• Jessica Wasteney

Killer Cows 🐮

4 Ways To Prevent Death By Cows.

Can cows kill you? Can eating cows give you cancer? Could cows be responsible for contributing towards the climate crisis?

I will hold my hand up and admit that I have Bovinophobia, a fear of cows. In fact, put me in a room of snakes and I would feel more comfortable. Yeah, they may have big cute eyes and innocent faces but, please, don’t be fooled, there are good reasons to be cautious of cows.

This fear was not something I was born with, it all started a few years ago when out on a country getaway in the beautiful Gippsland, AKA - Cow Central, Victoria. We had been staying in a quaint and tranquil AirBnB on the outskirts of Wilsons Prom, the house was within a functional dairy farm.

One day I decided to go for an early morning run. The air was crisp and the sun low in the sky. The only path out of the house was down a dirt track, the track went through a large cow field and I, at that point, had no fear of cows and didn’t hesitate to step into the field.

As I ran down the track a herd of cows a few hundred meters off to my left started running off, way ahead of me, I was in awe at how they moved as they ran away into the distance, it was like watching a cow safari.

Upon returning to the house, I passed the first cattle grid as I entered the bottom of the field I decided to cool down and started walking back up the track. I could see the herd of cows that had originally run down the hill away from me, standing under a some trees a few hundred meters away on my right. They were all watching me.

I thought to myself, what a picture perfect moment until one of them started moving towards me... eerily followed by all of them, I instantly felt uncomfortable and started to walk a bit faster.

As I glanced back they had to also started to walk faster, following my pace, so then I started running - so did the herd of cows! There were around 300 meters left between me and cattle grid at the top of the hill.

I sprinted, literally for my life, I could hear the thuds of their hooves as they gained distance and stampeded towards me. I have never been so terrified in my life! I didn't have time to glance back as I knew every second counted, these cows were at my heels, I had to make it to the cattle grid or I wouldn’t make it at all!

With all my might I leaped over the cattle grid and turned to see the heavy panting cows come to a sudden halt as they crashed into the fence before me. The thin wire and grids was all that separated us.

They lined up along the fence staring at me with their huge stern eyes. I counted - 40, forty, one tonne cows nearly trampled over my every bone. Gasping for air and shaking with fear I looked at them angrily and shouted “You” gasp “tried to kill me” gasp “and I don’t even fucking eat you guys!”

Being a non-meat eater I, naively, felt like I had some kind of spiritual link with the animal kingdom, I shall do you no harm, should work both ways, right?

Wrong, I soon found out that cows are responsible for killing more people than snakes and sharks combined. Like I say, put me in a room with snakes over cows any day!

According to a report by NCIS (National Coronial Investigation System) while venomous snakes killed only 14 people, 33 people got crushed or trampled to death by cows and bulls in Australia between 2008-2017.

I wanted to help prevent cow death for other people and discovered that getting trampled on is actually the least likely way a cow could kill you. Could cows be doing more harm than we realise?

Frightfully, yes, A LOT of harm!

Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of cardio vascular disease, and cancer mortality. We may have heard of the risks of a higher bowel cancer rate with eating too much beef but it goes beyond the darkness of our bowels. .

Animal protein diets contain high levels of saturated fat, which isn’t great on the waistline and can lead to obesity. There is evidence that the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers (including bowel cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer) according to a study by An Pan, research fellow in the Department Of Nutrition at HSPH. The study provides evidence that regularly consuming red meat does contribute substantially to premature death.

Furthermore, certain carcinogens are formed during the cooking process of meat at high temperatures, further increasing your risk of cancer.

This is fascinating research and I was curious to learn more, I found evidence that animal waste can also include pharmaceutical residues, heavy metals (like copper and zinc) and harmful bacteria, which can leach into water supplies and there is a risk of animal to human transmission of antibiotic resistance.

The research shows that meat consumption is not all great for us, killing us intrinsically but what about our planet? Could these big-eyed beasts be contributing to the death of our planet too?

Yes, they are bloody well are, with their burps! Yep, cow burps! 90 to 95 percent of the methane comes from cows mouths, releasing a potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O) which has 296 times higher impact than CO2, responsible for ozone depletion. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide, astonishing, that this is more than the whole transportation sector combined!

The other 5 to 10 percent is released in the from their butts - cow shit (manure) . Livestock is responsible for being the biggest water polluters on the planet causing Dead Zones in our oceans that have been linked to cow shit; their poop has destroyed our precious coastal areas and coral reefs, where aquatic creatures can no longer live due to the level of toxicity and deoxygenated water.

The Australian cattle herd was 26.2 million head in June 2017 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricutural Commodities. Considering cows can poop an average of 29.5 kg of manure a day, that's 12 tons a year. As you can imagine the planet is literally in deep shit!

4 Ways to prevent the death of you and the planet from Cows

1 - Purchase Organically-Grown Produce:

Know your farmer, if you are going to eat red meat, make sure it is organically grown. Find out if the animals are treated well and that they have not been living in overcrowded conditions. This way you will be able to know if the animals have been pumped with antibiotics prior to slaughter.

Also, check that the farm has a decent waste management system so that you know the cow manure is not polluting the local streams and rivers.

Knowing where your meat comes from will enable you to make smart choices on where you put your dollars when it comes to agriculture. Mc Donalds versus your local farmer, for example.

2 - Cut Back On Consuming Beef For Your Health:

Evidence shows that cutting back on your meat consumption will have a positive effect on your health. The substitution of other healthy protein sources instead of red meat is associated with a lower mortality risk. Legumes, beans, nuts and even insects are a healthy alternative.

Yes - insects. You may be squeamish at the thought at first. However, insect consumption is becoming trendy, not only are they the most sustainable and planet friendly protein source available, (check out this and this) but they are also incredibly healthy for you!

Crickets, for example, contain 69% protein, (twice that of beef), are rich in iron, vitamin B12, magnesium, omega 3 & 6, and prebiotic fiber. They are literally nature’s perfect superfood.

Being a non-meat eater, this is the best nutrient dense diet that allows me to maintain high levels of protein, vitamin B12, and iron, whilst in line with my ethical values. Popping a few crickets a week, eating cricket energy bars or adding some cricket powder to my shakes is all that is needed.

If you are already eating prawn it can be an easy transition as crickets are genetically the same, so if you do have a crustation allergy, you may be sensitive to crickets too. FYI.

3 - Cut Back On Consuming Beef For The Planet:

When reducing your beef intake you will also be making a positive contribution to addressing the climate crisis. Each pound of beef needs 2,500 gallons of water, 10 pounds of feed and produces approximately 16kg CO2. Not to mention the reduction of excrement released.

Each and every pound of beef you decide not to eat will dramatically reduce your ecological carbon footprint.

4 - Avoid walking or running through cow fields:

Especially when there are young calves in the field. Plan walking routes in advance and make sure you can see your escape route clearly, ie stile, fence, cattle grid. Be sure to make sure there are no cows blocking you from your exit.

Don't take pet dogs in walks in cow fields.

If the only option is to enter a cow field, please, don’t go it alone, it isn't worth the risk! Take a friend, preferably a tall one, and carry a large stick, just in case.

Be cow safe.

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