Look at these two words, “cow” and “depression”. These words are typically not put together. “Why would a cow be depressed,” you might ask. Here in East Tennessee, I pass many peaceful pastures and vast open land while simply driving to Brookhaven Retreat, and well, the cows just stand or lie there. They eat grass and you might see one move, occasionally.
Over the years there have been many published studies through BBC News, Time Magazine and One Green Planet that explain how cows are uniquely like people when it comes to their emotional needs. First of all, cows prefer to be called by their given names. Many farmers name each of their cows. In the case that you do not have her name, give her one and each time you run into her please address her as so. Studies have proven that calling cows by their name (yes, they do recognize their own names) and personal touch make for healthier and happier animals thus yielding more milk. She will remember you after a time or two. So apparently, elephants are not the only ones who “never forget” and if you choose to be mean to her then she’s likely to hold a grudge for a long time.
Like humans, cows have emotional needs. They love to give kisses (yikes!), love to be petted, cry for lost calves, go through bereavement when a member of their herd passes, and form “cliques” - often choosing a small circle of 2-4 other cows. They get excited and are often found prancing about to express their joy especially after a long hard winter when they have been housed in a barn. Studies also indicate cows definitely prefer country (pasture) living to the city (industrial operations). The results are again found in increased productivity and a healthier product.
Cows are extremely social, and according to an animal science study done by the University of British Columbia, if a cow is by herself, it is more than likely one of two things; she is either unwell or about to give birth. So if you see “Bessie” off to herself, you might wander over to check on her.
Remember, the next time you pass a cow, say “hello”. You could be saying “hi” to the best friend you will ever have.