Thursday, July 18, 2024

Austria Warns People Against Kissing Cows

The Austrian government issued a statement warning people against kissing cows. Why? Because there’s a “Cow Kiss Challenge.” The government’s message was clear: Don’t be dumb. Don’t do it.

Per The Guardian, the KuhKussChallenge, a term that sounds a little nicer than the English translation, first appeared on the web May 15. It was launched by an app called Castl, urging people from Switzerland and other German-speaking countries to seek cows and kiss them “with or without tongue” in order to raise money for a charity. There’s not a shred of common sense here.

The Austrian agriculture minister, Elisabeth Köstinger, said in a statement:

“Pastures and meadows are not petting zoos – actions like these could have serious consequences.”

You don’t say?

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While the charity isn’t specified, it does explain how balancing tourist activity with cattle farming is a complicated issue for Austria, especially in the areas where there’s a lot of mountains and interaction between the two. The country’s economy is heavily influenced by tourists and the business they make in their farms. Still.

One part of a cow’s personality is sociability, which means that within a herd, some cows may be more gregarious characters than others. In general, cows are social, herd animals, and so a level of friendliness and cooperation amongst themselves is essential to their survival.

There has been some fear surrounding cows and their perceived lack of friendliness due to a few isolated cases of people fatally trampled by a herd. These instances are rare and almost always have to do with dogs, who tend to make cows feel threatened. Bulls can be more aggressive and should be avoided. When cows have calves during the spring months, some caution is warranted, as their maternal instinct can manifest in aggression. Still, cows are generally friendly and approachable animals. People who engage in healthy relationships with cows are rewarded and impressed by their sensitivity, friendliness, and intelligence.

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