Cow fights in Valais (VS)

Val d'Hérens

Arolla

Arolla

Arolla Hôtel Kurhaus

Arolla Hôtel Kurhaus

Hotel Kurhaus

Hotel Kurhaus

Tsarmine

Tsarmine

Arolla Mont-Collon

Arolla Mont-Collon

Arolla Pigne

Arolla Pigne

Les Masses - Thyon 1600

Les Masses - Thyon 1600

Dent Blanche et Matterhorn

Dent Blanche et Matterhorn

Snowpark Centralpark

Snowpark Centralpark

Mont-Blanc et Grande Dixence

Mont-Blanc et Grande Dixence

Veysonnaz, station supérieure de la télécabine

Veysonnaz, station supérieure de la télécabine

Thyon - Les Collons

Thyon - Les Collons

Evolène, Dent Blanche, Valais, Suisse

Evolène, Dent Blanche, Valais, Suisse

Evolène - Suisse: Vue sur le village

Evolène - Suisse: Vue sur le village

Vercorin Village - Val d'Anniviers

Vercorin Village - Val d'Anniviers

Cow fights take place throughout the region in which the Hérens breed has its home (Central Valais, Valle d'Aosta in Northern Italy).

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More than any other breed, these small black cows with short, sturdy horns have retained the instinct to organise themselves into a social hierarchy. In an often fierce contest starting in early spring, it is decided which will be the queen cow leading the herd up to the Alpine meadows.

The fights do not take place in organised fashion; each cow simply chooses her opponent on the spur of the moment. She suddenly stops grazing, lowers her head, snorts, and paws the ground with her hooves. If a cow of similar strength accepts the challenge, she wastes no time in informing her opponent in the same manner. Cautiously, they approach each other. The fight begins: heads clash and horns lock, each cow trying to get a good hold. Then they stand firmly and push with all their strength, the stronger one forcing the weaker to retreat. After the contest, which may continue for several minutes, the loser turns around and runs away, followed by the winner, who encourages the loser to remember "who's boss" by adding a few more blows with her horns.

In addition to these spontaneous clashes, there are also organised fights to determine a regional and cantonal queen: : www.raceherens.ch

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