Today is “Cow Appreciation Day”. The days origin story is that of a marketing campaign for a restaurant who sells chicken.

Wamp. Wamp. Wammmmmp. So, a fake day that basically doesn’t exist. Whatever.

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

We are posting about it anyway because we think “Cow Appreciation Day” should absolutely exist. Cows deserve a day. They have given mankind so much that when you start thinking about it, it’s overwhelming. Milk, beef, labor, leather and fertilizer, to name a few.

We in dairy are very aware of how awesome cows are. We obsess over our cows, their happiness and their health. Our world revolves around them. BUT, did you know that on top of all of the important things cows have given us, now they have become the latest wellness trend for humans? Over here on the dairy side of cow world, WE have always known their calming affect (well, and sometimes the opposite, lets be honest). In fact, it was a farmer in Holland who first formally recognized the calming affect his cows had and “koe knuffelen” or “Cow Hugging” has become a popular way to both benefit from the calming affect of hugging cows and re connect people to the country.

In an article by Phycology today “Additionally, the slow, deliberate movements and peaceful demeanor of cows encourage a state of mindfulness. Being in their presence allows individuals to anchor themselves in the present moment, setting aside the distractions and worries of daily life. “

As with most things, at some point a smart entrepreneur saw an opportunity in “cow hugging”, and started charging people from the city for cow cuddling sessions, and a new type of wellness business was born. Just like not all dogs or people are cuddly, not all cows are down for being hugged. The difference is that if a cow isn’t feeling cuddly, all 2500+ lbs. of them might let you know. From Vancouver is Awesome “A mature cow’s head alone is 200 lbs., so if they move their head and have a lot of muscle in their neck, they can whip a person around,” said Brian Anderson from Eagle Acres Dairy Farm and Pumpkin Patch.

Photo Credit: Moustache Farmer

So, for various reasons, chiefly safety, you are likely to see “calf cuddling”, “miniature” cows or even goats, and “adults only” restrictions. Even still, cow cuddling opportunities are popping up all over the place, for good reason.

“Cows are far more sophisticated and sensitive than the simple grazers they are perceived to be,” engaging in play, displaying emotions and having distinct personalities, a 2017 paper  published in Animal Behavior and Cognition noted.

From “Cows are actually pretty empathic. They can be very intelligent. In my observations, cows are some of the most nurturing animals that we have.” said Corson, director of the Community Counseling Centers of Central Connecticut.

Having said all of that, I didn’t have to say any of that. You, a farmer, and someone who is lucky enough to be with these awesome animals all day, every day, know all about their calming affect. Next time you are feeling a little sad or stressed, give one of your cows a hug and enjoy the lower blood pressure, calm feeling and little blast of oxytocin while appreciating all that she has provided you!

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