What was once part of a tradition (and a hilarious SNL skit) may become history for a good reason as animal rights activists are calling for farmers to ditch cowbells in Germany.
The activists are claiming the devices usually hung around cows’ necks can be cruel and disturbing to the animals, effectively driving them “mad.”
The push came after a Swiss study found “the behaviour of cows is disturbed by wearing a bell.” The better alternative would then be to have GPS trackers on the cows’ necks so farmers can keep track of them in the mountainous Alpine regions, said the German Animal Protection Federation.
The Bavarian government, farmers and tourist board, however, disagree and have announced they will fight this proposed change.
“I don’t believe that the bells annoy the cows – neither because of their weight nor their sound,” said state agriculture minister Helmut Brunner.
Farmers’ leader Franz Hang called cowbells “a tradition and part of our identity,” and said the activists’ demands were “total nonsense.”
The argument of tradition did not work in 2012 when cowbells were banned in a small rural town in neighboring Austria as neighbors complained the bells were keeping them awake at night. Time will tell if it will work in Germany but if they’re loud enough to wake the neighbors, imagine having them around your neck!