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NEWSFILE: A COMPENDIUM OF CATTLE

HEIFER I GOT MOOS FOR YOU

WEATHERBY, Mo.: A north-west Missouri man was killed Thursday when his car struck a cow on a Dekalb County road. Eddie Trimble, 40, of Albany died when his car struck the cow: skidded of the road, hit an embankment, and rolled several times, the Missouri Highway Patrol said. Trimble was ejected from the car, which came to rest on its wheels. The accident occurred at 4:50 a.m., about four miles north of Weatherby, the patrol said. The condition of the cow was unavailable. (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - JUNE 19, 1998)

NEVER MIND THE BULLOCKS

The irrepressible Daev Walsh writes:

Amazing, the reliability of the press: two Irish provincial papers, Kerry's Eye and The Kerryman: one sez 100ft, the other sez 150ft. Actually, I'm amazed that it was even printed! Silly season for ya...

Bullock survives 100ft plunge, by Andrew Phelan

A CAUSEWAY farmer could hardly believe his eyes this week when a bullock that fell off a 100-foot cliff on his property into the sea was returned safe and sound after miraculously surviving the plunge unscathed. The lucky animal was one of two bullocks that slipped through a broken part of the fence on a clifftop field owned by William and Anne Leen of Ard Na Mara, Meenogahane, Causeway on Sunday. The body of one of the animals was found shortly afterwards, with the second missing - presumed dead. In fact, the missing bullock swam 300 yards to the safety of a nearby cave where it was spotted around 18 hours later by a local boy Declan Pierse, who was out canoeing with friends. The alarm was raised and a daring sea rescue was mounted by three men -veterinary surgeon Tom Pierse, his brother Peter and neighbour Liam Leen. "They rowed out in quite a high tide and attached a rope to the animal, and he swam after them. I didn't want them to risk their lives for an animal, but they did it anyway," Anne Leen told The Kerryman. A number of other locals were involved in the dramatic rescue, and Mrs Leen was amazed when the bullock walked calmly back onto the farm as if nothing had happened. "He was in perfect condition, there wasn't a bother on him. He just walked up and started grazing like normal. This happened here about 50 years ago, but nobody has heard of anything like it since," she said. The Leens are now repairing the fence and are determined not to lose any more stock to the Atlantic waves.

Bullock survives 150 ft drop, by Padraig Corkery

A 150 ft fall from a cliff proved to be no obstacle to a bullock which not only survived the , but was the subject of a major rescue by three bravehearted locals. The 18 months old Charollais, owned by William Leen of Meenogahane, Causeway, was one of a group of 15 animals that broke out of their pasture on Sunday night. Two of the animals strayed farther than was safe and plunged over the edge of the cliff. It happened about half-a-mile east of Meenogahane pier. Later is transpired that whileone of the animals was dashed against the rocks, the other landed directly in the water, surviving against all the odds. Instead of swimming into the cliff, the intrepid animal decided to head for a large rock, 200 yards offshore and found shelter in a small cave. On Monday morning William Leen noticed the fence down and found he was short two animals. Peering over the edge, he saw the carcass of one animal and assumed that the second bullock had also perished and was swept out to sea. On Monday evening, Simon Pierse (16), his two brothers Declan (12) and Colin (9) and their cousin David Pierse (12) were kayaking off the Meenogahane pier when they saw the animal on the rock. "Simon came running up to the house" recalls his father Peter. "Simon’s eyes were bulging, he was yelling something about an animal stranded on the rock.

My brother Tom, who's a vet, and a neighbour, Liam Leen and myself gave a hand. We got Liam`s out board engine boat and it took us out to the rock". The rescue was far from easy though, as they had to catch the animal and put a snaffle on its nose. "Once we had that done, towing him back was no bother as there are no currents in the area and we brought him up on the pier. "Peter is astounded as to how the animal survived the 150 ft fall from the top of the cliff. "If that had happened to a person, we would have been picking up the pieces from therock". He told of a similar story that happened over 50 years ago, when an animal fell over the cliff and survived. Due to the weather at the time, the locals were unable to rescue the animal and had to throw feed down to it for a number of weeks, before it was successfully rescued.

William Leen told Kerry's Eye that the animal was in great shape. "Apart from a slight limp and a small cut on his forehead, it came out unscathed. William Leen said "It's amazing how the bullock survived the fall, without any major injuries. I was disappointed at the thought of losing two animals, so to find one still alive is a great feeling. Farming is hard enough these days without losing animals in this way. This accident means that I will have to get stronger fencing."

(There's more on The Kerryman website if you require it...)

CUD YOU DO THAT?

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) _ A trim here, a tweak there and Deb is ready to pose. She's just like any model being readied for a shoot, only she weighs 1,400 pounds and moos. "You ever see a supermodel put on makeup?" cow photographer Susan Kelly asked as she brushed Deb's tail before tying on some fishing line to hold it at a straight, pleasing angle. "It's the same thing." Maryland's dairy industry is struggling but the state's cow photography business is booming. Of the fewer than 50 professional cattle photographers worldwide, three of them, including Ms. Kelly, are based in Maryland. Their images are published in catalogues that farmers study to choose mates for their cows in hopes of breeding champion milk producers. It's not the cows being promoted but the semen of the bulls that sired them. Transforming a heifer into a pinup for milk isn't easy. Strong legs are a plus, so some photographers use "platform shoes" to accentuate a cow's calves. Others bleach or paint the white patches of black-and-white Holsteins to disguise blemishes. And many glue shut the cows' teats temporarily.

"You've got to take the picture when the cow's got a full-to-bursting udder," said Ms. Kelly of Westminster. "You want to show how productive she is." Since 1988, more than 700 Maryland dairy farms have gone out of business, leaving 864, mainly in Frederick, Carroll and Washington counties. To earn a decent paycheque, Maryland's cow photographers must travel to dairy farms as far-flung as Port Austin, Mich., and Bogota, Colombia. "When I was going at it full bore, I took about 1,000 photos a year," said Jack Remsberg, 71, a Middletown native. "I started out taking pictures for neighbours between millings," he said. "It sort of grew from there by word of mouth." These days, he turns away more clients than he accepts, referring them to Ms. Kelly or Billy Heath of Westminster, another cow photographer. Gary Dell, former president of Carroll County's Holstein Association, said a good cow can be milked for 12 years, three times as long as an average one, and every aspect of the animal's physique affects its productivity and longevity.

The feet, for example. "Cows these days spend so much time on concrete, their feet give out from the stress. So dairymen look for cows that have strong feet," Dell said. Of course, they study the obvious. "You look at the way the animal's udder is attached," Dell said. "You want to make sure it's smooth in front. You want to see strong ligaments and strong veins." Andrea York, spokeswoman for Holstein Association USA, said cattle photography is highly specialised. "To do well at it, you have to be able to read a cow's mind, know what the animal is going to do and present that animal in the best possible light," she said. St Louis Post-Dispatch

HOLY COW

FULTONVILLE, N.Y. (AP). Having a rare red heifer could be a curiosity in this part of the world orignite tensions in the Middle East. Farmer Clarence Treleaven, a student of the Bible, knows some Jews see the sighting of a pure red heifer as a key to salvation. "I'm not of the Jewish faith but I have a love for the Jewish people," the born-again Christian told The Daily Gazette of Schenectady. Treleaven will bring the heifer, named Red, to Temple Beth Tephilah’s Kosher Fair in Troy on Sunday where Rabbi Avraham Laber will inspect the animal to see if she truly is a red heifer. Pure red heifers, or young cows which have never given birth, seem to have died out in Israel since the post-temple period, and it is rare to see a red heifer without white or black spots. According to ancient Jewish writings, the ashes of a red heifer are required to purify Jews before they can enter the Temple in Jerusalem. Ultra-religious Jews see the birth of a red heifer as a harbinger of their Messiah. Treleaven said he doubts Red will pass the Rabbi's inspection, but said he hopes the attraction will otherwise stir up some religious interest and curiosity at the synagogue's educational fair. "I just hope that it does that. I'm going to take her up Sunday to Troy there to the synagogue and show her. I guess we will go from there," Treleaven said.

If Red turns out to be a true red heifer, she could stir up international interest. Nearly a year ago, stories about Melody, another potential red heifer in Israel, touched off tensions between Jews and Muslims. Melody was later found not to be purely red. There are fears that some extremist groups might interpret the birth of a red heifer as a sign the time is right to rebuild the Temple in Israel on the site that now houses some of the holiest shrines in Islam.