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Desperately Seeking Yvonne

In search of a cow in Germany

Elisabeth Lang  Aug 16, 2011

GERMANY (eTN) - Germany has never been known as a country of cowboys, but it is now searching for a very clever cow named Yvonne, who has become a most popular tourist attraction.

Cow detectives, hunters, and police are taking time to find Yvonne. The six-year-old, Austrian-born cow, Yvonne, was sold to a German farmer in Bavaria in Aschau in order for her to put on some more kilos and turn into a steak. Just before being loaded on a truck, Yvonne the cow, freed herself and disappared into the forest, and that was 3 month ago. Since then, Yvonne has been roaming free in the Bavarian forest.

She was spotted by police when crossing the road, which is when she became a dangerous cow. Officials say she poses a danger to traffic, and hunters have permission to shoot her.

In the meantime, the Salzburg Gut Aiderbichl Animal Sanctuary has bought the cow. Yvonne now has her own PR department, and televison teams and newspapers have arrived at Gut Aiderbichl to capture the news as it unfolds.

At night, the activists have been using an infrared camera to search for the dairy cow, who has been laying low during the day and grazing at night, like a deer.

Normally, cows live in herds, and one has never been know to turn into a deer by hiding in the woods.

A spokeswoman from Gut Aiderbichl said that there is still no news and no signs of Yvonne. Activists are still searching for the invisible cow, and a 14-day random shooting random has been set out. But so far nobody has been able follow this clever cow that runs fast - up to 45 km an hour - back into the woods and thick forest.

In the meantime, the believed dead son of Yvonne the cow has been traced, bought, and brought to Gut Aiderbichl.

After an attempt to bring castrated breeding bull Ernst onto scene, which did not entice her at all, her old girl friend, Waltraud, was brought along. Gut Aiderbichl believes that she will certainly be thrilled to meet up with her beloved son in the near future.

While Yvonne supporters are hoping for a happy ending to this story of a runaway cow, she is also in danger of facing a hunter's bullet.

These problems do not occur in Switzerland where happy cows are now on holiday high up in the Alps. For Germany, perhaps cow leasing is the solution. This is a concept that was developed nearly thirty years ago by Helga and Willy Wyler.

In this concept, hobby cowboys can choose their most favorite milk cow on the Internet, where various business models are availible. A full lease over the 3 summer months is available at 380 Swiss Francs, and a part-time lease may be had for 200 Swiss Francs.

The person who leases the cow receives instructions on the duties and responsibilties while in the Alps. S/he must help on pastures for at least 4 hours, clean the barn and pathways, remove weeds, clear stones, and trim hedges. For work not rendered, a charge of 20 CHF is made.

Included in the contract is a certificate of the cow in a picture frame, as well as a guided tour through the Alps for a first get-together with the cow. Here, it may very well be the case that a long hike up the Alps must first be made before a new cow leaser may gaze into the cute brown eyes of their favorite ruminant.

“Cow rights” and the leasing contract also regulates “cheese rights.”
At least 20 kilos must be accepted by the leaser. After all, that is the whole point of the undertaking.

In autumm, half of the the cheese produced by the leaser's personal cow is handed over to the leaser, and the other half goes to the dairy farmer. Depending on the cow, this may well be 140 kilos of execellent Swiss Cheese. But 5 kilos are all that is allowed for import to Germany, so the remaining 65 kilos may be shared or directly stored with the dairy farmer.

“Cow leasers” are coming from all over. Entire families travel from Berlin, Hamburg, and different countries to spend their holiday with their own cow up in the Swiss Alps nearby Brienz, (Interlaken). Some of them are visiting “their own cow” even in the winter, when they go skiing.

During the summer, the barn is rented out for functions and events, where one may throw a party, while the cows are on holiday up in the mountains.

In search of a cow in Germany
Photo © E. Lang

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