The Cow Couch

When you asked me if I wanted to sit on a cow, I naturally thought of one that trots around in the pasture, eats grass and lies down in between to chew the cud. So, I said if the cow is okay with it and I didn’t feel like bothering her, then I’d like to try it. You showed yourself convinced that the cow didn’t mind, because she was used to it and hadn’t resisted it until now. I only became suspicious when you led me into your house instead of behind it to a pasture. What should a cow be doing in the house? Is not a house arranged to meet human needs utterly unfit for a cow? I wanted to ask that, but I didn’t get around to it because you led me straight into the living room.

As I looked around, I knew it wasn’t necessary to ask these questions because I could answer them myself. In the middle of the living room there was a cow that was nice to sit on, because she was dead. Mouse or rather cow death. But not just that, she had apparently been murdered and then stuffed so that she was lying half on her side with her legs bent. Well, the stomach and chest area seemed a little dented, because that was the only way to create a comfortable seat. Otherwise, there was no doubt it was a cow. She held her head up and looked a little to the left so that I could feel her eyes on me. Even though I knew she was dead, I shuddered. It was as if even her lifeless eyes, which didn’t seem like it at all, were speaking to me. What was I thinking, first keeping her in the most horrible conditions, tethered, and then possibly murdering her so I could have a couch? It seemed so real that I had to hold myself back from saying that she wasn’t my couch and therefore didn’t die because of me. But not only the head, also the tail and the hooves, everything had been prepared lifelike. I finally realized that you were looking at me in amusement, now asking me to sit on the cow, because I could finally have convinced myself that she would not actually object, since I certainly do not limit her expressions of life would. But in the course of their deaths, I pointed out, as it seemed highly irreverent to me. To present the suffering so boldly and heartlessly, to make the pain of a living being felt that was never allowed to live, only to be killed for the lowest needs, I found that frightening. How could you possibly do that, I thought? Whereupon you no longer amused me but looked at me seriously. You also asked me, what I guess, how many dead cows were standing in living rooms to sit on or made up the seats in cars or were just banally standing in shoe closets or hanging on the arms of women, preferably women. Of course, you don’t want to exclude the gentlemen here. I could probably only reply that there were probably many, that millions of cows would have to die for it, were skinned in agony just so that people could sit on them, wear them or carry them with them as a prestige object. The only difference, you continued, is that it’s obvious here, this was a cow, with the legs and the tail and the head and the eyes. In order not to be reminded that the material from which the various objects were made were sentient, suffering beings, one would make it unrecognizable, cut away all the attributes that could remind it, so that only a clean raw material that has been preserved with highly toxic chemicals and has a pleasant feel and a homely feel to it. I finally understood that this kind of presentation could open our eyes to the suffering we like to hide so as not to be reminded that there is so much around us for which one of our fellow creatures had to lose his life. Perhaps many more people would give up their leather couches if they were aware that they were sitting on a dead cow.

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