Why are cows so beautiful

Because of "stupid cow"! The I-cow of a cattle cannot be measured by human standards. But studies have shown that cows are almost as smart as dogs. The animals operate a watering lever when they are thirsty, and if a cow is hit by the electric fence, the other members of the herd avoid the fence - so they learn from one another by observing, a sign of intelligence.

But is the cow really a "poet of nature", as Alexander Kluge once said in an interview with Anselm Kiefer? Definitely, thinks Werner Lampert. The Austrian organic entrepreneur and author speaks of cows in the highest tones, he describes them as his "companions". Lampert grew up in a hamlet in Vorarlberg, and as a teenager he got to know the animals as good listeners: "I told cows about my first fall in love, also about my first heartache." He sang songs for them and read them poems by Holderlin: "Day after day they stood in a semicircle around me and listened to me."

Werner Lampert is a trained church restorer, he studied ancient oriental studies and is considered an organic pioneer. In the 1980s he set up a wholesale business for organic products in Austria, advised supermarket chains on the introduction of organic brands and managed an organic farm in Burgenland. At some point someone asked him: You have already achieved so much, what do you still want to do? Lampert's spontaneous answer: "A cow book! That is my heart's desire." Now there is his homage to the cow, a 480-page splendid volume, weighing almost three and a half kilos.

As a perfectionist cowboy, Lampert presents 116 cattle breeds in glamorous glossy photos, from the Ennstaler Bergschecken to the Negra Andaluza to the Texas Longhorn, he characterizes their character and praises their benefits for their owners. All cows were photographed especially for the book, except for one breed that lives on Lake Chad, where it was too dangerous because of the terrorist group Boko Haram. Above all, Lampert pays tribute to the fundamental role that cattle played in the development of civilization. Humans have lived with cattle for 10,000 to 12,000 years, and cultural and social development would probably have been different without the animals. Cattle helped people to settle down, have wealth, security and progress. Without the search for pasture grounds, the first cowherd men might never have set out on the East African savannahs, and their descendants would not have populated all continents. In the natural religions cows were often bridges to the gods, they were sacrificial animals and symbolized fertility, in Hinduism they are considered sacred.

In the western world today, the opposite is the case: the cow is primarily seen as a farm animal. The relationship between humans and cattle has long been symbiotic, and industrial society has materialized it completely. The cow has become the supplier of milk and meat. Lampert says: "Cows have the ability to educate people to form a community", they can "feed people, clothe them, and the greatest thing they give us is their dung. In this way they ensure fertility, they turn something completely worthless into something." Usable. "

The question of whether cows have a soul does not arise for Lampert, "that is a fact". A cow has feelings, maintains relationships and can even shed tears, he reports. It is not known whether the cows to which Werner Lampert read Hölderin poems actually became "poets of nature". But as a reader of his book you want to go to a pasture and kneel down in front of a cow, like Leonard Cohen. In an interview he told how he kneeled in a field in front of a group of cows to pay homage to them: "You know what? You were so happy."

Werner Lampert: The cow. A tribute. Publisher teNeues, 49.90 euros.