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Autor: Florian Werner
ISBN-13: 9781553659808
Einband: EPUB
Seiten: 296
Sprache: Englisch
eBook Typ: Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format: EPUB
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Cow

A Bovine Biography
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She is everywhere: as a vehicle for both farmers and advertisers, a subject for research scientists and poets, and ever-present in the form of lucky charms, children's toys, or simply as a tasty sandwich-filler. The female of the bovine species is revered as sacred or reviled as stupid, but one thing she never inspires is indifference. After more than ten thousand years living alongside us, she remains a beguiling mystery. Combining a myriad of richly entertaining anecdotes and an abundance of illuminating discoveries, Florian Werner presents the curious cultural history of that most intriguing of animals: the cow.Since evolving from the aurochs, an ungulate that grazed the Persian grasslands, the cow has embedded itself into virtually all aspects of our lives. Cow is the first book to look at the animal in its countless manifestations in cultures around the world. Werner examines cows' role in commerce as an early form of currency and their place on our plates and in our stomachs in the form of meat and dairy products. Florian Werner examines how cows are worshipped in some circles, such as in Hindu mythology, and abhorred in others, today being vilified as an agent of climate change. And he waxes philosophic about the significance of the cow's rumination and cud chewing, as well as her simple but meaningful moo.Combining thorough research with an accessible writing style, Florian Werner offers readers an eye-opening perspective on this commodified animal, whose existence is inextricably intertwined with ours and which we too often take for granted.
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She is everywhere: as a vehicle for both farmers and advertisers, a subject for research scientists and poets, and ever-present in the form of lucky charms, children's toys, or simply as a tasty sandwich-filler. The female of the bovine species is revered as sacred or reviled as stupid, but one thing she never inspires is indifference. After more than ten thousand years living alongside us, she remains a beguiling mystery. Combining a myriad of richly entertaining anecdotes and an abundance of illuminating discoveries, Florian Werner presents the curious cultural history of that most intriguing of animals: the cow.Since evolving from the aurochs, an ungulate that grazed the Persian grasslands, the cow has embedded itself into virtually all aspects of our lives. Cow is the first book to look at the animal in its countless manifestations in cultures around the world. Werner examines cows' role in commerce as an early form of currency and their place on our plates and in our stomachs in the form of meat and dairy products. Florian Werner examines how cows are worshipped in some circles, such as in Hindu mythology, and abhorred in others, today being vilified as an agent of climate change. And he waxes philosophic about the significance of the cow's rumination and cud chewing, as well as her simple but meaningful moo.Combining thorough research with an accessible writing style, Florian Werner offers readers an eye-opening perspective on this commodified animal, whose existence is inextricably intertwined with ours and which we too often take for granted.
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vii Foreword by Temple Grandin1 In the Beginning Was the Cow12 A Kingdom For a Cow29 Flesh and Blood39 Milk55 Hide and Hair70 Udder and Vulva86 The Eye100 Happiness Through Rumination113 Herding Cows127 The Moo139 Behind the Fence155 Sacred Cows168 Evil Cows186 Apocalypse Cow201 Notes211 Bibliography220 Image Credits222 Acknowledgements223 Index
Unedited, from the IntroductionIn the beginning was the cowWhen God had made heaven and earth, day and night, and land and water, he created cattle first, and only then, after having prepared the fields and pastures, man and woman. "And God blessed them," the biblical account of creation tells us, "and said unto them: be fertile and multiply [] and rule [] over all the cattle and all creatures that inhabit the earth." So when Adam and Eve stepped onto the planet, they were already surrounded by cows. Even the script through which this story is passed down starts, in a way, with the cow: the Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is a stylized version of a horned cow. The Greek Alpha, which developed into our letter a, is also reminiscent of a 90-degree rotated frontal view of a cow.In other myths of creation the cow is credited with an even more prominent and active role in the process of world creation. The Ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that the heavens above were really the womb of a gigantic heavenly cow, which carried the sun god Ra on its back and was the source of the fertile waters of the Nile. According to the pastoral African Fulbe tribe, the earth was created from a drop of milk, which came from the udder of the ur-cow Itoori. Germanic mythology relates that the milk and warm tongue of an ur-cow called Audhulma ensured the survival of the first earth inhabitants.Cows did indeed play an extraordinary role in the pre- and proto-history of humankind. They supplied milk, and thus the animal protein necessary for human nutrition, and after their death provided fuel for lamps in the form of tallow. They were capable of carrying significantly heavier loads than humans and helped to work the farmlands as draught animals. Their hides were used to make waterproof clothing and tent walls, their bones for tool handles and sewing needles. The domestication of cattle almost 10,000 years ago freed humans from the necessity of having to undertake a tiring and dangerous hunt for every meal of fresh meat.In short, cows played an instrumental part in the sedentism of humankind, in the gradual transition from the nomadic existence of hunters and gatherers to advanced sedentary civilisations. "I am now absolutely convinced," writes veterinarian and cow expert Michael Brackmann, "that it wasn't so much the invention of the wheel [] that enabled homo sapiens to create advanced civilisations but the domestication of cattle." American science critic Jeremy Rifkin seconds the idea:"In part, human culture virtually rests on the backs of bulls and cows."The relationship between humans and cattle was (and is) indeed a symbiotic one. Cattle submitted to man, and in return man took them into his care, helped them find food, cared for them in sickness and protected them from wild animals. Cattle assisted mankind in the development of advanced civilisations and in turn human support enabled them to populate the whole planet.Originally endemic to the area that today comprises Iran, Pakistan and North-Western India, the aurochs, ancestor of our domesticated cattle, had by the end of the last ice age already spread through large parts of Eurasia, eventually arriving in North Africa. It was, however, only with human assistance that its descendants succeeded in reaching other continents. Since the beginning of the modern era, cows have been conquering the entire globe in the wake of European colonisers. On his second journey to America in 1494, Christopher Columbus brought the first cattle to the New World. Following the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries, cattle spread through Central and South America during the 16th century. In order to meet the British Empire's steadily increasing hunger for beef, New Zealand and Australia were finally developed as pastureland in the 19th century.Cattle have played a significant part in shaping the face of the earth as we know it. Cattle husbandry gave rise not only to Europe's cultivated landscape with its constantly alternating farmlands, pastures and forests, but also to the endless grasslands of North America and the erosion-threatened clear-cuts of Central and South America, where millions of hectares of tropical rain forest had to make way for cattle pastures. Deliberately developed as cattle habitat, these areas were actively shaped by the hooves and mouths of those animals. That is why Jeremy Rifkin argues that mankind is no longer earth's subjugator, as the biblical account of creation suggests, but that we are rather up against an "Empire of Cattle." Close to 1.3 billion exemplars of the species graze the earth today. Almost one quarter of the continental mass is utilized to supply them with grass and feed grain. Numerically cattle make up the strongest group of large mammals in the earth's entire history. Their total weight amounts to more than double that of the human population.The reason why cattle spread on such a massive scale lies ultimately in their versatility. Cows supply humans not only with labour, milk, meat, hide and bones. The rest of their body parts and secretions are used as well. The folk song "von Herrn Pastor sien Kuh" [About the Parson's Cow], popular predominantly in the north of Germany, praises the cow's universal talents rather succinctly. Every verse is dedicated to a part of the physical legacy of a recently deceased cow and the respective beneficiaries of the products. The gracious parson gives every member of his congregation a piece of the cow carcass: And the ol' fire brigade gets a pot of axle smear [] And the night watchman Father Suhrn now blows on his new horn [] And the lowly butcher's boy gets all the guts [] Hey, sing along, sing along, about the parson's cow.The fact that this song survives in hundreds of different verses gives an inkling of just how many things can be made from the mortal remains of a cow. Tallow is an important base for the manufacture of soap, ointment, lipstick and other cosmetics and in the past was used as wheel and machine grease, and apparently also for fire brigade vehicles. Cow horns are used for combs and piano keys and, although rarely today, for drinking horns and bugles. Guts are made into sausage casings, for example for the popular Swiss Cervelat salami. Cartilage is used in plastic surgery, while eyes end up in the stomachs of gourmets or on dissecting tables in biology classes. Even the cow's excrement comes in useful: the cowpats are used as fertilizer or dried for fuel, and in the past, nitric acid, necessary for the production of gun powder, was extracted from cow urine. In the meat industry, the corny joke makes the rounds that all parts of a cow are processed, except its 'moo.'

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Autor: Florian Werner
ISBN-13 :: 9781553659808
ISBN: 1553659805
Verlag: Greystone Books
Seiten: 296
Sprache: Englisch
Sonstiges: Ebook