On the Subject of Cow Tipping

April 1, 2006 at 3:57 pm 1 comment

Last weekend, commuting from a hike, a friend told me how when you tip a cow, the cow actually dies– it's internal organs get crushed.  It was an interesting factoid.  I didn't think too much on whether it was true or not– just filed it away in my memory banks.

Fast forward 5 days.  I was talking on the phone to my eighty-eight year old great Uncle who still single-handedly runs his own cow farm. 

When I asked him how he was, he said, "Well, you know, I had to bury a cow today."

He then goes on to tell me how the cow had been laying down too long and it was so fat it crushed itself to death! 

"Now when I see one laying down, I pick it up," he said.   He also added that he won't be feeding the cows as much.

What are the odds of two "crushed bovine organs" conversations occuring so close together?  I victoriously reported back to my friend, "It's TRUE!  The cow does crush itself to death!"

Sadly, this afternoon I was reading on Wikipedia that cow tipping may be an urban legend.  Not only does the entry report that the cow would likely not die, but it speculates that it would be very difficult for a crew of people to even sneak up on a cow and much less tip it.


But— it does support what happened with my great Uncle's cow:

Although cows can die if prevented from sitting upright for an extended period of time…

I do have a couple of unanswered questions.  For example, if it is so hard for several people to push over a cow— how is my great Uncle "picking up" a cow while it is laying?  I'm assuming the cow does most of the work.  I'm visiting the farm next weekend, so I'll do some investigating then.

Entry filed under: crushed bovine organs, Great Uncle Chuck, urban legend.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  April 3, 2006 at 9:31 am

    The “Cow Tipping” episode of Beavis & Butt-head was hilarious.

    I almost went to snopes.com before finishing your article, then I realized you probably did already….

    And yea, the cow probably does most of the work getting up — standing up is more natural for them than for us.

    And.. aren’t there cattle prods anyway?
    “Get up!”


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