1. One thing is different… she’s now chained to her workplace. No more wandering out to the pasture to chew the cud with other employees during work hours.

  2. I saw two interpretations. The first is the same as James d Pollock. The second was more a commentary on management courses. The guy is milking a cow. What could a management course possibly teach someone about how to milk a cow? After taking the course he is putting all that newfangled learn’ to use and wants to know if the cow can tell the difference. If it were the latter, the chain and rack wouldn’t be in the picture, so I’m sure James’ interpretation is the right one.

  3. Also, no manger. Cows normally are fed while they are milked, and typically the head is held in place while the cow is milked. This weird chain deprives the cow of her meal, while not keeping her still enough to make milking practical.

    Also, no milking machine, though that may be an artistic choice, since everyone knows what milking looks like, but most people don’t know what a milking machine looks like. Possibly including the cartoonist? I don’t know how much of the weirdness here (I have not listed it all) is supposed to be from the management course and how much is cartoonist ignorance.

    In sum, there are two possible intended meanings, and I cannot tell which is correct:

    The cartoon may be a satire on modern management. In this reading, the farmer has only learned to deprive the cow of her food and her freedom. He is also asking for feedback from the cow, like a stereotypical modern manager. The whole approach is likely to damage milk production.
    Or the cartoon may be about the inappropriateness of a farmer with only one cow, who still milks by hand the way it was done a century ago, taking a management course and expecting a big impact. Real farmers do take management courses, of course, but a big dairy will have handreds of cows and actual employees to manage.

  4. Yeah, the chain, instead of comfortable loose comfortable ropes were strange sight for me.

    However, I agree with those that think that detail is not relevant, and is merely a mistake. The humor, I think, is solely the Cow’s reaction to the guy’s asking such a question.

  5. This is far removed from the actual dairy business. I was talking with a high school friend who grew up on a dairy farm, and had a family Thanksgiving with siblings and cousins still in the business. They have thousands of cows. Their neighbor is building a cheese factory on their farm, which has 40,000 cows. Of course you need management skills to deal with operations of that size!

  6. Also there’s no bucket to catch the milk! You can’t really see what is or isn’t there, but it seems like you’d see some part of the pail.

    Does anyone who takes a management course ask anyone if they “noticed anything different”? It’s not exactly like getting a haircut or a new suit.

  7. A problem is that there is no “before” view to see if some of the statements here about the chain and whatnot have any validity.

  8. Do any milk cows have horns?

    Do these cows have horns? Chances are they do, or at least they did at birth. About 85 percent of milk sold in the United States comes from Holstein cows born with

  9. I like the solution proposed by L.F., but in that case, the canonical “attribute” would be to have a ring in the bovine’s nose (with the chain attached to it). Making matters worse, the nose has been colored with a lighter shade of gray, very similar to the chain and post. This color and the enlarged size make it appear as if she/he/it were wearing a metal “silence of the lambs calves” mask.

    P.S. Rotating the whole scene by about 30 degrees (clockwise) would have made everything much clearer, albeit harder to draw.

  10. “This is the cow with the crumpled horn …”

    A lot of dairies poll the heifers but some don’t, so you’ll see cows with horns.

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