A cow is a beast bred for uniformity. Whether black-and-white Holsteins or ginger-colored Jerseys, the marvel of the herd is that such unvaried selfsameness has been coaxed, over time, out of bovine diversity. Identical cows lift up identical, dozy eyes. Jaws slide, muffled by fodder, chewing cud. A handful of breeds dominates the beef, dairy, and leather industries the world over. Cattle are “a human product like rayon,” Annie Dillard once wrote, encountering steers in Virginia. “They’r [...]
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