What the Heck cows : The weird story of the Nazi Super Cows

The Nazis wanted to breed a racially “pure” cow.

Hecks cows were an attempt to bring back the Auroch, a species of ancient, extinct wild bull.

The Aurochs were admired for their brute strength and “elephantine” size by Julius Caesar.

The Nazis wanted to breed cattle for their “Aryan” characteristics, for features that were rooted in runes, folklore, and legend.

Corsican and Spanish fighting bulls were added to the breeding program to make them extra aggressive.

The resulting cows had such muscular physiques and deadly horns that they were used in Nazi propaganda material.

So, the Heck cow is a kind of Nazi super-cow.

 

Lutz Heck (far left) and Hermann Göring (far right) examining a relief map of the Białowieża Forest. The tiny figures represent characteristic game animals (elk, red deer, etc.)

The breed’s name comes from Heinz and Lutz Heck, two brothers (and zoo directors) who started their quest for a new cattle species in the 1920s.

They apparently resorted to cave paintings to visualize Aurochs.

This intellectual experiment changed when the brothers crossed paths with Hermann Göring.

After removing Warsaw Zoos’ European bison for their experiments, Lutz Heck and high-ranking Nazis had a drunken hunting party where they slaughtered everything.

One reason Göring was so eager for the Heck cows to be aggressive

He planned to go ‘a hunting for Hecks in a vast hunting reserve created from a conquered Eastern Europe.

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In January 2015, Devon farmer Derek Gow had to put down seven of his rare breed Heck cows.

The reason for this?

The cows were so aggressive that they had tried many times to attack him and his farm hands.

“They were constantly trying to horn us down. We had to run away, or approach them on vehicles, otherwise we’d get killed,” Gow told Motherboard.

Since 2009, two European teams have been ‘back-breeding’ cattle which still carry the DNA of aurochs – in an attempt to bring them back to life.

 

The Nazis didn’t stop at the Hecks with animal propaganda.

The Hecks also worked on a horse breed based on an extinct wild equine, while other Nazi scientists tried to train a division of talking dogs.