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Even on a small, family-owned dairy farm, life as a milk cow looks not so great. I mean, you do spend a lot of time standing around in a stall with devices attached to your nipples. That’s cool if it’s your thing, and if there are enough of you who feel that way, I should maybe try to market my manuscript 50 Shades of Hay. But most of us look at that scenario and think “jeez, you could at least get them some fancy furniture, maybe a massage now and then.” Which may be why the Van Loon Dairy just spent $100,000 on 300 waterbeds for its cows.
The cow stalls are normally filled with a soft grass seed byproduct, but that gets shifted around when the cows lie down and stand up. Waterbeds always move cushioning right where it’s needed — when a cow steps on the bed, it pushes water forward to the spot where her knees will hit when she lies down — and then snap back into place. Plus, the rubber beds are bacteria-resistant, and apparently tough enough to not be punctured by a hoof.
The Van Loons aren’t the first to outfit their cow stalls with bourgeois bedroom furniture. The trend started in Wisconsin, then moved to California, and is now catching on in Oregon. Pretty soon all small-farm dairy cows will sleep better than you or me. Which, considering what the rest of their lives are like, seems pretty fair.