Cows without horns

Below you will find translations of articles and studies about cow dehorning

Cow horn as a contribution for milk quality

This problem is studied in an article on the website:




A complicated question, to be sure. In fact, the farmer means nothing wrong by having the cows' horns cut off. However, some farmers in the Allgäu felt that what was considered harmless was mutilation. Analyzes of the blood and milk of dehorned cows prove them right.

By Ursula Seiler

This is what we observed with Gerta, which deeply marked Martin Bienerth. Although it was August 1, 1989, it had snowed on the Graubünden Alpe in the morning. "Around half past eight we took the cows out, the snow was wet and did not stay on the ground. I cleaned the stables and prepared it as in winter. Then I rushed to the cows, who were already out of sight. As expected, most of them were heading towards Grava, but a few were still visible on the slope above the plain. The snow was starting to hold and I got restless, ”says the graduate agronomist from the Allgäu, who had spent many summers with herds of cows in the Swiss Alps, "I was able to accompany three cows in a half-slide down the slope through the snow, where it was safer. »

“Downstairs, I looked for the two cows whose skid marks I had seen and only found one, injured. Gerta stood there in a daze, surrounded by two stable mates, unwilling to eat, with her head bowed. Many wrinkles between the ears and the eyes showed me his pain. His right horn was broken, but it remained attached to his head and was bleeding profusely.

The next day, Robert, the farmer who owns Gerta, came to the pasture with a bag full of plaster bandages. “Watching a farmer try to save a horn from his cow was an incredible experience for me, as I had seen a growing tendency for many colleagues to dehorn their calves. Martin Bienerth strongly doubted that Robert's plan could succeed. With the constant jolts of walking, the bone wouldn't grow, he thought. While grazing in the bushes, the cow kept getting its horns stuck. Disabled cows fight with other cows around the barn. Besides, Gerta will definitely be itchy during the healing process, so she would scratch grassy banks or trees with her horns. But Martin Bienerth was to learn a lesson: I watched Gerta and her plaster horn for the rest of the summer. Gerta avoided bushes, avoided scuffles, and when she entered the nest held her head askew with her diseased horn pointed upwards. After the cattle transport, Robert told me that Gerta had two strong horns again after removing her plaster bandages."

The herd is to blame

So a cow does care whether it has horns or not. His horn is not an insensitive, "lifeless" part of his body, which can be cut as easily as a human's hair. This is also evidenced by the fact that the horns become increasingly hot as a cow ruminates vigorously and comfortably. 

However, eighty percent of all cows today are polled during their typically short life span, which lasts only five to six years instead of more than ten years in the past. So, are farmers who dehorn their cows sadistic animal abusers?

No way. Unfortunately, the dehorning of cows originally had animal-friendly reasons. Instead of keeping the cows tied tightly in the barn, they wanted to give them more freedom. That the cow prefers to have to fight every night for her hierarchical place on the lawn of the meadow is something that the human being, who is a social being, has not thought of. It is a herd animal. For them, there is a hierarchy. A hierarchy to respect.

Some farmers may have suddenly discovered their love for animals because it turned out that a playpen is cheaper than a conventional one in terms of cost-benefit. You could house more cows per square meter and the equipment was also cheaper. The only thing that disturbed the harmony now were the horns. Too many cows in what was really a small space, which had no structure to guarantee hierarchy or the usual place, caused scuffles and fights. So the horns must have come off.

Not that polled cows don't defend their hierarchical position. Wounds are now simply internal where skull meets skull, and blood that may leak is no longer visible.

In the Allgäu, resistance first surfaced a few years ago - or should we say: increased awareness? There were farmers who thought about their cows more than usual, like Michael Köhnken: “The cows serve us by giving us milk, meat and above all their fertilizer. By accepting this service, we are asked to create a balance. We can only do this with loving care - making sure the cow has everything she needs. Is that what we do when we take their horns? In other words, is a barn that encourages the mutilation of its occupants really animal friendly? But so far nobody was asked if these conical horns growing on the head of the cow could have any meaning or purpose. Only God-fearing farmers like Jakl Köhler thought differently: “We assume that our Lord God had already thought about the creation of animals. Everyone should consider this before touching this creation. »

However, the Allgäu farmers did not put an end to it with philosophical considerations, but began to study the cow, its milk, blood and urine. Were the horns just ornaments or did they serve a deeper purpose? And if so, how would their absence affect the cow's products and welfare?

What are the horns for?

"Nature does nothing in vain" said the Greek philosopher Aristotle 2300 years ago. So the horn must also serve a purpose. So it's probably no coincidence that the calf's horns start growing just when it's two to three weeks old and it's first munching on fine grass and herbs. It is perhaps worth taking a quick look at the evolution of animals, as the Allgäu farmer Helmut Hoffmann dared to do in his booklet “The cow and its horns”. He reflects on the link between ruminants and horns or antlers: “Giraffes develop a ruminant stomach. They are the first to attempt to form frontal bone attachments. (...) What the giraffe tried is perfected in the deer: the antlers. Deer have perfect ruminant stomachs. But they also take a step back. They are nervous animals. They are wide awake outside, they don't have the heaviness of cattle. The antlers fall and reform each year. (...) Then, we observe the antelopes. With them the Creator approached the pure ruminant type. (...) None of these species could become a pet. They all have frontal bone attachments and horns, but the frontal bone has not yet widened like in cattle. Moreover, their conical horns are not yet hollow. With the exception of the chamois, the only European antelope. They form the transition to goats and sheep. In both cases the ruminant type has come to a great completion. Only the frontal bone does is not yet as perfect as in cattle, the last stage of digestive animals. (...)

We have now arrived at the ideal type of ruminant, the bovine, as embodied in our domestic breeds of cattle, all of which are descended from the aurochs: (...) The cow has remarkably developed frontal sinuses, which when they age , extend to the tips of the horn cone. The frontal sinuses of a cow that has had two or three calves will only reach halfway up the horn. (...) There is a strong blood flow between the cone of the horn and the head. He is also very nervous. The skin first thickens during the formation of the horn, and it is formed as a result of strong folding of the subcutaneous tissue. This has such a curvature effect that the horn cannot become antlers, as in the case of a deer. Strong restraining forces are at work in this horn. When the cow ruminates, when she belches the contents of the rumen, gas also appears. These mix with exhaled air and enter the frontal sinuses in the horn cones. As a result, the cow has a relatively blurred awareness of the outside. The brain is foggy. (…) The horns perceive what happens in digestion. Gases and forces and whatever is picked up by the horns are then returned to the digestive tract. Dermatologist Lüder Jachens from Stiefenhofen sees the cow's horns as a kind of "sucking organ" for the light of the cosmos. Light extends its effects through the horns into the animal organism and into the digestive tract; here he acts, figuratively speaking, as a "gardener" by maintaining the

And Helmut Hoffmann notes: "All the forces that are returned from the horns inwards, starting in the rumen thanks to bacteria, give the cow the strength and the carbohydrates (cellulose) necessary to form proteins.

The higher the fiber content of the feed, the larger the horns or antlers. Extreme examples are the zebus, which feed on the arid steppes of African Chad, or the northern elk with its gigantic wooden shovels, which eat up to two quintals of hard-to-digest leaves, moss and grass every day. . These differences are also found in cattle: breeds from the North Sea lowlands, where plenty of easily digestible green fodder is available almost all year round, have only small horns, while Scottish cattle from the highlands land, eating little, being able to digest fodder with difficulty, have very large horns.

“If we now remove the horns from the cow,” writes farmer Helmut Hoffmann, “we remove them with the horn cone, so she will have a limited perception of her digestion. Therefore, their products, milk and manure, which they defile and want to give to people are no longer of good quality. The earth becomes barren and man falls ill.


Dermatologist Lüder Jachens not only observes a steady increase in cow's milk allergies in his practice. “Why, for example, can a glass of milk significantly worsen existing neurodermatitis in some children within hours or days? Atopic dermatitis, food intolerance and especially cow's milk intolerance to cow's milk protein allergies increased dramatically in all highly industrialized countries in the decades following World War II.

The quality of the milk plays a role here. Not only is milk from dehorned cows too "heavy", too "oily" and "not translucent enough for lack of light absorption and good digestion", but modern agriculture also prevents milk from being for man what he was in Antiquity, when paradise was defined as "the land flowing with milk and honey". Its negative impact is particularly linked to:

• Modern breeding efforts to maximize milk yield

• Provision of protein- and energy-rich food concentrates

• Frequent grass cutting, first cut before flowering or seed formation

• Over-fertilization of meadows and pastures

• Alteration of natural bacterial colonization of cow's milk by cooling the milk directly after milking

Degeneration of blood and milk

The Hagalis Laboratory for Crystal Analysis and Quality Research in Überlingen examined blood and milk from 14 Brown Swiss cows from organic farmers in the Allgäu. The crystal analysis they used dates back to Paracelsus, who used this method five hundred years ago to produce very powerful and harmless drugs. For this purpose, crystal salts, which were obtained from milk or blood samples of cows, were examined. To do this, blood or milk is heated until all organic substances have been burned. The salts are extracted from the ashes with water, mixed with a distillate and applied drop by drop to a slide. The liquid is then allowed to evaporate at room temperature. This creates crystalline images which allow full statements to be made about the quality of the life forces contained in the starting substances. In order to exclude any bias on the part of the investigator, double-blind tests were carried out in two laboratories. Only samples from organic farms were taken to exclude the influence of modern production methods. Conclusion of the study: “Analysis of spagyric crystals shows that dehorning affects the structure of the vital forces of animals. Degenerative conditions develop in the nervous - sensory system of our domestic livestock. Milk images clearly show a negative impact on food quality.

While the blood and milk of horned cows show fine branching, which extends from the nerve area (outside) towards the middle to the metabolic region, images of dehorned cows show far fewer structures. , which are also rectangular, indicating static hardening and reduced nerve and sensory perception. The nervous and sensory part is greatly reduced and literally separated from the metabolic part. It is therefore nothing more than a controversy when an agronomist speaks of a "creeping idiocy" of dehorned cows!

Rank battles and aura of cows

Does this “dumbing down” also manifest itself in the behavior of cows? Martin Bienerth, nicknamed “Floh” by his friends, maintains an extremely close relationship with the cows entrusted to him. During many summers in the mountains, he studies their behavior: “Fighting in rows is of great importance for social events within the herd. Through rank battles, each animal is assigned its own position within a herd.

Individual animals then feel less stress when they move, eat, drink or lie down. Cows don't have social behavior as we know it when it comes to protecting vulnerable people - except in mother-calf relationships. Small or weak animals are constantly pushed aside and suppressed. A clear position in a hierarchy gives these animals a chance of survival.

Horned cows fight their ranking battles differently than dehorned animals. The fights are shorter and more intense, but also clearer and the results longer lasting. Most of the time, however, there isn't even a fight. Certain positions of the head, nose, ears and horns send signals that another cow understands. This means that the rankings do not have to be rediscovered every time. If the horns are missing, an important tool for this "language" between them is missing, which can be observed very well in mixed herds.

Animals that are strangers to each other have a greater foraging distance on the pasture if they have horns. Polled cows will eat closer to each other, even if they are foreign. If there is fighting, not only the skulls are used to push, which means the classic form of conflict to define a herd structure. Hornless animals have learned to "shovel". They usually work on their side colleagues. The abdomen and neck are prime targets. The arguments last longer, seem less violent, almost playful, and the animals do not quickly find their place in the herd. Ranking battles are therefore more frequent."

It therefore appears that the lack of order and structure exhibited by dehorning in blood and milk also affects the behavior of dehorned cows.

Martin Bienerth also thought about the aura of cows: “A cow is bigger than what we can see with our eyes. Smart people talk about an aura; it is an invisible area around each individual cow. These areas vary in size and depend on various factors. According to my observations, the aura of a cow is about two by three meters. Cows that know and love each other allow themselves to invade this area, eat together, lie against each other or lick each other. Higher ranked animals also "allow" lower ranked animals to enter this area. In horned animals, this space is indicated by discrete movements of the horns. The order of the herd can thus be maintained at all times. Herds with horned animals are structured, as a shepherd I can guide and direct these herds. The more polled animals there are in a herd, the more difficult it becomes to form a herd with a larger number of cows. There seems to be more mess. » No more disorder, which, as mentioned, also manifests itself as a lack or degenerated structure in the blood, milk and urine of cows...

dance with the cows

Dehorning is useful for many farmers who have already been seriously injured by a horn. The cows are then no longer threatening and it is easier to treat them as a secondary problem. A cow with a horn should be treated with caution and respect. The more love you have for her, the less caution is needed, because a cow that feels attached to her owner will not attack her. Martin Bienerth also learned the tricks of the trade before becoming a kind of “cow whisperer”: dented and broken ribs and facial injuries. During the long weeks spent at the mountain pasture, he observed the cows. “I learned that cows are individuals, but they also have a herd instinct, that they can be very intelligent but also unbearably stupid. I met the most diverse characters; I found access to the nature of the cow. After all, as an Alpine Shepherd you are with the cows day in and day out, in scorching heat, wind and storms, rain, thunderstorms or snow. Wrong decisions can easily lead to animal fall, serious injury or death. “I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to 'dance' with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." I met the most diverse characters; I found access to the nature of the cow. After all, as an Alpine Shepherd you are with the cows day in and day out, in scorching heat, wind and storms, rain, thunderstorms or snow. Wrong decisions can easily lead to animal fall, serious injury or death. “I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to 'dance' with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." I met the most diverse characters; I found access to the nature of the cow. After all, as an Alpine Shepherd you are with the cows day in and day out, in scorching heat, wind and storms, rain, thunderstorms or snow. Wrong decisions can easily lead to animal fall, serious injury or death. “I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to 'dance' with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." you are with the cows day after day, in the sweltering heat, the wind and the storms, the rain, the thunderstorms or the snow. Wrong decisions can easily lead to animal fall, serious injury or death. “I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to 'dance' with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." you are with the cows day after day, in the sweltering heat, the wind and the storms, the rain, the thunderstorms or the snow. Wrong decisions can easily lead to animal fall, serious injury or death. “I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to 'dance' with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to “dance” with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows." I learned to walk with the cows, I learned to handle them, I learned to touch them, I learned to “dance” with them up close. Since then, nothing more has happened to me with the cows, apart from a few slaps in the eye during the milking. Bienerth said a little sadly, "I mean, we forgot how to dance with the cows."


The human-animal relationship has been reduced to a minimum in recent decades, the reasons are well known. The effects are now felt by animals while being maimed. The horns are removed at the front and the tails at the back, as is unfortunately already the norm in New Zealand today. I repeat: we need to rethink our human-animal relationship. When we domesticate animals, that is, make them pets, we are responsible for them as we are for our own children. We have to take care of them. Care is one of the oldest tasks of humanity, since it has become sedentary. Our human culture is in danger if we abandon this care.

There is a solution !

So what to do? There is no other justification for animals in conventional tie stalls to have their horns removed. And those yard farmers don't have the money or the space to convert them back to conventional stalls - or do you still think the cows are more comfortable in free stalls? There is also good news for them. A Swiss research project intensively examined 35 farms in Germany and Switzerland, where horned cows are kept in pens. They found that horned animals can also be kept free from aggression under the following conditions:

• You need enough space. The greater the space available and therefore the greater the possibility of avoidance, the less conflict there is in the cattle herd.

• Palisade feed guides instead of parallelogram feed guides, which have a horizontal locking device at the top. The former allows lower tier animals to move away from the feed fence within two seconds of a higher tier animal approaching - so there's less fighting.

• A permanently accessible socket. This is not only good for their health, but also helps to relax the social situation of the outdoor herd. Lower-ranking animals find good retreat opportunities in the race and can avoid clashes. Dead ends and too narrow passages in the stable are to be avoided for the "peace" of the herd, because they prevent the necessary individual distance from being maintained.

• However, according to the study, the human-animal relationship is of utmost importance. Herd avoidance distances were all the lower (between 1.35 and 0 meters) as contact with the animal's owner was more frequent and better. On farms with trusted animals, there were fewer staff changes, the cows were usually cared for regularly, and the farmers knew all the animals in the barn by name.

• The type of handling was also recognized as very important by this study. The avoidance distance was lower if the breeder managed to handle the animals calmly and patiently. On the other hand, impatient and nervous handling also led to nervous and therefore more difficult to handle animals. Clear relationships have also been established between the frequency of skin lesions caused by goring in animals and the quality of the human-animal relationship.

• Good livestock owners are also good herd managers. They play a major role, for example in how young animals are integrated into the cow herd, whether defective barn equipment is repaired quickly or whether animals in heat are removed from the herd.


"It is also interesting to observe that it is possible to compensate for the disadvantages of the breeding system by a good contact with the animals", indicates the study. 

Love is the key - again! Let us quote again the conclusion of this very seriously conducted study - because it is so pleasant and can give horns back to the cows: "If the breeder has a good relationship with his animals, has the management of the herd under control and the requirements for the respect for animals- friendly barn construction, horned cows can be kept in free stalls almost without problems.But it should also be noted that the human-animal relationship is difficult to influence from the outside.It is certainly a task for the pet owner to train and develop their skills.

This implies considering animals as beings and not as factors of production. And it helps to watch them. As Martin Bienerth did for many summers: “There is a difference between a herding cow and a matriarch. The Herkuh is the leader of a herd, the highest placed animal. The matriarch is the one who always goes first to the pasture or returns from it. This trains other members of the herd, which of course makes breeding much easier. Herd cows and lead cows can be the same animal, but it does not have to be.

Marey has been our herd leader and lead cow on Alp Tambo for years. She had a certain charisma and was accepted by her 92 colleagues. In the winter of 1994, her horns were sawn off, and in the summer of 1995 she returned to us on the mountain pasture. She gave us a confused impression, was shy and insecure. She was no longer in charge of moving to the pastures, she was found somewhere in the big heap. Halfway to the pasture, she recovered so much that she was able to resume all the functions of shepherd and matriarch. It was like before, just sadder."

Do we really want to make these animals sad creatures that give us everything they have - their milk, their manure and their meat? Are we ready to reap the sadness we have sown? Because that is what is happening. As the late farmer Walter Heim, one of the driving forces behind the fight against cow dehorning, said: “Horned cows mean strengthening the fertility of the soil and strengthening the life forces of plants, animals and humans. .

Many stalks of grass, mature grass or good hay, pasture, plenty of light and fresh air and enough exercise form a healthy and resistant organism and, as a visible sign, beautiful, well-formed horns and strong. Nature thus reveals the workings of perfect wisdom. To act against this wisdom of nature is madness. »


Translation of the article Milch ist nicht gleich Milch!

More and more people no longer tolerate dairy products, and it's no wonder.

Cows today are spiked like top athletes: instead of grass, they are fed concentrated feed containing petroleum and silage containing butyric acid and deadly poisons. In addition, they are deprived of their horns, which causes them to constantly suffer from phantom pain, to have methane in their brains and to deliver a milk of significantly lower quality, which then becomes completely “plastic” thanks to industrial processing. .

By Robert Strasser, Farmer

When we think of milk, we imagine happy cows grazing in the fields. The dairy industry works with these images to make us believe that if we buy the product, we also get a piece of that happiness. But happy cows in the pasture are rare these days, and precisely where the most milk is produced, there are hardly any cows left in the meadow. 

In the 1980s, it was still common for cows to be allowed green fodder as long as it was available on the grasslands. Cows that could not graze also received fresh grass to eat each day. Then, farmers started switching from expensive tower silos to convenient flat silos, which can store a lot more forage in less time. Removing food from flat silos is also easier and more convenient. Even so convenient that you no longer have to worry about collecting green fodder daily, and cows can even eat the silage stored throughout the summer instead of fresh green fodder.

Milk and allergies

And now we come to the heart of the milk issue. As we have described, the feeding and raising of cows has changed enormously over the last forty years and, at the same time, cases of milk intolerance have steadily increased. In the 1980s, the average annual production of a cow was less than five thousand kilograms of milk per cow per year, today it produces liters more. Today, specialized dairy farms even aim for an average production of ten thousand liters of milk per cow per year. In order for a cow to produce ten thousand liters of milk, several tricks must be used.

So you need a lot of protein in their diet to get as much milk as possible. The proteins must be pre-processed in part so that they are not yet digested in the cow's forestomach (which would bring the cow to the brink of poisoning), but rather in the intestine, from which the protein passes into the blood and reaches the udder and the milk. At least half of a high-yielding cow's milk comes from concentrate feeds that contain a good part soy and a good part urea, a nitrogen compound commonly used in fertilization. In order to increase the energy density in their diet, propylene glycol E 1520 is now also added, as well as a petroleum derivative also used in the food industry. Of course, for a cow, who is a grazer, these are not the foods intended by nature. If you simply fed this dose of concentrate feed in the morning and evening, the cow would die because the rumen, the cow's largest fore-stomach, would acidify and collapse. For this reason, feed concentrates, most of which come from overseas, are mixed with the silage. This is unchanged throughout the year in order to spare the cows feed fluctuations and the associated conversion stress. The amount of feed a cow can take in is limited and to produce fifty liters or more of milk per day per cow, the concentration of nutrients in the feed must be increased, because nothing comes from nothing. 

Since this whole method of rearing and feeding cows is unnatural, cows become sterile at an early stage and only give birth on average to one and a half calves in their lifetime. Cows raised in a natural and healthy way give birth to an average of ten calves, up to twenty calves. 

Today, cows are doped like top athletes. Common sense is enough to understand that the being created in this way cannot be healthy and therefore his body no longer wants to play the game and reacts with allergies. 

As mentioned above, only part of the feed ration was presented to cows in the form of silage in the past, and that only in winter. Nowadays, they are fed almost exclusively on silage, all year round. The silage is harvested in a semi-dry state, i.e. with approximately thirty percent moisture, and is firmed by lactic acid bacteria. However, contamination of food from soil and sometimes also from animal carcasses that are minced in food lead to butyric acid and toxins. This leads to incorrect fermentation of the cheese and the cheese swells. Additionally, fungicides are used in industrial cheese production for surface treatment to prevent mold growth. Consumption of such milks (products) can also lead to undesirable fermentation during digestion in humans. Interestingly, however, many people with milk allergies can tolerate good raw milk and raw milk products from hay, silo-free, and horned cow milk without issue. Unfortunately, most doctors and therapists generally advise their patients against milk if there is an intolerance, which means farmers who do their job well don't stand a chance. many people with milk allergies can tolerate good raw milk and raw milk products from hay, silo-free, and horned cow milk without a problem. Unfortunately, most doctors and therapists generally advise their patients against milk if there is an intolerance, which means farmers who do their job well don't stand a chance. many people with milk allergies can tolerate good raw milk and raw milk products from hay, silo-free, and horned cow milk without a problem. Unfortunately, most doctors and therapists generally advise their patients against milk if there is an intolerance, which means farmers who do their job well don't stand a chance.

Milk and horns

If you see cows with horns these days, you're in luck. Unfortunately, instead of building the stalls to fit the cows, the cows are stripped of their horns to fit the stalls. It is claimed that the horns must be removed for safety reasons. As with humans, there are certainly some among cows who injure with their horns, but that is the exception rather than the rule. 

In the past, cows were milked and if a cow could not be handled, she was excluded from breeding. Today, the emphasis is only on the udder, and the fact that the animal has a good or a bad character is no longer taken into account in breeding. And because the cows are only artificially inseminated, nothing is known about the character of the breeding stock. In the past, farming families had a close relationship with their animals, but today farmers only have contact with the cow if they want to get her pregnant again, because even the daily milking is done by the robot. treaty. It is therefore not surprising that the cows react "allergic" to the farmer and that every now and then a cow "freaks out". 

What many don't know is that the cow's horn is intertwined with countless blood vessels. Therefore, the horn is hot, and when it is cold, the cow is usually sick. The blood first moves through the horns before flowing to the udder to form milk. Since the horn has a hyperbolic shape and the blood swirls in it, it can be assumed that the horns are charged with energy, which is also found in milk. Cows without horns are more lethargic than those with horns, and there is certainly a connection between the vitality and zest for life of cows and whether or not they are allowed to wear horns.

Milk in the supermarket

It is not only the way milk is produced that has changed to the point of harming health, but also the processing of the milk itself. Raw milk is now almost only available locally from the farmer, who bottles his fresh milk. If you leave good raw milk at room temperature, you usually get curds that are still good and taste great. Milk is therefore able to protect itself from spoilage and has a natural immune system that protects the calf from pathogens present in nature. Authorities now classify raw milk as high risk, but the exact opposite is happening. Pasteurizing milk kills its natural bacterial flora. If something goes wrong, harmful germs reproduce more easily because the The milk's natural environment is no longer available to control their spread. Clean raw milk from healthy cows can normally be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days. 

On the other hand, long-life (UHT) milk that no longer needs to be refrigerated is increasingly found on supermarket shelves. But to make the milk so immutable, it has to be massively processed. Thus the milk is homogenized, that is to say it is projected at high pressure against a wall to break the fat globules so that the milk no longer creams. This damages the milk more than brief pasteurization. Ultra high heating is the name of the process in which milk is heated up to 150 degrees. Proteins are denatured. The milk then goes through the bacteria centrifuge, where anything you don't want is filtered out. What is created in this way is an almost "clinically pure" product (similar to white sugar, refined or table salt) which is reduced to protein, fat and sugar components. This milk can only be called plastic. Should we then be surprised that our body rejects it? In addition, at least ten types of milk are offered on the shelves of supermarkets, which in reality do not differ. We believe we had a choice, but what is good is no longer there. Wouldn't it be better to only be offered milk from the local farmer and still naturally fresh and healthy?

Milk and ingredients

Milk is a very special "juice" and one could certainly live on milk alone for some time, provided that the milk corresponds to its natural origin, i.e. it comes as directly as possible from cows. who eat pasture grass, because they have twice as many omega-3 fatty acids in their milk as their high-performing stable mates. Milk provides many essential vitamins, especially first milk when cows are allowed out to pasture for the first time in the spring and get the fresh, lush greens they've been waiting for all winter. Cow's milk is composed of approximately 87% water, 4.9% lactose (milk sugar), 3.7% neutral fats (olein, palmitic, stearin) and 3.6% protein (casein , albumin, globulin). There are also various minerals (calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.) and many vitamins (A, D, E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, H, nicotinamide, pantothenic acid) . 

Cheese and butter are concentrates with high nutritional value, so you don't need to consume too much. One hundred grams of cheese corresponds to approximately one liter of milk. It takes at least twenty liters of milk to produce a kilo of butter, and at least ten to produce a kilo of cheese 

Science has also discovered that raw milk butter in particular has a much more positive effect on the body than previously thought. The dreaded saturated fats (dairy products, eggs, etc.) are just like unsaturated fats (vegetable oils, fish, etc.) essential for the proper functioning of all cell membranes. Myristic acid, a saturated fatty acid found naturally in raw milk butter, has long been considered a "dangerous" fat.

In the meantime, several studies have shown that they are of good quality (raw) their consumption has very beneficial effects on the level of fat and cholesterol in the blood and on the ratio between the "good" (HDL) and the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Myristic acid is also used by the body to produce essential substances such as cortisone, hormones, vitamin D and bile.

Milk between ecology and economy

Unfortunately, the younger generation of aspiring farmers are mostly trained in the concept of high-performance breeding in agricultural schools, making them slaves from the start to the big-money farming industry. Fortunately, there are still farmers who let their hearts speak and act accordingly. The following example shows that this can also be chargeable:

Compare an extensive dairy farmer who grazes his cows on the short grass pasture behind his chicken coop and has the calves suck close to the cow, only about five thousand kilograms of milk per cow per year, with a farmer who farms at high performance and harvest ten thousand kilograms of milk per cow per year. As a result, the intensive farmer gets an hourly wage of around 7 euros with high performance farming, while the natural farmer generates 22 euros per hour! If the local conditions are met, it is therefore possible to produce only half while earning triple. The time saved by the extensive economy would allow farmers to invest much more wisely in marketing their high quality natural milk, to give consumers a choice, so that those who don't want to give up milk can get something good and valuable. The natural way is more economical and profitable, and the quality is good, because only healthy animals give healthy milk.

To ensure good quality, you don't need politicians or regulations, just common sense, a sense of inner voice (which tells us exactly what is good and reasonable) and a bit of courage to walk in this way. It is not difficult, instead of building a new barn financed by large loans, to put a fence around the pastures and to leave the cows in the sun. If the grazing areas are not suitable, you can come to an agreement with the neighbors and better distribute the areas so that they correspond to the farm. Even a pasture-based milking system is technically not a problem today and is feasible.

It is therefore up to us to decide where to focus our attention. The consumer path is even more important than at the polling station during his daily shopping. Where he directs his energy, that is, money, something happens that grows and prospers. Farmers and consumers must get closer and, if necessary, organize and finance projects together. Because the money is better invested in a good project that contributes to a good food supply than in the bank, where it may be worth nothing one day. In this way, we find a social fabric on which we can count, which is manageable and which gives the feeling of not being alone. And so, milk can become again what it always was: a part of our life. 

Text: Susanne Bellotto 

Our author Robert Strasser operates a natural farm with an organic cheese dairy in Frankenburg, Upper Austria. It produces and sells (also on the Internet in Austria and Germany) raw milk butter made from sour cream and various cheeses. For more information, visit his website: , e-mail:

or call 0043 (0) 76 83 86 23.

Leave their horns to the cows! 

Unlike, for example, human fingernails, cow horns are not made of insensitive material, but are impregnated with blood vessels and nerve fibers, which is why they feel warm to the touch. Cow horns are organs that play an important role in communication, personal hygiene, but also metabolism, including digestion. The methane gases produced during digestion are broken down and converted via the horns. This process can no longer take place in dehorned animals. Gas accumulates in the frontal sinus; This is why the skull deforms over time, which was confirmed this year in the interim report of a study commissioned by the Federal Veterinary Office (BveT). Moreover, more cruel still is the removal of the horns themselves. Although the calves, whose horn roots are usually burned off when they are a few weeks old, are locally anesthetized, they are in severe pain and continue to suffer from headaches and often disorientation for weeks. It's especially painful when a farmer has a newly acquired horned cow dehorned to fit into his barn. Amputation of the horns in adult animals causes a severe, profusely bleeding wound that extends far into the frontal sinus since the horns are part of the skull. Moreover, dehorning not only physically mutilates cows, but also mentally. As crystal analyzes have shown, Polled cows have reduced nerve and sensory perception - so it's no surprise that dehorned cows often look a little stupid. The degeneration of nerves and senses in turn affects the metabolism of animals and therefore also meat and milk. Analysis of crystals from milk samples revealed that feed quality is clearly negatively affected by dehorning. 

Modern farming and production methods are to blame for the practice of dehorning. Horned animals need more space, i.e. if the farmer leaves the horns to his cows, he only houses twenty animals in the same barn instead of thirty, and less than animals mean less income. Additional expenses are also generated by higher requirements in the construction of barns, because the common dimensions of free-stall barns today are intended for dehorned animals. Cows with horns also need more attention from their human caregivers - which they reward many times over with love and friendship. 

However, a cow is much happier if she can keep her horns and graze outdoors in the summer. Then she also does not interfere with posture in a normal stable, where she is attached and has her permanent place. Cows are hierarchically oriented animals, and a fixed order in the barn suits their nature more than a "freewheeling barn" for which she must sacrifice her horns. In addition, the short lifespan of high-yielding cows often forces the herd to be replaced with young animals, which even more often causes grading fights and disturbances in the barn, which the cows do not like. . 

Nevertheless, most farmers still find it difficult not to remove the horns from their cows, mainly for fear of injury, but also for financial reasons. This is why, in Switzerland for example, only one out of ten cows can live as nature created it. (The effort for tourist companies to find an imposing cow with horns for all the beautiful postcards and publicity images must therefore be considerable...). that farmers who choose to raise horned cows are not disadvantaged by the additional expense involved. Thus, the peasants must receive one franc per day for each cow with horns and the breeders of goats 20 centimes per day for each animal.

Financial incentives are still needed to bring about a change in mentality, but we must realize that the question of whether or not cows can keep their horns is ultimately about the dignity of the animal and its appreciation by its owner. human.


Read also the detailed article on this subject in Journal n°51, p.22ff. Further information on the horned cow initiative can be found at: .