Despite the abundance of dairy and beef all over Taiwan (even if half the population is lactose intolerant), one of the first things I noticed when I started to venture out into the countryside was a complete lack of cows.
Not that I was expecting to see them everywhere the second I stepped outside of the city boundaries but in my travels from the north end of Taiwan right down to the southern coast – I never saw as much as one pink udder.
Where were all the cows?
People told me there were dairy farms around but cows being cows, it wasn’t like the sheltered pig farms you always smell but can’t actually see into (unless you dare to creep closer and risk the ire of the owner getting upset you’re taking photos of his precious pigs as I once did).
Anyway, a few years passed and I just began to accept that there were no cows in Taiwan. I sort of adopted a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Beef was all around me but I had no idea where it came from.
It wasn’t until I started exploring Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township and nearby Toufen that I actually saw my first cow in Taiwan. Infact, in the few weeks I spent exploring the town I saw more cows than the rest of Taiwan put together (not hard considering that number was and still is “0″).
The first cow is one regular readers would have already met:
Spotted (or heard rather) while we attempted to navigate Toufen’s “culture” bike trail, this cow was mooing up a storm and sounded somewhat distraught.
After checking it was ok and not really finding any reason for it to be mooing so much (loneliness?), we moved on. But it stands as the first cow I ever saw here.
Closer to Jhunan’s coast, these next two cows looked a bit more happy under their tree:
Obviously it’d have been much nicer if they built a fence around the area and let them roam around the paddock but compared to the cow above who had no room to move at all, these cow were being kept pretty decent.
The third cow I saw was a bit of a “wtf” moment. Riding along the backstreets of Jhunan, all of a sudden we started hearing some very loud moos. Looking around and seeing no greenery, our curiosities were piqued and we began to trace the source:
How’s that for a makeshift barn. This was in the middle of the day and the cow was tied up so it couldn’t leave the area.
I have no idea if they do but I hope they let it roam a bit when the sun goes down. Poor thing.
And as much as you might like milk… what on Earth are you doing keeping a cow in urban Jhunan?
Anyway, that was a bit of a strange week what with three cows popping up randomly after never having seen one.
Unfortunately though I haven’t seen any other cows since then so I’m still not really sure where the rest of Taiwan’s cows are at…