--An Nguni Cow in Maclear, South Africa taken by friend Scott Martin. This place for him is one of his favorite places in the world, and would not be what it is without the cattle that roam there.
Elsewhere we select for big muscles, large body size, particular skin colour, massive mammary glands and overactive hormones to increase milk productivity. We have shaped the cows that we know today according to own own whims and fancies, much in the same way as we have shaped dogs, cats, chickens and other domestic animals. Cows in India have not been interfered with in this way. South Indians do not select for a specific morphological quality, but rather let the cattle be, and in turn find a way to live together. These cattle behave more like dogs and cats than cows I had met elsewhere. They are affectionate, they rub up against you as a passing cat would. They nudge gently, and show obvious delight when scratched behind their ears.
So what does this say about us? I think it says many things, much of which you would discover yourself by spending a moment with a cow. It is no unlike staring into a mirror, one that reveals our priorities, our tastes, our aesthetics, our addictions and our respect for life. We can see by her shape, her udder size, her uniformity, her overall body size and her level of fear or affection, just what people prioritize in that place.