I was monitoring the tower frequency of the destination airport. All was quiet save for the controller cautioning one pilot in the landing pattern. He was trying to tell the pilot about geese on the approach end of the landing runway, but was having difficulty remembering the word to describe a group of birds. He finally blurted out, beware of a herd of birds. I keyed the mic and commented that it sounded less threatening than a flock of cows.

  • DanF

    I remember watching a documentary about an African Tribe years ago but one scene always stuck with me in an uncomfortable way.

    They were castrating the cattle they did not want to breed and all they did was slice open the scrotum and tear the testicles out (it required quite a strong tug). The noise the cattle were making was horrible. It made me cringe watching it and whenever i think about it I still want to cover my nether regions.

    • Metalwrath

      Yeah, I saw a video of a bull being castrated with a bolt cutter, and he was yelling like hell. Shocking.

      • DanF

        ouch…again had to cross my legs when I read that

        • fendabenda

          The old-time reindeer herders in Lapland used to castrate reindeer by biting the testicles off. Then they put tar in there so the wound wouldn’t get infected.

  • mordechaimordechai

    Now! kosher/halal slaughtering methods have nothing to do with pain. A rabbi and an imam will surely tell you that the slitting of the throat is done tohave a clean, quick painless kill but, i’m afraid, it just isn’t so.

    The only purpouse of their way is the draining of the blood.

    See, every kosher/halalis in fact a ritual. It is a sacrifice and the blood is the gift for the divine. The meaning the blood, its spiritual meaning, is obvious in almost every culture. Also for christians. Just thing about the gospel and how it relates to the blood of the Saviour. My mother remembers my grandpa slaughtering beasts at home slitting their throats, collecting the blood in a pan and drawing a cross in the blood as it started to thick. That was a sacrifice ritual and a common chore at once. But then, with time and culture, christians decided to do rituals in churches and thelikes and to do butchering in the slaughter house, and not to mix the two. Although occasionally slaughter may occur in churches as well (church of Iraq, please forgive my pun).

    The utilitarian aspect and the spiritual are as one in those traditional slaughtering.

    But, hey, that is fine since we have religious freedom, don’t we?

    What i don’t understand is why, in these days, we have laws to protect and support as humane and clean a thing that is painful to the animal (d’you really think that slitting the throat is painless???) and just plain CAVEMAN backwards.

    I heard Pat Condell saying that all cattle butchered in England is dispatched by slitting, don’t know if that is true. Anyways i think they should do with their cattle as they like as long as i am able to choose what meat i am buying.

    • Metalwrath

      The problem is that, at least in Europe, ritual slaughter produces and excess of meat, so that excess inhumane slaughter meat is sent over to the “mainstream” market and not labeled as halal/kosher (it’s mostly halal).

      I try not to buy halal or kosher meat, but I never know if I am, since “normal” meat could be unlabeled halal. Also, buying halal is financing a religious cult, since an Imam is paid to bless the slaughter.

      Halal and kosher should be illegal in civilized countries.

      • Arsnl

        Well let’s ban circumcision too.
        “a religious cult”
        Wow. Great job. Exactly the french way. Let’s offend other people and see how well it works out. That’s why things are so well in your banlieues.
        Calling that a cult would mean calling every religion a cult.

        “should be illegal in civilized countries.” dude. You are such a hypocrite. France’s last guillotined person was in 1977. Was France not civilized in 1977? What if i want to guillotine my chicken? Is that civilized? You take the highroad but the only thing you manage doing is looking like a dou’che. I find hardly any difference between hunting, where the animal is hara*ssed and shot. And i still don’t get why a hollow point bullet is way better that getting the neck cut.

        • DanF

          I actually think circumcision should be illegal until the person can choose or not, but thats just because I am English and we only get cut over here if it is for a medical reason.

          My opinion on hunting is that at least the animal has lived free its whole life and not been in a little cage and bred just to be eaten, although I am against hunting for sport.

        • Bob

          How is he a hypocrite? Did he support the french guillotining people? No. So what the hell kind of straw man argument against him is that? And hunting is usually done to control the numbers of certain species, so they don’t die of starvation. Which would be a far worse death than being shot by a skilled hunter.

    • ringtailroxy

      not for the faint of heart. Slaughter should not be about inflicting pain or extreme stress and harm…

  • Woodchuck Chuck


    • gav


    • Esteban

      I am a huge animal lover but have never been able to have pets beucase my sister is allergic to so many things. For the last 2 years, I have been watching the Animal Planet and have become extremely passionate about working on a wildlife reserve in Africa to save the big cats. A good friend of mine is an accountant and just began working for Habitat for Humanity and travels all over the world making sure funds are being dispersed properly for the animals.. I am an attorney and I have been researching this program, love the idea of doing the same thing only I’d like to have more hands on work with the animals, caring for orphans, nursing sick animals back to health, teaching the children and people in the local villages about not poaching & respecting the animals, do any legal work necessary for the organization including raising funds for the preservation of these animal reserves. I have always loved animals and animals have always been drawn to me. I feel this line of work is my destiny and I have a strong calling that I simply can’t resist. In the meantime, I would love to donate time working for the Humane Society in Manhattan but I don’t think there is a facility near where I live. I’m sure there are many people who have worked in shelters and have a huge amount of experience making a better life for all animals. I don’t have that experience but I have already made the decision to do as described above and I plan on doing that for the rest of my life. Without these beautiful animals, which are dying off so fast that in a generation or so, the only lions and tigers alive on this planet will be those in zoos, this world would be such a sad place. That’s absolutely horrible and I will do anything I can to make sure that wild animals can survive and thrive being free.

  • Will Trame

    No mention of cattle mutilations? Well, perhaps that would fit in more appropriately on a list of inexplicable esoteric phenomena. This list was an interesting one BTW.

    • gav

      The aliens mutilate cattle very humanely.

  • Pukimak

    My cousin has a cattle rearing business and exports the meat to Muslim countries seeking halal certified products. One day he took me to the slaughterhouse and showed me how it’s done. After 10 mins of what felt like a scene from Saw, his workers brought out another cow and handed me the machete. “Go ahead, man. Give it a try,” my cousin said to me.

    Reluctantly, I grabbed the machete, kneeled down and positioned the blade at the throat of the beast. As I was about to swing my arms like Nadal hitting a forehand, the cow just lay there motionless and looked at me as a tear dropped from the corners of its eye. It knew its fate and wanted to see the face of its killer, hoping for a last respite of compassion from me.

    So what did I do? I got up and slashed the throats of my cousin and his two workers. I then proceeded to release all the cows to their moo freedom and massacred all 12 remaining workers in the compound.

    The moral of the story?

    Meat is murder.

    Go vegan.

    • mordechaimordechai

      proof that loving animals is a lame excuse to hating humans…

    • Well, my uncle was a farmer. He always needed lots of help during harvest and during planting.

      One year I offered to help drive the combines, pull the plows, the seeders, or spray the fertilizers and pesticides. Whatever was needed at the time.. I got into a conversation with him about what is was like to be a farmer. He told me it was really tough with all the pressures of long hours, hard work, and no real guarantee it will pay off at the end. Either the market prices or mother nature could destroy the value of the crops at any time and he would be ruined financially. He was already 100’s of thousands in debt from all the equipment he had to buy and maintain and the bank would not give any more loans or extensions on the loans he already had..

      He then started showing me really old black and white pictures of the land before it was a farm. He talked about his grandfather and how long it took to cut down all the trees and burn out all the stumps. I could see in the photos there used to be a creek running through the property, but was long dried up now. He told me that there used to be a lot of deer and pheasant along with other wildlife, but they all died out too..

      I got to thinking about how beautiful it used to be before and how bad it was now and all the hard work that went into making it look like this. So I had an idea… I planted my uncle and the rest of his crew. Then ran them over with the combine…

    • Bob

      Except that cows don’t know what compassion is, and they don’t understand that they will die at some point. If you held a cow a gunpoint, do you honestly believe he’d know what’s going to happen? Cause he doesn’t. Also cows don’t cry when their sad, you idiot. You’re mistake is assigning human emotions to an animal that simply doesn’t have them.

      Cows don’t “know their fate”.

  • Sgt. York

    “Her autism, which allows her to see the world through the eyes of cows and other animals, informs her many innovations that make an animal’s final moments as calm and peaceful as possible. ”


  • Bastard McGee

    What the-

    A list about cattle!? I cannot

    fathom how a website like this would publish such an utterly boring piece of text. I refuse to believe it. Kudos to anyone who read past the first few sentences.

    • DanF

      But it has the word ‘controversies’ in the title!

    • Metalwrath

      It’s about controversies.

      If you’re not interested in contemporary debates it’s your loss. This was an interesting list.

  • The Cat

    If any of you are open minded enough and want to truly know what goes on behind the scenes I suggest you watch the film ‘earthlings.

    There is no such thing as ‘humane’ slaughter . . .

    It is the most disturbing documentary I have ever seen. It opened my eyes to the realities of this world and left an undeniable mark upon my soul. Earthlings is an expose of the many atrocities man commits against non-human animals. It is a highly important and informative film, that is fuelled by horrific undercover footage captured through the eye of an unflinching camera lens. Its message and the images I have seen will stay with me forever. Expect to be utterly overwhelmed by this film.

    • DanF

      Is it religious?

      Its just normally i look at stuff like this and it is some kind of cult or has a very strong underlying religious motivation. I can’t watch it at work but will look when i get home if not.

      • The Cat

        Certainly not religious Dan. It’s the truth nothing more, nothing less.

        It makes for uncomfortable viewing but as actress Gretchen Wyler put “We must not refuse to see with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies.”

    • Mantou

      Thanks for posting about Earthlings. It’s an excellent documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. You can view it for free right on their website. Also, I’m surprised that there is no mention of the leather industry in this list. Watch through to the end of the documentary to see where many of our leather products come from.

    • JWynter

      I watched this and then went to the supermarket and bought a large steak and ate it. Call me heartless but that movie really doesn’t faze me.

      • Thatguy

        JWynter – Thanks for sharing!

  • Edmundo Lee

    “Her autism, which allows her to see the world through the eyes of cows and other animals, informs her many innovations that make an animal’s final moments as calm and peaceful as possible.” Seriously, what does autism have to do with seeing the word through the eyes of an animal? Again… SERIOUSLY?

    • Arsnl

      Autistic and black people can see the world through an animal’s eyes. And drunk antisemites can see it through a woman’s eyes. Why is it so hard to believe?

    • Cata

      The funniest part is the assumption of how animals see the world. How the fuck can anyone know that?

  • CNtSpell-wNtspeLl

    Convoluted, pseudo intellectual garbage. The introduction in itself is an insult to anyone with a doctorate in bovine management and a firm grasp of the scientific methodology, governing how we perpetuate our existence as a predominately carnivorous race.
    I hold our vegetarian and vegan bretheren responsible for the incredulous, self righteousness that is now a blight upon our society, drawing focus away from matters which are far more pertinent than the consuming of beef and other meat based produce.
    Now, please excuse me whilst I tuck into a raw dolphin steak with a side order of onion rings, fries and complimented by a trio of sauces including, but not limited to – gravy.

    • The Cat

      Watch this film and then tell me how you give a damm.

      • CNtSpell-wNtspeLl

        I have no reason to waste my time, I will just skip to the conclusion. That being – I don’t give a damn.

        • The Cat

          There is much anger and hatred within you.

          One day you will see the error of your ways . . .

        • Arsnl

          One day you will see the error of your ways dude…How can you leave out mustard? And red wine to wash it down.

    • Rob

      You’re a complete hypocrite.

    • Bob

      CntSpell-wNtspeLI, I understand where you’re coming from. And it is perfectly natural for humans to eat meat, but that is not to say we shouldn’t minimize the suffering of the animals we eat. I will grant you that we shouldn’t be using resources that could otherwise be used to save human lives, but it’s a matter that deserves our attention nonetheless.

  • Jamie

    Did you know, that termites produce more methane than any other animal in the world.

    Irrelevant but who cares, Little fact for you there! ;)

  • vanowensbody

    Great list.

    I live in a very cow-heavy area, lots of dairy production. One of the other drawbacks of cows is they destroy streams. Cows trample and eventually destroy the natural embankments of streams and thus natural grasses and vegetation that usually grows along side of the banks of streams. This alters the ecology of the stream (not to mention the cows crap in the water).

  • kunal raina

    Great list… I would also like to draw your attention towards india, where cows are an eternal part of life… Espesialy towards your point 8.
    If the big business conglomerates stop thinking that cattle are objects then a lot of humane ways can be found out for them…
    See, beef is banned in india and still it is one of the largest producers of milk… So u can imagine a lot of veal could have been exported, but it is not the case… You know one can always find a way…

  • Surya

    And what the hell on earth is killing with compassion?

    • Rob

      Weak justification.

  • The biggest controversy, in my opinion, is whether to eat my cow medium rare as is, or use a dab of A1 on it.

  • rob

    How can Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy not be number 1?

  • Skip

    It’s not controversial to worship cows because it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or Christianity. If it did, it would be ridiculed as well.

  • disgruntled reader

    I used to be a very avid reader of this website. But lately I’ve been very disappointed. I mean what is up with this list? And 10 people who did NOT board the Titanic? Seriously? Ridiculous. If you don’t step up your game soon then you have just lost a very loyal reader, this stuff just does not appeal to the younger generation. I’m 20 and I just don’t find anything on this site very interesting anymore. So please, start making this site a little bit more interesting.

    • DanF

      JFrater said he has around 1000 lists to publish at the moment. There must be a whole lot of shite in there, would love to see some of the stuff that gets rejected. Top 10 numbers maybe.

  • Cata

    I had a burger last night, it was delicious. Mooooo

    • Cow


  • VintageObsessive

    When I read the title of today’s list I thought surely the controversy several years back with Oprah and cattle/dairy farmers would make it on. As I recall, Oprah had some guest on her show to discuss MAD Cow Disease. (Which people were FREAKING out over just like they did Swine Flu.) Oprah commented on the show “the whole MAD Cow thing had stopped me COLD from eating another burger!” Of course both the studio audience and at home viewers took that as gospel because, well, because OPRAH said it. Supposedly the sale of cattle dropped drastically after the show aired and alot of America’s cattle farmers blamed Oprah, even bringing a lawsuit against her.

    Also, though not relevant to the above paragraph, I LOVE Organic Milk! It tastes far better, keeps for twice as long as regular dairy.

    • the price didn’t drop markedly, but there was a noticeable decline and NCBA did sue oprah (oprah won). the whole thing was really stupid.

  • Cathy

    Vegetarian rennet is now used to make cheese.

  • BSE is probably the biggest controversy surrounding cattle. vCJD is the most damaging and terrifying disease i’ve seen. if it ever comes stateside, the industry will implode.

  • mom424

    Excellent list. Treat ’em nice, keep ’em calm, right up until you throw that bolt quickly through their brain. I’ve read articles about humane treatment of livestock – pigs especially. Did you know if you stress them before slaughter the meat gets all gooey and disgusting? In turn making your return on investment pitiful.

    Temple Grandin is one cool chick – I would like to meet her – compassion and medium rare Porter House are NOT mutually exclusive. mmm, mmm.

    ps: about the elastic thing – ask Mike Rowe all about it. Quick snick and those suckers are rolling around in a bucket and the little animals are cavorting in 10 minutes. Do the elastic band thing and they’re days before they recover – if ever. Pain that lasts a second is not memorable – pain that lasts days is. This is a long video all about actual work….worth the time invested.


    • Arsnl

      Well I come from a region of Europe where pigs are killed by cutting the throat. Not cause of some religious treatment, just cause it was a traditional method and now it’s cheaper than using guns or electrocution (i mean small farmers like my grandpas). And i kind of think it’s stressful to chase after that pig in its den(?), and corner it, afterwards cut its throat and waiting for it to die (and to take of those little hairs you’d blow toarch it). But lemme tell you that meat is really reheheally good. Even the skin. Like there’s some kind of treatmentwith salt that makes the skin kinda chewy and boy as a kid i love that thing.

      • mom424

        Too much stress causes the release of adrenalin which has a byproduct of some enzyme or another that spoils the meat…. it’s panic that does it. I don’t mean having music and coddling your animals, just not inciting fear. Good farmers, whether they use traditional methods or no, always treat their livestock well – it’s their livelihood. Also it makes it easier; no good if the animals scatter every time you enter the barn/pasture. I’ll find you the article by Miss Grandin…I read her whole web page. It is sooo fascinating.

        PS; Pork rinds are awesome. And whole spit roasted Pig? to die for. mmm.

        • Arsnl

          Well if you see any 2-3 month(and even younger im not great with pig development) old pigs that wont scatter when you enter their barn, I’ll give you a prize. Also pig bigs (several tens of kilos) tend to be quite stubborn. So getting one to move to the slaughter area might be daunting.
          I gave a quick look at the website. It kinda seems meant for pros. Not like farmers who have pigs or cows just for personal consumption and needs.

    • The Cat

      What is your definition of humane?

      Can you humanely murder?

      Can you humanely rape?

      Can you humanely molest a child?

      • DanF

        characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed: humane treatment of horses.
        of or pertaining to humanistic studies.

      • mordechaimordechai

        I understand and tolerate vegetarians but let’s not mess with semantics.

        Murder is killing a human with MALICE. killing an animal is a different ball game.

        On many occasion even killing a human is not considerate murder.

        Besides let me tackle that “humane rape” sentence. There is a wide variety of acts in which a person is brought to have seks with someone unwillingly. I can thing of prostitution, where the prostitute doesn’t really want to have sex with his client; also marriage pops to my head…

        • mom424

          I tolerate ’em too – until they open their mouths. Misguided, foolish, self-righteous, pasty-faced do gooders. PETA can go suck marrow.

          • The Cat

            How am I misguided? How am I foolish? How am I self-righteous? How am I pasty-faced? Do you want to back any of those comments up?

            Or are they nothing more than ignorant, sterotypical comments?

            All we try to do is open the eyes of those who are blind to what they do. I was once blind until someone someone took my blinkers off and showed me the truth.

            I fight for all the animals of this planet including the human ones. I am peace and I am love.

          • The Cat

            Mom – I expect your answer to be no but I must at least try.

            Give the film ‘Earthlings’ a watch and lets have a proper adult conversation about what is really going on.


          • mom424

            I’ve seen enough to know that I don’t believe in mega-farm either. There is much abuse done at that level; those giant factory farms. As I said, treat them humanely right up until we throw that bolt – as was done for millenia. Never heard of 4-H? Proper animal husbandry? How about you read this – the whole thing and then we’ll talk.
            Animals are NOT people. Sometimes they are food though.

            PS: the most vehement vegans I know are exactly as I described. and PETA can still go suck marrow. In fact I might just have to go get me a baby harp seal coat – too bad those critters don’t look like wart hogs – we’d all still be wearing fur.

          • mom424

            Also who’s the one equating child molestation and rape with meat consumption? You’ve proved the whole self-righteous, misguided, foolish thing right there, with that comment.

          • The Cat

            I was not equating rape and child molestation with eating meat. If you werent so eager to prove that the people who are trying to protect the lives of the innocent are the bad guys you would have seen that.

            I was making the point that there is n0 such thing as HUMANE murder, rape or molestation.

          • The Cat

            In reality how many vegans do you ACTUALLY know? Think about it . . .

          • mom424

            Like I said; misguided. Animals cannot be innocent, that would require knowledge of guilt. Another ruse perpetrated by the anti-meat/fur folks; attributing human characteristics to animals. Feed animals, bred for stupidity since forever, at that. 9_9

            btw – you can humanely kill dinner. Did you read the web page, Miss Grandin’s page? She’ll teach you exactly how to do it.

          • Maggot

            I’ve heard that cat tastes like chicken.

          • Bob

            Eating meat is natural. That’s what it boils down to. It’s the most natural thing in the world, and there’s literally nothing anybody can say to convince me otherwise, because it’s simple fact of life. Why don’t you go yell at a lion for eating a gazelle, or go get mad at a komodo dragon for the inhumane way it kills it’s prey.

  • gav

    Did we just do it or chits and wiggles or did we start pasteurizing milk for a good reason?

    Maybe you can’t always tell a cow is diseased before you play with its teets and drink a healthy glass of diseased-cow milk.

    • mom424

      People used to get sick – often. From unpasteurized milk. Milk is bacteria food. Perfect bacteria food. Also with the advent of the co-op thing, one bad apple could spoil the bunch. That’s why it’s illegal in most western countries to sell unpasteurized milk. That and the fact that co-op requires everyone to participate in order to work.

  • Mira Bel

    Great list and original by far! I never knew there was so much controversy surrounding cows!



    • dbones

      Do you not know how to deactivate your Caps Lock key?

      The news anchor warns you about disturbing footage right in the preamble of the friggin’ video!

      • VintageObsessive

        I love that you used the word “preamble” in your post!

    • Bob

      How about next time you click the pause button when a news anchor warns you there’s going to be disturbing footage?

    • Ike

      I find your use of caps lock extremely offensive. Next time warn people of it.

  • Matt C

    I expected to see the “badgers transmit TB to cattle” controversy here

  • john x

    i dont think i can find amore politically charged list on listverse.

    this website has turned to fucking shit. nothing interesting anymore

  • Planet Earth

    Here’s some food for though . Why not mention Monsanto they control what the cows eat . This corporation is trying to own all you’re food .
    There a new bill that just got pass in the U.S (S-510) it is now illegal save SEED ‘s from nature . This is crazy there trying to own nature .

  • Freddie B

    Look up a video call Earthlings, It is about the way we treat all animals that we consume, very disturbing stuff

    • DanF

      I watched that tonight on the cats recommendation…pretty depressing stuff, the particular lows for me were the indian(?) garbage men who threw the stray dog in the crusher and the Chinese fur tradesmen skinning animals alive and them looking up at the camera with no skin. I like to think that the cruelty in slaughter houses is the exception rather than the rule.

  • cowman

    cant remember the last time i had a meal without meat in it

  • David

    What about the controversy involving those evil cows openly calling and advertising for gallinicide?

  • Fuck you

    Her autism let’s her see life through the eyes of a cow?

    Are you sure you don’t have autism?

  • asdfadsfp;aj;

    This is great! I haven’t seen a list by that cunt Ryan Thomas for a while now! Thanks listverse for listening.

  • thylacine

    Anyone who eats veal over full grown cattle because of the fear of climate change is an absolute fuckwit. Don’t panic, everything will be alright. You’ve just fallen for the medias love of apocolyptic news.

    Here in Australia there is a large advertising push by the Save the Koala foundation. They are telling us to stop deforestation because of climate change which will help maintain habitats for Koalas. I think it is sad that instead of protecting koala rich forests because they are beautiful creatures they are using scare tactics of something that may or may not be a real risk to the Earth. Lets live in the real world before we worry about future possibilities (that no one alive is the least bit certain of).

  • WTF?? No witty comments from Segeus? Wow.

    • Funny, I noticed that as well. So peaceful with them!

      • I agree she’s a nutball but at least she knows how to type what she means. Do you mean “peaceful without them.”?

  • Maggot

    This was a surprisingly interesting list. With regard to item 7 hormones – “The major concern is that humans can absorb these hormones when they eat beef or consume dairy products, potentially leading to health problems such as cancer.” – this came up in a list several months ago and I regret to admit that I was rather clueless about this subject until reading about it there. Since then, I’ve been more observant as to the milk we buy, and I’ve noticed that most of the milk sold, well at least from what I’ve seen in the grocery stores where we shop, is marked with a statement proclaiming that it is “rBGH free”. Almost seems like it would be difficult to find milk that is not rBGH free, if I were so inclined. But, because of Listverse, I always check for this now.

    I did get a chuckle out of the statement I item 3: “the fact that cattle were eating dead cattle meant that humans were essentially forcing them to be cannibals.” Lol, as if they know…

  • kmb

    Interesting point: a hungry and aggressive cow is not above chasing down a rabbit and tearing it to pieces. Horses and sheep have also been observed hunting and killing small animals.

    • dave

      rofl are u serious…? I know they can be aggressive and chase people and other animals away and certainly kill them…but eat them ??

      • Bob

        He didn’t say they ate them, he said they ripped them to pieces.

        • skywatcher

          COW: I know you got carrots stashed away, bunny. Hand ’em over!

          Bunny: But, Mr. Cow sir, I don’t have hands.


          COW: Smart-ass furckiin’ rabbit!

  • jer-bear


  • dave

    Wxcwllwnt article, very informative…:) I really hope that we as race start to address the issues in this article… It does seem that most of Europe seems to be doing better then the USA in this respect.. Tighter restrictions on animal conditions and slughtering would be agood start, as would a reduction in production of certain foodz stuffs and turning to alternate items.. It can be done , and I think we should make the changes and stick to them..sure beef prices may go up, but thats ok with me.. Beef for most people I know is sunday meal meat, not adaily meat… I say cut down on cattle and beef consumption, good for us…. good for them and good for the planet.. And cut down on dairy as well..
    The human digestive system isn’t desgined to digest dairy products….we have been around a lot longer than cattle have been domesticated… thats why there are so many people with dairy alergies… Our ancestors may not have known better… they can’t and couldnt help that.. WE DO – make the changes for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier planet today!.

  • Murari lal |Vishwakarma

    All stories are nice !

  • Matt

    The whole climate change issue with cows is not their methane output (it’s really exaggerated) it’s the carbon footprint of deforestation to support cattle and consumption of grass that’s the real damaging one. I only mention it because the methane arguement generally gets kind of laughed at and pointed to by climate change deniers. just sayin’

  • Kennoth

    For such a mundane topic as cattle, I’m quite impressed. Nicely written, and makes you think/debate. Well done.

  • what

    i know this is going to be way down on the comments list, but my friend’s mom had kreutzfeld jakobs (its like the mad cow disease equivalent for humans, nothing to do with cows having mad cow diesease). She was one of the only 20 or 200 something people who had it in the US, it was terrible though. She slowly degenerated and withered away, so sad.

  • markmiles

    There are two big cities (Vienna, which is well known, and Graz, which isn’t known at all by foreigners). Also the two smaller but more touristy cities of Salzburg and Innsbruck.

  • coolgirl

    i love meat! I just dont like how they kill animals. :(

  • Non Newtonian Fluids
  • With regards to killing cattle, the “kosher” or “halal” method is indeed unnecessarily cruel. I’ve seen videos of the process, the cow takes a long time to die. It would be better to just decapitate the cow, although stunning it is probably less messy. Bottom line, it’s a cow, and it’s going to die to end up on your dinner plate. With regards to methane production, remember that the plains of North America were FULL of bison, today there are nowhere near as many cattle running around. If cow farts were really an issue, global warming would have wiped us out centuries ago.

  • Jeferson

    First of all, eating beef is a bad idea. It smiply isn’t healthy for humans. That being said, there has been just as much mad cow disease diagnosed in US beef as in Canadian. And once the EtOH production gets further underway for fuel, US beef prices will skyrocket as corn prices soar. (Researchers are still working on use of alternatives to corn.) We will need Canadian beef, Mexican beef, Venezuelan beef, and Brazilian beef if McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Burger King are to remain in business, and so folks can still put their gas grills to use.

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  • KXG

    You know, in all of these except for #7 and #5 all I’m reading is “BAWWWWWWWWW!!!” from folks who read too many PETA pamphlets and buy organic produce at Trader Joes. Look up “The Food Chain” on your iPads between your organic chai lattes and see that in the wild predators often slaughter prey in ways that mostly involve suffocation, strangulation, drowning or disembowelment and eating them alive. These are dumb animals, they’re BRED to be stupid and be eaten, deal with it or go live in a dirt shack and wear hemp whilst you maim and rip apart perfectly innocent living plants for sustenance. Studies have shown that plants can react to being harmed and attacked too you know. Humans are animals, and animals eat other animals, that’s just how life works, sorry to all the soy addicted people with their pronoid eating disorders. So stop taking your information second and third hand from people who have never stepped their delicate non-leather clad foot ON a cattle ranch, much less know from centuries of breeding and experience how to best deal with the matters of raising tasty animals to fillet and grill.