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Those Contented Swiss Cows

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Why is Swiss cheese so excellent? Because it comes from really contented cows!

I live in Le Locle, Switzerland, surrounded by pastures on rolling green hills in the Jura Mountains. This time of year the hills are darkened with cow manure that accumulated as the cows were shut up for the winter in barns while mountains of manure piled up outside. With the advent of spring, the farmers are busy spreading the natural fertilizer over the pastures, which will result in the greenest, healthiest grass you can find. The air is ‘perfumed’ with what I call ‘Eau du Locle’. The Swiss farmers excel at sustainable agriculture.

I’ve also noticed that farmers hang large brush contraptions outside the barns. The brushes are activated when the cows stand up against them and, as they rotate, the cows get a stiff brush massage. I’ve actually seen cows standing in line, waiting their turn at the spinning brush.

And then there are the bells the cows wear around their necks, tinkling and jangling as they meander the Swiss hillsides, creating their own symphony of sound. Some farmers have switched the bells out for a GPS tracking device attached to the cows’ necks with a collar … not nearly as poetic.

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