January 2018

Cows, instinctively follow the herd. In fact, belonging to a group is essential for a cow’s well-being, since it protects them from predators. Within the pecking order of the herd, cows maintain lifelong social connections with each other, with whom they eat and ruminate simultaneously. This behavior, together with their strong need for structure, leads to a set daily routine. On each livestock farm the daily rhythm of the herd is also defined by the farmers actions, like milking and feeding times. As a result, worldwide every group of cows has a unique sense of ‘herd time’. The Koe Koe Klok shows the herd time of three different farms; a biodynamic dairy farm, a meat farm and a high-tech dairy farm.The clock is an educational tool raising a discussion about farming methods, which is essential considering the current discussion about animal welfare in the livestock industry, as well as its environmental impact. By passing the Koe Koe Klok daily, our human time perception merges with the ‘herd time’, creating an empathic relationship with the animals. For example, seven o’clock becomes milking o’clock, reminding us to the groups of animals daily living for our own human needs.

To substantiate the project, I wrote the essay 'Follow the herd'. Send an to mathildenakken@hotmail.com to receive the essay.