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Cow Appreciation Day, coined by Chick-fil-A, occurs annually on the second Tuesday of July (July 13). There are more reasons to celebrate cows than just free Chick-fil-A in July, but a free chicken sandwich isn’t a bad perk!
*Please note that Cow Appreciation Day 2020 was postponed by Chick-Fil-A because of the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
History of Cow Appreciation Day
The first Cow Appreciation Day was launched in 2004, in light of Chick-fil-A’s humorous “Eat Mor Chikin” marketing campaign, which began in 1995. The idea behind the campaign is that cows want people to eat more chicken instead of beef. While cows help produce extremely delicious byproducts, like milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, we eat much more beef overall than those dairy options. Though beef can be extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, and good to eat in moderation, there’s an appreciation we should be giving to the animals themselves that we often overlook.
Humans have been drinking milk from cows for thousands of years. Modern dairy farming began in the early 1900s after pasteurization was developed. Today, up to 65% of people worldwide are unable to digest lactose, with that number around 90% in certain ethnic groups, including Native Americans, African Americans, and those of Hispanic origin. So why are we still drinking milk? To start, it’s delicious, and often a key ingredient in many recipes. However, recently milk alternatives have been gaining popularity and momentum for many adults worldwide. Leading health organizations still recognize the nutrition benefits of milk for young children, and recommend natural dairy milk over plant-based milk for adults only.
Lactose issues aside, cows have given us a lot to be grateful for in the past thousand of years and longer. The ASPCA states that many cows, and other farm animals alike, are treated inhumanely on factory farms. It doesn’t have to be this way. Small-scale family farms and homesteading farms are managed differently than “factory farms”, which have 500 cattle or more. Supporting these small-scale farms, which are likely owned by families instead of corporations, strengthens local economies, and ensures cows get the care and respect they deserve.
Cow Appreciation Day timeline
Origins of the domestic cow.
Grain and cattle were used as currency and traded.
Milking cows began.
First known cattle in Africa.
Christopher Columbus brought cattle to America.
Cow Appreciation Day FAQs
What day is Cow Appreciation Day?
Celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of July, Cow Appreciation Day 2020 is on July 14.
What is Cow Appreciation Day 2019?
2019’s Cow Appreciation Day – held on July 9 – saw the holiday’s organizer, Chick-fil-A, breaking out its annual tradition of giving a free meal to customers who came dressed as cows.
Can you go through the drive-thru for Cow Appreciation day?
Yes, as long as you show up and show out dressed as a cow, it doesn’t matter whether you go in the store or just through the drive-thru window.
Cow Appreciation Day Activities
Hug a cow
If you’re lucky enough to own cows, or live near a cattle farm, visit your local cattle friends (don’t actually hug a cow without prior permission from the owner.) If you aren’t near a cattle farm, check to see if you might live near a farm animal sanctuary.
Thank a dairy farmer
Thank a local dairy farmer in person, or buy local milk and dairy products from them.
Dress up as a cow and visit Chick-fil-A
Most Chick-fil-A’s will offer a free meal if you dress up as a cow and visit their restaurant.
5 FACTS ABOUT COWS
Cows are very social
They are very social, emotional creatures who form tight bonds with their friends and family, especially the bond between a mother and her calves, which both will show extreme distress if separated.
Cows produce more milk when they are happier
A recent study has just concluded that cattle who have lived a happier life produce more nutritious milk with more calcium.
Cows can produce up to 125 pounds of saliva in a day
To process their food, cows don’t have four stomachs, but their stomachs have four chambers - The rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum chambers help them break down the tough grass they digest.
Cows are sacred in India
You will see cows roaming the streets everywhere in India, because they are considered holy, and no hamburgers, because eating the meat of a cow is considered sinful, due to the beliefs of Hinduism.
Cows have great memory
Cows are known to remember almost everything. They also have great spatial memory.
Why We Love Cow Appreciation Day
Cows produce essential foods we eat daily
Cows give us the ability to have the dairy products we love, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. The typical American consumes slightly less than two cups of total dairy each day, which is less than the USDA recommended two to three cups.
The U.S. economy relies on cows
Based on a 2014 economic published analysis, beef cattle production contributed approximately $165 billion to the U.S. economy through direct and indirect economic and employment opportunities.
They’re adorable, kind creatures
We have a lot more in common with cows than we think. We share 80% of our DNA with cows, according to a 2009 study in the journal “Science.” Also, cows have been known to form friendships and familial ties, as humans do. Like humans, cows also show extreme excitement after being let out into an open field, after long periods of time indoors.
Cow Appreciation Day dates