FROM THE ALPINE PASTURE TO THE ARENA : HERENS COWS
As soon as they leave the stable, on the mountain pasture route, the cows establish a hierarchy in the herd by fighting. They face each other and fight horn against horn without hurting each other, following instinctive rules. As in a judo fight, as soon as one of the two cows recognizes that the other is stronger, she slips away and the fight ends.
While cows are usually bred for meat or milk, the Hérens cows continues to exist thanks to the passion of a few breeders in Valais, Valle d'Aosta and the Chamonix valley. This cow breed doesn't fit the standards in terms of productivity but has a particularity : fighting.
Throughout the three and a half months in the pastures, the cowherds accompany around a hundred cows belonging to various breeders on transhumance. Daily, they take care care of the cows but they also take note of the struggles that take place between the cows. On the descent of the pastures, the one who has not lost against any other will be declared queen of the herd and crowned with a bouquet of flowers.
To end the season, in the fall, cantonal, national and also international fights between Switzerland, France and Italy take place in various arenas, in particular at the roman amphitheater in Martigny (Valais). The fights do not give place to bets and the winner is given a bell. Yet even if there is no money at stake: "In Switzerland, for some, having a queen is like having a racehorse."
More information available on request
All the photographs of the Hérens Cow