8 November

There Used To Be Cows

by Jon Katz

There used to be cows on this farm, up until a year or so ago. I would often  drive down this road – Route 68 on the way to Bennington, Vt. and I would usually pull over to watch the cows or horses grazing.

Sometimes there were calves grazing with their mothers. There is something wonderfully grounding and calming about watching cows, perhaps because they are, unlike human beings, so grounded.

This is an old story in Vermont, and New York State, and elsewhere, their greed and arrogance are taking nature away from and handing it over to hungry corporations.

I don’t think there will ever be cows on this farm, and I see fewer and fewer of them. Hardly any are left to graze freely out in pastures, the ones I do seep spend there lives locked up in giant barns on concrete floors.

They are just milking machines now, and when their milk production drops, they are put down, nor more sweet and leisurely lives in the shade of a tree.

Farmers, who fed and nurtured us for centuries, are no longer considered efficient in the new global economy, economists and politicians have turned their backs on them.

There used to be cows on this farm, and I miss them.


  1. I too enjoy watching cows in the pasture, calmly munching away on the green grass, or lying down in the fields looking around with seemingly not a care in the world. When I was in Ireland recently, I was quite taken with the many groups of cows. They were Frisian cows- pristine black and white against the ever-so-green. Dairy products are to die for in Ireland. Their cream and butter, yogurt and milk have a quality not tasted in Canada where I live. Still though, dairy farming in most of Canada is not the mega business that it is in the US. In Canada, there are no antibiotics or hormones given to cows. Hopefully, as we become more aware of the foods we eat, the demand for more humane treatment of our food sources, such as dairy cows will win the day.

  2. I have always loved cows with their seemingly calm and wise eyes. Given anything approaching decent care they are content to simply be cows. So unlike humans, always striving and wanting to be more than we are. They are good listeners, too. As a child, I often sat on a hay bale in my uncles’s barn and shared my heart with them.

  3. I miss seeing all the livestock that has disappeared in the past few years. So sad to know those farms are no longer working farms. In our part of the country it seems like most all family farms are gone and when I let myself think of that, it makes me sad. This picture is absolutely beautiful! `

  4. As long as people buy factory farmed meat, eggs, dairy, the corporate nation will thrive. Lets give up shopping from them for a month or two, buying local or doing without. Staying out of Olive Garden, McWendyKings, Walmart and other such places. They will fall like a house of cards.

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