We’ve put this question to people all over Switzerland, in cities and in the countryside. Here is what they said:

 

Marcel Liner, Arlesheim

Of course cows have horns. Even our daughter learned this from her many children’s books where all cows have horns. It’s interesting that in tourism adverts you only ever see cows with horns, because cows without horns always look sad somehow. I must say, though, that I don’t know why cows were given those imposing horns. However, of one thing I am certain, and that is that there is no coincidence in nature. Everything has its sense and purpose, and that goes also for the horns on a cow’s head.
- Marcel Liner, Arlesheim

Tina Quadri, Weisslingen

The cow horns are cut off, so that the cows don’t hurt each other, or the farmer. But originally, all cows have horns.
- Tina Quadri, Weisslingen

Daniel Haberthür, Basel

Yes, cows have horns. Unless they’re taken off when the calf is still young. The horns have a significant function as part of the cow’s body. According to the ideas of biodynamic agriculture they are important for the cows' wellbeing, their social behaviour, and they serve as receivers for various kinds of waves.
- Daniel Haberthür, Basel

Christof Dietler, Chur

Cows eat, chew (several times, actually), are great mothers, good mates, and hard workers. They also star in films, sell chocolate, and have the job as the Swiss national animal. The cow has horns so that this beautiful, multi-faceted animal turns into a proud and graceful animal.
- Christof Dietler, Chur

In my view, horns belong to cows just as the colour purple belongs to "Milka" (a famous chocolate brand). Whether they are used only as means of defence and attack, or serve any other purpose, I don't know.
- Sabrine Schaffhauser, Aesch

In my opinion, horns just naturally belong to cows. Recently, I heard that horns grow differently depending on the cows' living conditions. If the horns react so sensitively, they must be very much alive, and shouldn't be cut off.
-Noémi Uehlinger, Zurich

Of course cows have horns, unless these are removed by the farmer. Horns are a natural weapon of defense of ruminant animals. They are a means of protection against the threats posed by natural enemies, including human beings.
- Christoph M. Halbeisen, Stansstad

Cows have horns because they’re beautiful on them. Horns are a connection to the sky. They make it easier for cows to keep their heads up straight and balanced. Cows can scratch themselves, or each other, with them. When they’re old, they look very graceful with their horns.
- Eva Holzmann, Zurich

For me, cows have horns, but one sees a lot more cows without horns these days. I have no idea what the horns are for. I think they might be for protection and self-defence. And isn’t it also the same with trees, that you can tell the age of the cow by cutting the horn and then counting the rings? It’s just something I’ve heard, I don’t know if it’s actually true. But cows often don’t have their horns anymore because they have limited living space and might hurt each other!
- Chantal Baur, Oberwil

Yes, cows have horns. However, I’m at a loss when it comes to the question what they need them for. There are actually people who are convinced that the horns have a positive influence on the quality of the milk. Probably cows need horns to scratch themselves, or poke the farmer, and also to establish the hierarchy in the herd.
- Sandra von Arx, Münchenstein

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Do cows have horns?

At first, I thought that this was a bit of a silly question. Surely, every child knows that cows have horns, or so I assumed.

But, on second thought, I have to say that many children may never have actually seen a cow, or they saw one with its horns taken off.

My answer: of course all cows have horns, and they are enormously important. Horns and hooves are part of the cow just as hair and fingernails are part of us, as human beings. Everything that nature gave us, or the cows, was given for a reason. I consider it a criminal act to simply take away the cows' horns, which, by the way, are supplied with blood.

The horns of dead cows are also very useful in biodynamic agriculture. But even if the horns only had an aesthetic purpose, I definitely wouldn’t remove them. We should leave nature alone, and enjoy and respect its beauty and wisdom.

- Dimitri