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Sheep in religion and mythology
Sheep in Art
Help Our Sheep
Animal Rights and Why they Matter
Sentience in Farm Animals
Farm Animal Facts
Why Animals matter:
A Religious and Philosophical perspective
Animals in art
Portrait Gallery: Animals do Not
all Look the Same
Links: Action You Can Take
A Memorial to Sooty
A Memorial to Joey
A Memorial To Patch
is a random selection of interesting or unusual facts about
Cattle are extremely curious creatures and investigate
anything and everything.
Cattle have one stomach but it is divided into four
compartments, the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum,
the rumen being the largest compartment, this
arrangement helps cattle to more efficiently
digest grains and grasses.
Cattle are ruminants, this means that they have a
digestive system that allows them to digest foods, which would
otherwise be indigestible, by the process of repeated
regurgitating and rechewing of food referred to as
"cud". The cud is then reswallowed and further digested
by specialised microrganisms in the rumen. The rumen
holds up to an incredible 50 gallons of partially
Cattle chew their cud for up to 8 hours each day and
they spend approximately six hours eating.
Cows eat about 40 pounds of food each day and drink
30 gallons of water, approximately a bathtub full.
drink water by the use of a sucking action, they do not
lap up water like a cat or dog.
have an almost
total 360-degree panoramic vision.
estimated that there are approximately 920 different
breeds of cattle in the world which collectively number
1.3 billion animals world wide. Amongst the most popular
dairy and beef breeds are: Dairy, Holstein-Friesian,
Jersey, Guernsey, Brown Swiss, and Ayrshire. Beef,
Hereford, Brahman (or Zebu), Aberdeen-Angus, Shorthorn,
Santa Gertrudis, Galloway, Africander, Charolais,
average a cow of about 1000 pounds will produce as much
as a staggering 10 tons of manure each year.
have an incredible sense of smell, they can detect
odours up to five miles away and can they can hear
low and high frequency sounds better than humans.
parlance bulls, heifers, cows, calves are collectively
called cows, however the correct terms is cattle.
Unlike sheep, cattle may only be used in the
plural; You cannot refer to one cattle as one would say
one sheep. There is no singular other than to use the
gender or age specific terms, such as a bull, a cow, a
heifer, a calf. A
young female before she has had a calf of her own is
called a heifer, after she has had one or two calves,
depending on locality, she is than called a cow, the
young of both sexes are called calves until weaned. The
adjective applying to cattle in general is usually
udder has four sections to hold her milk.
gestation period for a cow is nine months, which is the
same as humans.
know that cows, are curious, bear grudges, love each
other baby sit for one another, have friends and are
intelligent, sentient. For more information refer to:
cows are good
mothers and have been known to walk for miles to find
Cattle where domesticated about 5000 years ago and are,
with the exception of those found in southeast Asia,
descend from the aurochs a species of wild cattle which
evolved in India about two million years ago and which
became extinct in 1627. Very different to modern cattle
they where formidable creatures, strong and fearless,
huge in stature, the bulls measuring as much as six and
a half feet at the shoulder, and weighing 1,000
kilograms (2,200 lbs) with very long horns.
Augsburg depiction of an aurochs.
Palaeolithic European cave paintings depict aurochs,
such as the one below found at Lascaux and Livernon in
natural circumstances cattle can live 25 years or more.
Cows spots are all uniquely different, there are never two with the same
pattern of spots or makings.
The world record for the heaviest bull,
an Italian breed of cattle, named Donetto was an amazing 1,740 kilograms (3,836 lb)
He was exhibited at the
show in 1955.Chianina are among the world's largest
breeds of cattle and for centuries were used as draft animals.
legend has it that Boston grew up along well worn
cow paths, the paths cows used to walk, which accounts
for the general disorder and crookedness of the layout.
According to the chair of the Boston Conference
Committee Boston is: "a walkable city, although
rarely in a straight line. The roads, and sidewalks,
were laid out following old cow paths, Native American
trails and long-gone shorelines. Getting “lost” is part
of the enjoyment of discovering the City."
Cattle have appeared on banknotes. The example below
the Chinese Nationalist bank, the Farmers Bank of China.
For more detail click the image above.
have appeared on postage stamps. The example below is
the United States one dollar stamp of 1898 trans-Mississippi
issue. Known as the "Black Bull", this is often
considered the finest design ever seen on a US stamp.
For more detail click the image above.
are considered sacred in a number of world religions
including Hinduism, and the ancient religion
Zoroastrianism and also the ancient religions of Egypt
and Greece. In Egypt animals where sacrificed except the
cow because they were sacred to the Goddess Hathor
the protecter of women and goddess of joy. Hathor was
the goddess of the sky, in her cosmic role as the
creator of the world she, it was believed, enclosed the
sun with her breast in the evening. Bulls where
identified in Norse mythology with both Thor the god of
thunder and also Freyja the goddess of fertility. In
Hinduism, the cow is revered as the source of food and
symbol of life and may never be killed. The cow is
honoured at least once each year on Gopsatami, the day
lord Sri Krishna, an Hindu Deity symbolizing universal
love, had permission from his father to take charge of
the cows and became a qualified cowherd, before this day
he was a keeper of the calves. It is a holy
day when cows are washed, decorated and given offerings
in the temple, Hindus however do not worship the cow.
They do not eat beef and the cow is a protected animal
in Hinduism and many rural families have least one cow
who is often treated like a member of the family.
Nonetheless there is often a shocking incongruity which
may surprise many visitors to India who will see cows
walking the streets often undernourished and neglected
living off garbage. Moreover there is now a thriving
beef and leather trade in India,
for more information please refer to:
Abuse of cattle in India
The Cow was
also venerated by Mohandus Gandhi: "I worship it and I shall
defend its worship against the whole world," and that,
"The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection."
he also said described a cow as "a poem
members of the ox family.
The ox is
one of twelve animals included in the cyclical Chinese
Zodiac calendar. Those born in the year of the ox are
said to poses certain attributes or characteristics
described as: dependable, calm, methodical, patient,
hardworking, ambitious, conventional, steady, modest,
logical, resolute, tenacious but can be stubborn,
narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
major constellation in the northern hemisphere and the
second sign of the western zodiac is represented by a
bull. In ancient cultures, the year began with Taurus.
Those born between April 21st and May 22nd are said to
born under the sign of Taurus the bull and are said be practical, patient, persistent, strong-willed, solid, affectionate,
warm-hearted, kind, generous ,trustworthy
determined, reliable, stubborn, creative, bad tempered,
idle, loyal, possessive.
The Maasai tribe of East Africa traditionally believe
all cows on earth where given to them by God.
Cows, or a
least a cow was connected with the founding of Durham
cathedral in 995. Legend has it that monks carrying the body of
St Cuthbert where led to the location by a milk maid who
had lost her Dun cow, the Cathedral was built upon the
spot where the cows was found resting.
Here is the
story. Forced to Flee their monastery on the
Island of Lindisfarne because of Viking raids the Monks,
taking with them the coffin of the revered St Cuthbert,
the Lindisfarne gospels and other treasures had wondered
for a century throughout the northeast settling only
temporary before establishing a permanent settlement at
the twelfth century chronicler
Symeon of Durham
the whole occurrence was the result of divine
intervention. He recounts that the coffin of St Cuthbert
came to a miraculous halt at Wardon Law, and no
one was able to move it. The Bishop of
Chester-lee-street decreed a period of three days of
fasting and prayers to the St. According to the
account of St Bede, during this fast a miraculous vision
of St Cuthbert appeared to Eadmer one of the monks
instructing him to take the coffin to Dun Holm, which
would later be called Durham. Now able to move the
coffin they made their way to Dun Holm however they did
not know where it was, and asking people they met on the
way proved fruitless as no one it seemed knew the
location or had even heard of the place. Fortunately
they happened to over hear a milk maid asking another
milk maid if she had seen her dun cow, which had
wondered off. During this conversation the monks heard
the other maid mention that she had seen the cow roaming
about near Dun Holm. Thus by following the milk maid
they where able to find Dun Holm, a wooded Hill located on
a peninsula formed by a gorge-like meander of the River
Wear, where the magnificent cathedral of Durham stands
You can see an
eighteenth century stone carving depicting the milk maid
and her dun cow on the north wall of Durham Cathedral
cattle of Chillingham
Chillingham cattle are thought to be the only survivors
of the herds of wild cattle which once freely roamed
through the forests of Great Britain. In modern times,
now only numbering a herd of 80 animals, they live in
a beautiful enclosed 365 acre parkland at Chillingham in
Northumberland which has been their home since the 13th
Painting by Edwin Landseer:The Wild
Chillingham (1867, Oil on canvas)
Important please note:
I am not an
animal expert of any kind just your average person who
loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the
plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a
writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in
mind that the information included in this website has
been researched to the best of my ability and any
misinformation is quite by accident but of course
Copyright, accreditations and
other matters, please read
The banner is a cropped portion of
a painting by Potter, Paulus 1625-1654