Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Cow tipping

Cow tipping is a hypothetical recreational activity in which a person or group of people sneak up on a standing, sleeping cow and push it over. Some variants of the myth state that the cow is then unable to get up.

It is unclear whether cow tipping is actually practiced anywhere, or whether anyone has ever successfully tipped a cow. Some people claim that cow tipping is nothing but an urban legend. There are a number of problems with the traditional account of cow tipping. First, cows don't sleep standing. (Though horses do.) Second, a grown cow weighs on the order of 700 kg (1,500 pounds) and is unlikely to be budged by even the most determined human or small group, though it may be annoyed. Significantly less force would be required to completely flip a king-sized bed.

Some versions of the cow tipping story attempt to evade these objections. Some claim, for example, that although cows lie down to dream, they can still doze while standing. These alternate stories can also be refuted.

Cow tipping has been compared to a snipe hunt; both may be fabrications which rural teens use to lure unsuspecting city kids into pastures at night in order to ridicule them.

Cow tipping arguably became real for many moviegoers who saw the film Heathers, in which a couple of jocks perform this stunt. Regardless of the number of attempted cow tippings prior to the film, it may have inspired some new attempts.

Some farm communities have passed laws prohibiting cow tipping, as the activity is likely to result in injury to the prospective tippers and/or to the cow. However, a cow awakened by an attempted tipping would presumably be the less injured party (both in terms of physical harm and loss of dignity) after such an undertaking.

The cow tipping legend probably draws its strength from the fact that cows are incredibly funny.

External links

The following web sites debunk the notion that cow tipping is actually a practiced activity: