The evidence versus cow tipping is immense, and backed up by both farmers and also the laws of physics (more on that later), however the simplest bit of proof we can point to: YouTube.

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While in the background of the civilization there have actually surely been a couple of unlucky cows shoved to their side through boozed-up morons, we feel confident in speak this wake up at a rate roughly equivalent come the Chicago Cubs to win the world Series.

The evidence versus cow tipping is immense, and backed increase by both farmers and the laws of physics (more on the later), however the simplest bit of proof we can suggest to: YouTube.

YouTube, the largest clearinghouse of human being stupidity the civilization has ever before known – wherein you have the right to watch hours of kids taking the cinnamon challenge, teens jumping turn off rooftops ~ above trampolines, or the explosive results of fireworks set off at home – falls short to supply one single actual cow-tipping video. (The one exception is a Russian dashcam video, which shows a semitruck full of cattle overturning – and cows shaking us off and walking away.)

And yet, asking a room complete of non-farmers about cow tipping and you’ll still uncover plenty the believers. Regardless of reams and also reams of articles debunking the idea, cow tipping, like crop circles, continues to exist together a strange rural legend – the distinction being there’s at the very least photographic proof of crop circles.


So why walk the myth of cow tipping persist?

A 1,400-pound dairy products heifer is a broad, squarely built animal – there’s a factor the adjective “beefy” exists. You’d have much more luck trying to guideline over a Camry 보다 a cow.

Part the this, of course, is that the closest many human being come to a cow is see a Holstein follow me the interstate. Glimpsed in ~ 65 miles per hour, it’s possible to imagine a docile bovine conveniently overturned by a blacked-out college bro. Method a cow top top foot and you’ll conveniently realize how an overwhelming the job of tipping would be. A 1,400-pound dairy heifer is a broad, squarely built pet – there’s a reason the adjective “beefy” exists. You’d have more luck make the efforts to pointer over a Camry 보다 a cow.

Nate Wilson, 66, flourished up about cows, started milking cows in 1970 and also recently retirement after marketing his dairy farm in Sinclairville, brand-new York. “I think I understand a thing or two around cattle,” that says. And for him, the whole notion the cow tipping is, to put it politely, bullcrap. “There’s much more cows that have been tipped in people’s imaginations,” says Wilson, “than in the actual world.”

The Non-Fake way to pointer a Cow

Wilson points out number of factors. An initial off, cows don’t sleep standing increase – that’s what horses do. Cows actually invest a good deal the time on their bellies, digesting food, and dozing on their stomachs. Secondly, cows are normally wary animals. Watch a team of cows laying under in a pasture, Wilson says, and also you’ll watch that no two of them suggest in the exact same direction – component of their instinct because that protecting the herd against the many natural predators cows when faced. Beef, as Wilson jokes, has actually been what’s because that dinner because that as lengthy as livestock have existed. As a result, they have actually “incredibly well emerged senses that smell and also hearing.”

Wilson claims that also after years of working closely with his cattle, they would remain apprehensive as soon as he approached in ~ night. “A group of strangers walking up on them?” he says with a laugh. “I don’t think that’s walking to it is in possible.” In his plenty of decades of dairy product farming, Wilson says he never ever heard that cow tipping occurring in his own fields, or in the fields of any kind of fellow dairy farmers.

But to speak our hypothetical cow tippers acquired lucky enough to gain close come a cow at night. There’s still the matter of the brute force needed to get the cow over. In 2005, university of brother Columbia college student Tracy Boechler and also doctor the zoology Margo Lillie ran the number on cow tipping. Your findings? There’s no means one person might tip a cow. Two people? probably – yet not in real world conditions.


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Diagram adapted from well-known Mechanics, making use of the work of Dr. Margo Lillie and Tracy Boecher.


“Two can do it in theory,” states Dr. Lillie. “But it’s not going to be easy, and also as quickly as the cow responds by bracing it s her or leaning right into you – i m sorry she will perform – it will certainly be even harder.” Cows, after ~ all, stand on 4 legs and also will quickly change their load to a wider, more stable stance if moved against. And Lillie and also Boechler’s calculations are based upon an unmoving cow in equilibrium in i beg your pardon slow, stable force might be applied without pushback – one optimum (and unrealistic) state for cow tipping. Pull the end your high-school text book and also look up Newton’s second Law: Force equates to mass times acceleration. A cow has a many mass, and also you’ll want to relocate that mass rather quickly, prior to the cow deserve to react. Which way you’ll should generate a lot an ext force. Per she calculations, the would call for at least five, and probably more like 6 pushers. “It simply makes the physics of the all, in my opinion, impossible,” states Dr. Lillie.

The paper, which poured cold water end cow tipping, drew a same amount of attention online. “I couldn’t believe the number of people responding to one article,” she says, v the weariness that a physician of zoology who currently gets constant phone calls about cow tipping. “Someone, ns think he was in Texas, claimed you can do it if take it you take it a operation at the cow and also got somebody on the various other side of the cow,” in effect taking far the cow’s capacity to brace itself. “So that’s cheating, but that’s a means of doing it,” says Dr. Lillie. “Of course, the guy on the various other side the the cow has to move an extremely quickly to get out of the way, i m sorry is a stupid point to do. Yet the entirety thing is just a stupid point to carry out from the get-go.”

So, then, right here is ours working concept on the persistence of the legend of cow tipping: First, the idea itself is funny. Sabina Magliocco, professor that Anthropology and Folklore at California State University, points out that a good myth or legend has actually the same element as a good joke. “They indicate ‘symbolic inversion,"” she says. “You’re placing the civilization – or in this case a cow – ~ above its side.” A dozing cow being knocked over has a particular Jackass-esque appeal come it, the wham-bam brutality the something big and watch immobile all of sudden going ass over teakettle.

Second, starting in the mid-’80s, cow tipping became something that a pop society phenomena. 2 meatheads invest a drunken evening cow tipping in the ’80s classic Heathers. Beavis and Butthead unsuccessfully walk cow tipping. Chris Farley ends up v a challenge full the cow pie after going a failed cow tipping exploration with plunder Lowe in Tommy Boy. Dairy products farmer Nate Wilson says he never ever heard of cow tipping until the so late ’70s or beforehand ’80s and wonders if the notorious sequence in Animal House, in which a steed is snuck right into the dean’s office, had actually something to execute with it. “Maybe that acquired the wheels rolling top top this,” the muses. That cow tipping plays into particular preconceptions around the paltry entertainment options easily accessible to those in rural areas doesn’t pains either.

Third, cow tipping is basically a muddier, drunker, and an ext dangerous version of the snipe hunt. You take it a wet-behind-the-ears boy out right into the field, feed them a few brews, and also tell him come go uncover Bessie and give a good shove. You, meanwhile, spend some high quality time listening to who slipping and also sliding in a dark and muddy field.

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“I think there’s most likely as many cow tipping expeditions organized in assorted tap rooms as snipe hunts,” claims Wilson. “Some poor innocent has actually been hornswoggled right into going the end on a cow tipping expedition, I’m specific of that.”

In various other words, as lengthy as there’s booze, gullibility and a pasture nearby, cow tipping will live on. Luckily because that the cows, there’s very little chance they’ll ever finish up actually on their sides.