You can’t deny that this cow stands head and shoulders above the rest. At 6’4″ tall, Knickers the Holstein has gained viral, Internet fame when his story hit the Internet.
According to Susie Coston, national shelter director of Farm Sanctuary, his story is actually rather heartbreaking.
Knickers is not really a giant. The problem is, most people don’t see a full-grown Holstein as an adult because they are typically slaughtered when they reached their second birthday.
“People freak out when they see our adult Holsteins in person,” Coston said. “They’ve never been around cows so big. They are outstanding animals.”
When a Holstein becomes an adult, such as Knickers, who was seven years old, they are too large to fit in the butchering equipment. That is why Geoff Pearson, the owner of Knickers has spared him.
According to Pearson, Knickers looks after the herd and shows them where they should graze and walk. He also protects them from harm.
According to Coston, Holsteins are very gentle and sweet. As a result, they often lead the herd but Knickers role will probably take a devastating toll.
“I’m sure Knickers is happy to be with other cows, but the sad part is those animals will just keep being sent away [to slaughter],” Coston said. “I can’t even put into words how heartbreaking that must be for him. These are herd animals; their herd is their family. ”
Cows are herd animals and they often have a strong bond with other members of the herd. When they lose one of those members, they tend to feel it deeply and that is probably the same for Knickers, who experiences it over and over again every year.
“The thought of losing your herd is so significant,” Coston said. “The whole situation is heartbreaking to me because he’s always going to be looking for his family.”
Knickers is going to live out his life on the farm but Coston hopes his story educates people about how emotional and loving cows can be. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small, they love every member of the herd.
“I think when things like this go viral, it’s a good opportunity to explain to people how cows really behave,” Coston said. “There’s no doubt that Knickers’ herd loves him to death.”