Not so Dumb Animal
Callington Heritage Centre

By: Callington Heritage Centre
Added: 08 April 2016

Checking the books in the "general" section of books on Cornwall it was tempting to browse and the following item drew our attention, it demonstrating that animals may not be as dumb as we suppose. The book by George Ellis is called "A Cornish Camera" (page 23) and has many lovely photographs. Typically we found one of the least historical ones great fun!

In a case that came before Camelford County Court in November 1940 a farmer alleged that a neighbouring smallholder had stolen one of his cows. The only way he could prove ownership of the animal was by displaying that the heifer would come if his cowman called to it. 

The Court adjourned to a nearby field where the cowman called to the animal. It immediately responded by coming when called. The case was won.

To the judge's great delight all those concerned shook hands and the two farmers from Boscastle were once again friends. Jenny, the heifer, had settled the matter decisively.

NB: The natural lifespan of a cow is about twenty years and one member can remember cows of fourteen to twenty one years in a milking herd in the early 1960s. We think this would be very unusual today.