Hong Kong’s Wildified Cows

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Author: Yuen Yik Tin
Translation: Chapman Chen

There are no wild cows but a considerable number of wildified cows in Hong Kong. Since Hong Kong agriculture began to decline in the 1980s, farmers have abandoned cows which had assisted in plowing and let them roam in mountains and forests. Gradually, they have evolved their own groups, which are distributed over different regions in the New Territories.

Existence of Cows in HK as International News

More than ten years ago, I received a few friends from Taiwan. One evening, we drove through Kam Tin. A small group of huge buffalos moved past one side of the road. My Taiwanese friends remarked that that was the greatest cultural shock for them.

”Buffalos can be seen so easily in Hong Kong? That’s international news indeed! People may not believe us when we go back to Taiwan and tell them about that.” As a matter of fact, many Hongkongers do not believe that, either. The existence of cows in the New Territories is a formulation rather than an experience. The formulation may also remain as: There are cows in the New Territories because they are needed by the farmers to help with plowing.

When the cows moved to the country parks and led their own lives instead of plowing fields, they and we parted peacefully. No more emotional ties? There are certain residents on the Lantau Island who are very concerned with the buffalos which live in Pui O. They think that we should defend their right to live there, that they are part of the ecological system. How do wildified cows integrate with the ecology? With what creatures in the system do they interact? This is a research topic, indeed. Be that as it may, whether people do respect ecology is quite another story.

Wildified Cows will Sit and Meditate

In Europe, there is a school of agriculture known Bio-dynamic Agriculture. They think that among all the animals that live with human, cow is the most special one. They believe that when a cow sits on the ground with its four legs bent, its four stomachs will ruminate over the grass it has eaten and will meditate during the process of digestion. The cow has four hooves and two horns. As the stomachs of the cow keep ruminating over the energy of the eaten grass, that energy is locked by the hooves and horns such that it cannot leave the body of the cow. Hence the dung of the cow is imbued with energy. Put some dung into a cow’s horn as a container, bury it underground before the Autumnal Equinox, and dig it out on Spring Equinox; the dung, full of cosmic energy, will be able to rejuvenate soil the energy of which is damaged.

After hearing that, I deliberately went to the country park to see how those wildified cows sat in meditation. Whether they were really meditating, I could not be sure. However, I carefully observed again how they grazed. They stuck out their tongue, rolled the grass into the mouth cavity, and then pulled it off! They could pull off the long grasses but not the short ones.

Wildified Cows’ Grazing and Grassland of Country Parks

Not until I looked around the territory where the cows grazed and rested did I realize that all long they had been gardeners for the sustainability of the country parks! The cows can only eat long grass but cannot pull off short grass. As time goes by, long grass is cut short and those wild grass species that are unable to grow close to the ground become extinct. The green grass carpets of country parks have come into existence as a result of the wildified cows’ grazing. Do you still remember that grassland of Hong Kong Stadium which had wasted millions of Hong Kong dollars?

Although the cows no longer plow, they are still somewhat connected with us.


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