There’s Medieval And Then There’s Medieval


So, chaining up cows in their stalls is medieval apparently. Something which rather goes to show the ignorance and or stupidity of the animal rights activists. This is a form of industrial farming, something that comes from a very much later period than serfs shuffling across the landscape in pursuit of a scrap to eat. This also isn’t just is trivial piece of pendantry, this is important to differentiate.

‘It’s medieval’: why some cows are still living most of their lives tied up

No, it’s not medieval, it’s nothing like it. No self-respecting villein would ever have done such a thing. Quite apart from anything else he’d have starved if he did.

In a farming system criticised as “medieval”, each cow is held in place by a chain or strap around her neck, which restricts movement to standing or sitting. Food and water is brought to the cow, although some farmers untether the animals and allow them into a yard or on pasture for part of the day or during summer months.

Agreed, not a great system in terms of animal welfare. The reason it’s done is because these farms just don’t have the land and they’re stuck in the middle of cities these days. But it’s still not medieval:

“It seems strange that something from the middle ages still exists,” says Sophie Greger from the campaign group Animals’ Angels. “It’s unimaginable to modern consumers and in none of the advertising and branding.”

Really, it’s from an entirely different time, about 500 years different.

Unlike chicken cages and sow stalls, tie stalls are not a modern invention but date back to the 19th century. Modern dairy farming started this way, with stables built adjacent to the house to provide it with heat, according to Marina Von Keyserlingk, a professor in animal welfare at the University of British Columbia.

This is industrialised farming. But then, you know, animal rights activists being out by only half a millennium. Sounds about right for the accuracy of some of their other views.

Oh, and as to why the medieval farming system didn’t do this? Because the cows were integral to the arable system. You had to let them go out and feed on the fallow field because their s**t fertilised it for the next couple of years of the crop rotation. Entirely tethered cows just weren’t part of the medieval farming technology, they couldn’t have been.

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Quentin VoleQ46 Recent comment authors
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‘… rather goes to show the ignorance and or stupidity of the animal rights activists.’

And that they have never seen cows.

‘…each cow is held in place by a chain or strap around her neck, which restricts movement to standing or sitting.’

That is what cows do in the field, stand heads down munching grass, when not standing, they are sitting digesting what they have eaten. When not munching or digesting, they stand about in groups.

PS. Cows are not people.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole

In most of the UK it’s impracticable to keep cows outside 12 months of the year. In winter, the grass doesn’t grow fast enough to feed them and the fields would soon be completely poached. So they’re brought indoors and let out again in the spring. Some farms now operate on the basis of keeping their cows indoors all year round, cutting the grass and bringing it to them, while the slurry is collected (mechanically) and spread on the fields. If done with due care and attention, there’s nothing wrong with this. Unhappy or unhealthy cows are not the object… Read more »