Holy Cow

About

Discover how cows have altered human life, human biology, and the geography of the world.

About 8,000 years ago, the relationship between cows and man began with the revolutionary advent of domestication in Mesopotamia, the Indus River Valley, and Africa. There were many possible candidates for the job but only the cow fit the specific criteria humankind needed: not too flighty, breeds well in captivity, grows at a good pace, not aggressive, requires a low maintenance diet. Our ancestors chose wisely: Cows provide just about all of our basic needs, from milk and meat to muscle.

Today there are about 1.5 billion cows in the world. In many different countries humans and cows have formed close relationships. In England, dairy farmer Mark Evans spends all of his waking time with his cows, milking, feeding, and otherwise nurturing them. The African Masai tribe believes that all cattle were given to them from the great god N’gai at the beginning of time — a belief which today remains at the heart of their culture. India is home to a quarter of the world’s cow population. One major reason for this is that India’s majority Hindu community reveres cows and considers them to be “second mothers.”

NATURE’s Holy Cow explores how we’ve changed the cow and how the cow has changed us.

To order a copy of Holy Cow, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Holy Cow was originally posted February 2004.

Production Credits Print

Television Credits

Narrated by
EDWARD HERRMANN

Produced by
LAURA MARSHALL
ANDIE CLARE

Written and Directed by
HARRY MARSHALL

Photography
TED GIFFORDS
ALPHONSE ROY
CHRIS VILE

Music
BARNABY TAYLOR

Editor
PIP HEYWOOD

Graphics
Big Squid

Post Production
Films at 59

Costume & Make Up
JENNY FALCONER
JACKIE RUSSEN

Production Coordinators
RACHEL WOODHAM
RADHA NARAYANAN

Research
ADAM SCOTT
DAVID MARKS

Special Thanks
Ashbrittle Film Foundation
Clearwell Caves
Cotteswold Dairy Ltd
Indian Institute of Animal Welfare
Three Counties Agricultural Society
Blannicombe Farm
The Haven
The Lasater Ranch

Archive Sources
American Hereford Association
The Lewis Family
National Archives at College Park, Maryland

FOR DEVILLIER DONEGAN ENTERPRISES

Supervising Producer
GREG DIEFENBACH

Executive Producers
RON DEVILLIER
BRIAN DONEGAN

For NATURE:

Series Editor
JANET HESS

Supervising Producer
JANICE YOUNG

Producers
PATTY JACOBSON
JILL CLARKE

Associate Producers
GIANNA SAVOIE
IRENE TEJARATCHI

Production Secretary
KELLY LAFFERTY

Manager
EILEEN FRAHER

Production Manager
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

Offline Editor
PATRICK GAMBUTI, JR.

Online Editor
MARK SUTTON

Sound Mixer
ED CAMPBELL

Series Producer
BILL MURPHY

Executive In Charge
WILLIAM GRANT

Executive Producer
FRED KAUFMAN

A Co-Production of Icon Films, Thirteen/WNET New York and Devillier Donegan Enterprises

© 2004 Thirteen/WNET New York and Icon Films All Rights Reserved

This program was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, which is solely responsible for its content.

Web Credits

Producers
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
MARY HOPE GARCIA

Art Director
SABINA DALEY

Designers
MICHAEL DIMAURO
KAREN MATTSON
RADIK SHVARTS

Pagebuilding
BRIAN SANTALONE

Writer
DAVID MALAKOFF

Production Artist
RUIYAN XU

Technical Director
BRIAN LEE

About the Writer

David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.

Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York’s Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Dan Goldman, Executive Director, thirteen.org. Bob Adleman, Business Manager.