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Home   Festivals in Switzerland   Cow Fight Events in Switzerland

Cow Fighting Fever in the Canton Valais
Where the Cows are Queens

Annual Cow Fighting Events between March and September. Dates see below.

The Canton of Valais (Wallis) is famous for its ski slopes, thermal baths, and its climate that lets wine thrive and apricots grow. Come spring though the fever of cow fighting not only grabs a hold of the beasts but farmers and spectators alike - even TV camera teams - national and international - flock to the events.

The stern looking Hérens Cows lock horns

No matter which breed of Swiss cows, they are naturally territorial and love a good cow fight. They lock their wicked looking horns to determine who takes the lead in the pack as soon as they are released from the barn where they spend long winter months.

However, the Hérens cows (or Eringer in German), named after the Val d'Hérens, are a particularly feisty and temperamental breed. The dark chocolaty colored cows seem to love the battle for the prestigious title "Queen of Queens" in the Combat des Reines (fight of the Queens").

Cow fight arena

Unlike the running with or fighting of the bulls, the Queens of Hérens do their battle in a queenly manner. Although the muscular and quick tempered beasts paw the ground with downcast heads, a dangerous look in their eyes while mooing nasty threads before they lock their horns, the actual bovine battle is mostly push and shove with little harm - if at all - to the animal. The looser quickly runs away as soon she realizes that there's no winning the battle with her opponent (who says cows are not intelligent?).

A Hérens Cow getting ready for the fight

The cows are neither trained nor do they get prepared for the battle. They are brought into the ring in different categories (according to weight and age) where they choose their opponent themselves.

The Queens of the Queen at the Combat des Reines

The joyful and entertaining cattle fights attract tens of thousands of spectators each year. The tournaments take place in various villages from spring to fall and in the end, the winner will be crowned "Queen of the Queens". The prize is not only a humongous ornate cowbell; the offspring fetches whooping prices at auctions.

Where and When?

Cow fighting starts in the fall and ends in May (with a winter break) with the national final in Aproz where the crowning of the "Queen of Queens" takes place.

Acutal dates are listed on the Vache d'Herens website, the National Swiss Federation of "La race d'Hérens".

Images courtesy of Dominique Schreckling

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