I was visiting with Lisa after their bull sale this spring.
She remarked on the overabundance of bulls for sale around the country this year. Competition is stiff. She said she counted the number of bulls advertised on Superior Livestock video and figgered if they were placed end to end they would reach farther than you could point.
Her husband Lee, ever the deep thinker, pondered on the dilemma and came up with the perfect modern genetic answer; outlaw polygamy in cows.
By gosh, I thought, a solution that fits the times. One bull per cow. But then I began to think it through.
Would each cowyage (as opposed to marriage in horses) be intended for life? Or would we allow for divorce and recowyage (or dehorse and remarriage)?
Would calf-support payments then be required till the calves were of weaning age or shipping, whichever came first? And would a heifer that calved out of cowlock be declined subsidy payments and hay stamps if she was still a yearlin’?
Would a cowyage pair be allowed to mingle with other cowyaged couples in the pasture? Could both the bull and the cow be trusted to ignore the lip curling, tail rubbing and perfume of others? Would they stoically pay no attention if sidled up to and mounted by a less disciplined member of their community?
Or would each couple be fenced in a small enclosure; loosely based on a suburban housing development? One where each morning the bull would be driven to an 8 to 5 field with other bulls to spend the day grazing and grumbling about the rancher, the bullfights in Mexico City and how alfalfa ain’t what it used to be?
Would the cows, likewise, drop their calf off at day care and go to their respective cow field where they’d eat grass, talk about their calves and share fantasies about bull pictures in the artificial insemination calendar?
Would cowyages be arranged or would courtship be allowed? Would chaperones be required at the weaning prom?
If a bull was caught posing as a molasses salesman and making unwanted advances at the housecow, would he be hamburger at sunrise?
After considerable rumination I have concluded that trying to work out the details of outlawing polygamy in cows might put an end to it before it began. Even if we passed the law, the plan would probably fail anyway. Cows have never felt guilty about practicing polygamy in the first place. And no amount of political correctness training or moral browbeating would make these now consenting polygamists consider asking that basic question. The one that separated cowkind from mankind: “I know you love me but will you respect me next estrus?”