It's well known Adolf Hitler believed the German population to be a ‘master race’, descended from the Aryans of Atlantis. That the Nazis felt all other races to be inferior, and believed in the practice of eugenics, or selective breeding, to try and maintain their ideal of the master race.

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What is less well known is the Nazis also used eugenics to create animal versions of the perfect race too!

Animal attraction

Prominent Nazis such as Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering were keen hunters and attracted to stories of the Aurochs, an extinct cattle type that had once roamed Europe, Asia and Africa. The Aurochs were huge animals with massive horns. They died out in the 17th century.

Stories of how the Aurochs had been hunted by men armed with lances and, once killed, had their horns chopped off for use as drinking cups greatly appealed to Himmler and Goering. They imagined the Aurochs roaming free across Germany with the Nazi men folk wrestling them for sport.

So, the Nazis planned to reintroduce the Aurochs into Germany’s forests as a breed of Nazi super cows.

 

By Heck!

German brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck tried to recreate these super cows by selectively using Highland, Hungarian, Corsican, and other cattle in a breeding programme.

They came up with an imitation of the Aurochs. Slightly shorter than the originals, but no less shaggy, muscular or aggressive. They became known as Heck cattle.

The majority of these cows did not survive the war, as the bombing of Germany killed many. Some that were housed in Munich zoo survived.

Today Heck cattle are to be found in German zoos, as well as farms and nature preserves in Holland, Bavaria and France.

 

What’s their beef?

In 2009, a Devonshire conservationist Derek Gow brought a herd of Heck cattle to Britain for the first time to breed on his farm. Things didn’t go according to plan.

All the aggression the Nazis had hoped for were as present as ever in Gow’s herd! Things were so bad the cows would try to kill anyone who entered the field where they grazed! Gow thought they were the most aggressive animals he’d ever worked with. Those horns could do some major damage too if they ever connected…

After too many incidents involving murderous cows trying to kill him and his staff, Gow felt he had no choice but to put down the majority of his herd. By working out which were the troublemakers and which were more docile, Gow’s herd of 20 Heck cattle has now been thinned down to two bulls and four cows. The rest were turned into burgers and sausages. Apparently, the Nazi super cow tastes like venison!