cow's head looking at camera

Forty summers ago, the movie Jaws made millions of people afraid to go near the water – just about any water – in a way that is impossible to explain today.

Living several blocks from the beach still felt too close, and I was suspicious of the shower for days. Silly? Sure. But you had to be there to understand.

A positive result of the film was the intense global interest in sharks that it launched. Now, our understanding about them goes far beyond their "senseless killer" image.

To help get that point across, many of the Jaws anniversary articles that have been written in recent weeks have used cows to provide context. Yes, cows.

Dangerous killer cows.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cows (including bulls) kill an average of about 20 people per year in the U.S. Sharks, on the other hand, kill just one person per year.

The 20-fold part of that difference that matters to reporters is, sharks often have an audience of dozens, hundreds or thousands of terrified vacationers to get quotes from. Holstein homicides, however, often have no witnesses at all.

So, if this summer takes you and your family to the beach, have fun. Be safe around the water, but understand that your cows back home pose much greater danger than anything in the ocean.

In fact, simply getting there and back is the biggest risk of all: CDC points out that 33,000 people in the U.S die in motor vehicle accidents each year.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
July 6, 2015
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