BOVINES

TODAY’S ALTRUISM

The other day after the TiVo “pause” had run out and the TV switched to live, there was an interesting program on about cows. What another entry about cows, you say? Just a coincidence, I don’t have a cow fetish. Anyway, this segment dealt with the cow as being the most important domesticated animal to a lot of people in the world, sometimes the difference between living and starving to death. A cow can be part of a dowry or a bartering exchange. It gives its owner milk and milk products, meat, and various parts are used as tools or clothing. In one scene, a group of Massai tribesmen are sitting around a fire and one is explaining the news he has heard about the attack on the United States on 9/11. He very graphically holds up both arms to represent the World Trade Center and shows with his hand how the plane flew into one of the towers. The listeners have expressions of such horror on their faces. In a gesture of compassion and sympathy, they offer to send one of their cows, the most important thing they own, to the people of New York City. It is the greatest gift that they can offer. I found this story amazingly touching.

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