'Knickers the giant cow' is not a cow nor that big, says animal expert
This week, the story of 'Knickers the giant cow' broke the internet. The impressive 7-year-old Holstein-Friesian stands 6'4" tall, and weighs 3,086 pounds. His enormous size actually saved his life, because slaughterhouses can't handle his weight, or girth. As a result, Knickers will spend the rest of his life on the farm, where the rest of the herd looks up to him as a natural leader.
Australian rancher Geoff Pearson owns the property, which is home to 20,000 cattle. "[Knickers] was always a standout who stood above the rest," Geoff told Daily Mail Australia. "We kept him on because we thought he had potential to be a big steer but never imagined he'd grow to be this huge.... It's quite daunting being up close to him, he's far bigger than any other steer I've had. But he's very placid, not aggressive, just inquisitive."
The internet fell in love with 'Knickers the giant cow,' but according to an animal expert, he's not a cow, nor actually that big. Aniek Bouwman, a Netherlands-based animal breeding expert, told the Washington Post, "Knickers is not a cow but a steer, because males are typically quite a bit larger than females." Also, he was castrated.
You see, confused city slickers, a cow is defined as "a fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of ox." Therefore, technically, Knickers is actually a steer, "a male domestic bovine animal that has been castrated." However, the loose, informal definition of cow is "a domestic bovine animal, regardless of sex or age." So, I'm still going to call Knickers a cow. Don't @ me, farmers! Get back to milking pigs or combining silos or whatever.
In its most spectacular reporting since The Pentagon Papers, The Post does not dispute the fact that Knickers is large. "At the shoulder, Knickers stands a mighty 6’4”, which means he’s two inches taller than Arnold Schwarzenegger, And he weighs roughly 2,800 pounds, which is the approximate equivalent of 14-and-a-half Danny DeVitos," states the outlet. (Props for the Twins reference!)
However, the animal is not as large as you think. "This story needs some perspective," said Bouwman. She points out that in the photo, Knickers is surrounded by wagyu cattle, who are smaller than the Holstein-Friesian breed. "In other words, Knickers is a large specimen, but he looks larger because he’s standing among a herd of Danny DeVitos, not a herd of Arnold Schwarzeneggers," wrote The Post.
The Washington Post's buzzkill article, entitled "The giant cow is a lie," infuriated Twitter users. Stop ruining our fun with truth and journalism, you jerks! If Knickers is "Just a big steer," "is a picasso just a painting?" asked @mr_ian. "Do you enjoy destroying all of our joy?" replied @JillFilipovic. "Are you going to publish a piece debunking Santa Claus next?"
And @mollypriddy drily observed, "oh NOW you use 'lie' in a headline." (When covering the truth-allergic Donald Trump, the media frequently says "false statement" instead of "lie." A "lie" is a statement that is known to be untrue and is used to mislead, which cannot always be proven.)
Hilariously, The Washington Post tweeted that they're not checking the replies to their tweet. Whatever, WaPo! Democracy dies in darkness, but Knickers the Giant Cow lives forever.