Some things are a bit different here in the countryside of France. For instance, how many cities offer a calf as a prize? Here in La Clusaz, it’s a regular thing. You might remember the raffle last year, and now, if you guess the right weight of this calf, she’s yours. She’s worth €200, and if more than one person guesses the weight, the winners share the prize. I’m not quite sure how you share a calf. I guess you take a share of the money instead. Or, as a French friend suggested, meat tray time!
Hang on, hang on. Don’t get too worried just yet. For a start, this is a dairy cow, so she will enjoy eating grass for many more years yet. Also, she was on offer at the Foire de la Croix in La Clusaz last weekend, which is basically a giant cow exchange. Think stock exchange, with moos and poos.
Rows of cows wait patiently before being walked around the showing area while local farmers appraise each cow on offer. Cows are sold for lots of reasons. It helps keep the gene pool healthy, and sometimes, cows just don’t get on with their herd, so a cow exchange is a popular event in farming areas like this. Most of the people at the fair were farmers and cheese makers. The few tourists were easy to spot as the ones patting the cows. I was one of them.
It’s great to see that the cows are given names. Take Urinette, for example (see photo below). While my French friend who wanted the meat tray prize told me it’s like saying ‘urination’ in English, I looked it up and discovered it’s actually a device women can use to pee standing up (like the She Pee). Why on earth is there a cow called Urinette? Cows stand up to pee, after all, so is it something else special she does? Apart from her name, the sign above her tells us that Urinette produced 6302 litres of milk over 305 days — around 20 litres of milk a day. Well done, Urinette, and I hope you’re happy in a new field with new cow friends tonight.