Durtch Belted cows at The Voorlinden Estate, Museum Voorlinden, 2018.
The Dutch Belted (Lakenvelder) breed of dairy cattle is, according to records, the only belted breed of cattle tracing back directly to the original belted or "canvassed" cattle which were described in Switzerland and Austria. The original belted cattle originated in Austria and Switzerland. By the 17th century, these ancestors of the Dutch Belted breed were moved to the Netherlands by Dutch nobility. The “belted” color pattern was highly desirable in the Netherlands, and the nobility who owned these cows are also claimed to have bred the belted color pattern into other livestock, including Hampshire pigs, Dutch rabbits, and Lakenvelder chickens.
Dutch Belted cows were imported into the USA in the 1830s, where they were exhibited as a rare breed by P.T. Barnum in his travelling circus. The 1886, the Dutch Belted Cattle Association of America herdbook was established, and still continues today as the oldest continual registry for the breed worldwide.
The breed became well established in the USA and continued in popularity until about 1940, but during the 1900s, numbers of Dutch Belted cattle declined worldwide to the point of near-extinction. In the USA, the breed’s decline in popularity was exacerbated by a government herd reduction/buy-out program, which encouraged selling dairy cattle for beef to bolster milk prices.
Personally I haven't eaten a cow, or any other animal, for about 35 years now. I can highly recommend it.
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