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Dec 02, 2018 at 12:25

Here’s The Real Story Behind Internet’s New Fascination: The ‘Giant Cow’

by Srishti Magan

Ever since photos of the giant Holstein Cow from Australia, Knickers, surfaced on the internet, netizens have been loving it, memeing it, and simply put, just can't stop talking about it. 

The giant cow, Knickers, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs more than 1.4 tons (2,800 pounds), is actually a steer (a neutered bull). 

Image: NYT

 

And while there is no denying the fact that he is large, he is not the tallest cow ever. 

According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest cow was Blossom (from the USA), who passed away in 2015 at the age of 15. She was 6 foot 2.8 inches tall.

Image; Guinness World Records

 

Knickers, who is seven years old, belongs to the Holstein Friesian breed which is a dairy breed. However, as he has been neutered he cannot be used for the same. 

However, while the internet is fascinated by the giant cow, according to reports, Holstein Steers are actually expected to grow to tremendous sizes as they mature. Which means Knickers is actually just your regular Hostein Friesian breed - who got naturally lucky and not genetically freaky. 

Image: Wikipedia (Representational Image - this is a cow from the same breed as Knickers, but not Knickers)

 

According to Smithsonian, Daren M. Sheffield, production records specialist at the Holstein Association USA, says that if a Holstein steer is allowed to live longer, it can grow even larger than bulls due to hormone differences, but most are usually slaughtered at 15 months when they hit about 1,300 to 1,400 pounds.

Steers can grow to tremendous sizes at a mature age. It was not uncommon for Holstein cattle raised as oxen [steers raised to do work like plowing] to reach weights of 3,000 pound.

Another reason Knickers appear taller than usual is that he is surrounded with Wagyu, a different cattle breed that gets as tall as 4 feet 7 inches. 

Image: Washington Post

 

According to NYT, Mr. Pearson - the owner - has grown a fondness for the animal, much like the other animals on the farm. 

In fact, according to Mr. Pearson, the steer is a patriarch of his herd, often helping the smaller cows. Sadly though, his role as a leader may lead to great emotional turmoil for him. 

Image: The Dodo

 

According to reports, cows are 'herd animals', and seeing the rest of the heard being sent to slaughterhouse may have a devastating toll on Knickers. 

As per The Dodo,

Since cows form such deep bonds with their herds, losing a member can be very upsetting for them. 
Image: The Dodo

 

Knickers' newfound fame may finally bring to light, the devastating effects slaughtering of animals has not just on the environment but to other bovine who watch them go away one by one, year after year.

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