One spectator sport of great interest in Switzerland's Canton Valais is cow fighting. The fighting?
LV Swiss mountain PAN SV&CU Cows being led up mountainside (5 shots)
SV&CU Cows being numbered
SV Herders standing by cows (2 shots)
STV&CU Horns being blunted
SV Crowd seated on mountain side
GV Ditto PAN TO cows fighting (2 shots)
LV Crowd on mountain side
CU&SV Two other cows fight
LV Two others fight
SV Cows preparing to fight (2 shots)
LV Other fighting (2 shots)
CU Old man looks on
GV&CU two others fighting
SV Victorious cow
Initials JH/BOB/ES JH/BOB/MH
SPORT: COW FIGHTING
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Background: One spectator sport of great interest in Switzerland's Canton Valais is cow fighting. The fighting is a natural battle for supremacy among the animals and, unlike most cows in the region who are well-behaved, only one breed indulges in the activity.
An annual event by the small, black and brawny Eringer cows, the fighting had to be postponed for a month because heavy winter snows forced the herds to remain below the mountain pastures for longer than usual. The Eringer cows fight when they have reached the high ground and are settling down for a summer's grazing. The animals spend the winter confined to their cowsheds on the farms and move to the high pastures when the wether is warm and dry.
Before the animals begin their battle, herdsmen cut their horns down to avoid serious injury and large crowds gather on the grassy slopes to watch the combat. the Swiss call the Eringer "reindeer" because of its particularly pointed horns.
Horns crack loudly as the rivals bang their heads together, lunging and pushing until one or the other is forced to its knees and flees. The duels continue until the final victor emerges and is recognised by the rest of the herd as the undisputed queen for the remainder of the summer.
No real harm is done, but the struggles are said to be very exciting. the unique factor about the fighting is that it is only the Eringer herd that indulges in the battles for supremacy on its own initiative. the elimination contests are eagerly awaited by the herdsmen and the animals' owners as each man hopes the ultimate winner will be from his own herd.