The Great Escape


If you ever thought animals don’t think, feel, fret, get excited or joyous, think again… Here are some dairy cows in Holland being released from a building after a long winter.

Permaculture should provide for the happiness of all creatures — and it can.


  1. When I was a boy I was sent to work on a mixed farm in switzerland on weekends and school holidays. Then, the cows were kept inside through the whole of winter. In spring, we would trim their hooves which have grown long due to the lack of “grind” when walking outside, and we put bells (some rather large) on them and let them out. It was all hands on deck – the excited animals jumped like on the video and fences were no obstacles. Which means us humans were equally excited or, in my case, even a bit fearful. It’s quite an emotion when a 600kg+ animal “hops” towards you without showing any indication of slowing down soon. A happy memory ;). Anyway, animal activists have changed things as far as I know and cows now have to be let out even during winter. Which is a bit of an issue as with mixed farms, winters are still busy – it is the time to manage the woodlots (managed commons), trim orchard trees, fix machinery and so forth… Also, I am not sure how the pastures are affected as they lie dormant under snow or are soggy due to the melting snow and the frequent downpours.

  2. This is a yearly event that catches the news every year here in Holland, at the end as last, light news item somewhere in spring. Usually it is accompanied by comments about some dairy farms keeping their cows inside all year long. One dairy producer advertizes that thair cows get to see the grass and sky, and should therefore be happier and healthier. Winters in Holland are usually way too wet for conventional farming to keep dairi cows outside.

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