Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Weird

Now, I know we've talked about Animal Suicides before, but I still think it's fascinating (and weird) so here's another example of an out of character animal suicide (IE, not lemmings (though fun fact: Lemmings aren't actually committing suicide. They're just migrating in mass droves. When they jump off those cliffs, it's to swim across the body of water to get where they're headed. It's just that a lot of them drown due to exhaustion))

Today, lets talk about cows.

Yep. Cows.

Back in 2009 28 cows in Switzerland decided to kill themselves by jumping off a cliff. And we're not talking about a stampede frightening the animals into one mass exodus. No, we're talking about cows leaping to their death over the span of 3 days.

actual picture of some of the cows. poor cows


So it wasn't just a "follow the leader" herd mentality for all those cows. And on top of it, those cows were born there and understood the danger of the cliffs. It wasn't like they were in a new environment and didn't realize stepping off the cliff would kill them. Occasionally a cow might fall to their death, but so many cows, over three days, in the exact same spot?

There are no large predators native to the area so it's not like something could've frightened them either (in fact, they had to helicopter the dead cows off of the cliff floor so they wouldn't pollute the ground water, because there's nothing big enough in the environment to even eat the free meat)

So now we can add cows offing themselves to our list of weird stuff. I mean, it's not as weird (or creepy) as the dog suicide bridge, but still.

Thoughts? Theories? Let's hear them!

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32 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

Now, this weird story I have read before.

In Texas, locoweed is sometimes blamed for cellular death of the neurons. But I think it's only found on this continent. Maybe there was some toxic plant in Switzerland that produced the same effects.

It's sad nonetheless.

Carrie Monroe said...

I hadn't heard of this. It is really weird though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mad cows?

Anne Gallagher said...

Oh the poor cows. That's so sad. I love cows. They're such peaceful creatures. I've never met one I didn't like.

Talli Roland said...

This reminds me of that horrible M Night Shthingymajig film with the plants messing with the humans to kill themselves. Great concept, very VERY bad acting.

Jay Noel said...

Came here from Alex's blog! Saw your profile pic with the steampunk hat and had to come meet you!

Animal suicide is so strange...it has some pretty interesting implications about animal behavior.

Slamdunk said...

I am enjoying Wednesdays here Sarah.

I could go Biblical on you and suggest that it was similar to what happened to the swine. Always a good mystery for a book/movie anyway.

LD Masterson said...

Strange. Very strange.

Hart Johnson said...

Poor cows! I wonder if there is some environmental thing that disoriented them--turned them around or made them no longer feel that warning they'd grown up with. it sure looks though, like they were all drawn to the same place.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

wowza... i have no clue... could there have been some kind of scent that drew them there? like is someone took bull musk and made a trail and they were in heat? do cows go in heat? i know my crazy kitties do...

Tyrean Martinson said...

Weird and sad. I raised a few cows when I was growing up, and I can say that they aren't all placid creatures. I fed them, talked to them in the barn, and made sure they had clean water and salt. For that, I got chased to the fence on occassion and ignored most of the time.

I have to go with Maria's idea - some kind of odd plant, or something that didn't work well in their system. Or there was a butcher's truck in the area - cows know those by smell and they head in the opposite direction.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Hmmm. . . maybe no one was giving them their salt and they headed towards the smell of the salt . . .seem odd that they would drown themselves for it, but salt is something they need for their health.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

It's possible that they were depressed. I know that people say "They are just animals, etc." But having dealt with depression and seeing it ravage loved ones, I'm a firm believer that anything living could feel depressed. Maybe the cows got depressed, felt everything was hopeless, and that the only way to make the misery stop was a suicide. It's very sad because there are no cow counselors.

Jessica Bell said...

This is pretty weird. :-/ Did you know that "widowed" pigeons fly themselves in front of moving cars to kill themselves? I'm not sure if it's all over the world, but it's a proven fact in Greece.

Johanna Garth said...

New follower from Alex's blog. I wonder if they ate something that caused them to lose their sense of balance/direction?

kmckendry said...

That's odd. I wonder if any autopsy was done to see if they had some disease, maybe they sacrificed themselves to save the rest of the herd.

Just stopping by from Alex's.

Teebore said...

in fact, they had to helicopter the dead cows off of the cliff floor so they wouldn't pollute the ground water, because there's nothing big enough in the environment to even eat the free meat

Apparently Switzerland needs more McDonald's.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yikes! That gave me the chills.

Spacerguy said...

I guess the markets took a downturn! LOL.

cleemckenzie said...

It has to be something they ate. I think someone mentioned loco weed earlier. Could that be possible? As to the lemmings, I've read it's all about population control. They get too crowded and off themselves, leaving a stable population behind.

~Sia McKye~ said...

There are things they could have eaten which impairs their perception of their world. There are those sort of plants here in the states too. Who knows.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

M Pax said...

Wow. That's disturbing and fascinating all at once.

I was reading that bees are capable of being depressed. I suppose if they are, so are cows. Is it possible something about the cliff screwed with their perception?

Catherine Stine said...

Wow, upsetting image. I have no theory. It reminds me of when my rabbit jumped out of my third floor window. We had the screen secured with hooks, so it was a mystery....

Dan said...

Thou hast been tagged!

http://dangerousdansblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/teralyn-rose-pilgrim-recently-tagged-me.html

Tina said...

This has got to be one of the weirdest things I've heard in a long time! I didn't know that there were any animal suicides (except stupid squirrels). I'm fascinated.
Alex, the Amazing Ninja Captain himself sent me. I'll definitely be back. Gotta hear a post from Yvie, and read other weird facts you find. Nice to meet you!
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

Adrianne Russell said...

Some kind of mass hysteria? Creepy!

Ciara said...

That is so strange. I've never heard of such a thing.

Joan Crawford said...

Ooh, I've heard of this before and it's so creepy! Maybe it was some weird seismic activity that created a rumbling that scrambled their brains. I don't know, whenever science can't explain something, "seismic activity" seems to be the default explanation. I remember reading about a house that had all this crazy stuff happen (like bottles opening themselves, things flying out of cabinets) and the scientists were all "A strong wind could explain the bread hurtling through the kitchen and there was some reported seismic activity that would explain the bottles figuring out how to open themselves..."
Have you done poltergeists or what do they call it? Psychokinesis? For a Wednesday Weird yet?

michelle said...

Hi Sarah. I'm visiting from Alex's V-Post, where you've been identified as a blogger who provides "variety"... nice to meet you!

I've heard about this cow story somewhere... possibly linked to "mad cow disease"?
New follower :)

http://writer-in-transit.co.za/vigoroso-vivace/

Sarah Ahiers said...

Joan - i have not yet, but it's definitely in my plans for the future. And did you check out my post on the Dog Suicide bridge i linked to? That puts cow suicide cliff to shame. SHAME!!

Copyboy said...

I actually heard about that. so weird.

L.G.Smith said...

So strange, but it's kind of like those mass beachings by whales too. Can't understand what drives them to do it.

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