The Real Reason Cows Can't Be Tipped Over

Cow tipping has been a mainstay of the rural coming-of-age hijinks experience for decades, which begs the questions "what?" and "seriously?" and "is life in the wide open spaces of America's heartland really so dull that forcibly rotating livestock 90 degrees passes for entertainment?" 

Speculate on that all you want, but know that it's ultimately futile, since cow tipping is not, scientifically speaking, a thing. As reported by the Daily Telegraph, zoological researchers from the University of British Columbia went so far as to disprove the myth of cow tipping mathematically, begging the questions "what?" and "seriously?" and "is life in the zoology department of the University of British Columbia really so dull that disproving the human ability to forcibly rotate livestock 90 degrees passes for entertainment?"

Tips for tipping cows

The science goes like this: in your standard tale of cow tippery, a young buck with chicanery in his heart will sneak into a field, find a cow that has fallen asleep standing up, and assert physical dominance over nature by pushing said bovine over. But according to the study, a roughly 150 pound person would need to exert about 1,400 Newtons of force to overturn a 1,500 pound cow. That's around twice as much force as your standard human being could put out, and it assumes that the cow would abandon all sense of self preservation and just sort of go with the flow. 

That amount of effort would be tantamount to pushing over a small car, according to journalist Jake Swearingen in a 2013 NPR interview. Swearingen brings up another excellent point for anyone skeptical of the skepticism surrounding cow tipping: it's pretty impossible to find a clip of a cow being successfully tipped over on YouTube, which he aptly describes as "the clearinghouse of human stupidity." There's not much in the world of bad choices that doesn't make it to the world of streaming video. In essence, pics or it didn't happen.