During a recent summer trip, I heard the most ridiculous statistic about cows. Unfortunately, it turned out to be true.

Cooley walt polo
Editor and Podcast Host / Progressive Dairy

I heard it while on a boat for an ocean tour. The tour guide mentioned that no one on the boat should be worried about sharks while enjoying the sea during their stay. I wasn’t. However, the tall, short-haired female marine biologist giving the tour made it a point to say there were only five fatal shark attacks last year but, on average, 22 people died from “cow attacks” each year.

Using these simple statistics, she claimed you’re “three to four times more likely to die from a cow attack than a shark one.”

I guess the comment was supposed to make the skittish non-swimmers on the boat feel safer. I had to roll my eyes. Then I turned to everyone around me and used the comment as a way to start up a conversation about my job as a dairy magazine editor. Thankfully, no one told me they were going to stop drinking milk or eating cheese because of how dangerous cows are.

I had to validate whether the guide was right. Sure enough, my internet search for “shark fatalities in 2017” returned the following headline: Cows kill more Americans each year than sharks. Why was she defending an ocean predator – the shark – by comparing it to a domesticated land-dwelling grazer – the cow? Well, it was “Shark Week,” after all.


Perhaps the guide had heard the statistic recently on the TV during the annual week dedicated to the fearsome, toothy fish species. But it got me thinking, why don’t cows get a “Cow Week”?

I mean, if sharks are the mysterious villains of the animal universe, cows have to be the Captain America hero figure. Why can’t they get their own week of cable network air time?

For example, instead of watching Shaq overcome his fear of sharks, viewers could watch Carrie Underwood ditch her vegan diet, overcome her fear of meat and share her favorite dairy-themed recipes. Or instead of watching a computer-animated swimming race between Michael Phelps and a shark, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest winner could try in real life to eat the weight of a cow’s daily ration in hot dogs.

These regular features throughout the week could be broken up with short clips of people who volunteered to become human salt-lick blocks. We could all watch their slow-motion reactions when getting licked in the face by a cow. Come on RFD-TV, let’s make Cow Week happen.

If you thought I was being serious (because I usually am) for those last few sentences, I was only joking. I’m not much of a comedian, but during long, hot summer days and month after month of draining low milk prices, a little humor goes a long way. (See the article "In the dog days of summer, people and cows need extra care".) I bet the only way to make Cow Week really happen would be for it to be humorous.

If you made it through this entire editorial and my dry humor, you should reward yourself by reading "The Manure Spreader: Chicken Fingers". There you can read a real humorist, Tim Moffett. Tim was recently signed by famed comedians Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy to a record deal. His new album, Farm Raised, is likely available on your favorite entertainment platform.

I’m certain if Cow Week does become a thing, he will likely be a part of it with an hour-long comedy special.  end mark

Walt Cooley