The Non-Expert

Happily Heifer After

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we point out the differences between non-organic and organic cows—in words only an organic cow would comprehend.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: “Why does organic milk have a later expiration date than non-organic milk?”—Lisa

Answer: A great and oft-asked question. My first thought was that it might have something to do with farm locations—the idea being that primarily smaller organic dairy farms (Horizon notwithstanding) are perhaps more likely to operate locally, translating to faster turnaround from farm to store and consequently a longer shelf life. But I’ve taken enough standardized tests to know first inclinations are usually incorrect, and it’s wiser to answer “B” for every question—especially if, like me, you didn’t do your homework.

So how do I address your query in a satisfactory manner, knowing nothing about the subject at hand? By answering “B.” Since you weren’t kind enough to provide your question in multiple-choice form, and because “B” is the second letter of the alphabet, it only makes sense I should go with the second explanation that pops into my dome piece:

Organic cows are magic.

Aside from the obvious trademarks of the organic cow—that it only consumes organic feed, grazes in open fields, and is denied growth hormones, antibiotics, and the like—the magic of this majestic creature is clouded in obscurity. Unlike its non-organic counterpart—who resides in a rural slum and boasts a pathetic, one-word vocabulary—the organic bovine is indeed more human than ruminant (which is not to say it lacks contemplative nature). It dons a purple cape and carries a jewel-encrusted scepter, drives a Prius, and is expertly familiar with the philosophies of Tom Regan. The organic cow always buys organic, locally grown food and fair-trade coffee—and what’s that in the scepter? Conflict-free diamonds. And yes, organic cows can talk, though they rarely will—not out of bashfulness or lack of confidence, but because they really, honestly, would rather listen.

There have been many notable organic cows in recent history, including French chemist Louis Pasteur. Pasteur, an organic milk cow, most famously created the first vaccine for rabies, as well as invented the milk pasteurization process, even going so far as to milk herself multiple times a day in order to maintain a steady supply of experiment materials without treating other milk cows unethically. Then there was Duchess Bessie the Intrepid Organic Cow of Stockton, Calif., who made headlines in the early 1990s after rescuing a pair of mischievous young swimmers that became caught in the currents of the California Aqueduct and nearly drowned; after hauling the pair to shore (organic cows are excellent swimmers), she revived them with her magical bodily elixir, and it was no coincidence that the two went on to attend Harvard and Dartmouth, each on full scholarships. Here are some more of history’s most famous and infamous cows, organic and non-organic, respectively.

Nandini (Hindu cow of plenty) Mrs. O’Leary’s cow (arsonist)
Elsie the Cow (famed Borden mascot, lived better than many foreign dignitaries) Babe the Blue Ox (Paul Bunyan’s companion; abused growth hormones)
Norman the Calf (supporting actor in City Slickers with Billy Crystal) The Monty Python and the Holy Grail catapult cows (not real)
Ferdinand the Bull (flower-sniffing cow from Munro Leaf story) Der Milka Cow (purple cow mascot of Kraft-owned chocolate company)

It’s no wonder most people are unaware of the impact organic cows have had on our culture. Many of the honors and recognition given to organic cows are either disputed or mysteriously absent from the history books, including the following:

  • 1998 Best Jazz Album award for Harold the Hepcow’s Mooed Music
  • The famous Columbia University Cow Sit-in of 1963
  • Land-speed record for fastest cow, 2006 (disputed; record-holder accused by critics of being non-organic due to use of steroids, even after having tested negative in blood screenings)
  • First legal victory by a prosecuting cow in a 1985 landmark trial (Heifer v. Hefner) sets legal precedent banning cruel and/or unusual forms of bestial pornography
  • Bobby the Big One of New Jersey dethrones reigning Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (episode never aired due to nationwide protest by Latter-day Saints)

Again, I could go on, but why? The actions of these organic, talking, flying, driving, baby-kissing, child-rescuing, philosophizing, empathizing creatures truly speak for themselves. Don’t believe me? Who would it take to convince you? How about Nostradamus?

On July 15, 1555, Nostradamus made what would become one of his lesser known though equally regarded predictions concerning mankind’s untimely end on this increasingly non-organic planet. He predicted that the world, embroiled in war and mayhem, choking on its own toxic diarrhea, and on the very brink of nuclear destruction, would come to be saved just in the nick of time by none other than an organic cow—one born between 2005 and 2064, whose name begins with the letter “F.” If this isn’t proof of the demi-godlike characteristics of organic animals—and organic cows in particular—then I don’t know what is.

Also: Organic cows produce longer-lasting milk.