The Fish-eating Cows of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Captain Atwood has kindly given me facts in respect to fish-eating cows. Prior to the passage of the Massachusetts statute forbidding owners of cows to allow them to roam at will (which statute was enacted to protect directly the beach-grass which checked the drifting of sand), the cows flocked to the shore while the fishermen were cleaning their catch. These cows sought with avidity the entrails and swallowed them.
They seemed willing to eat the heads also, but lacked the ability to reduce their bulk sufficiently to allow of this. A species of ling or blenny, weighing three pounds or more, and discarded by the fishermen, was freely eaten also by the cows.
Cows when first arriving at Provincetown from the rural districts refused fish; but their owners, by adding minced fish to their cows' rations, soon taught the cows to imitate their neighbors in respect to eating entrails.
At this time the thirty-three cows, constituting the whole of Provincetown's stock, being "kept up," have forgotten or never learned the fish eating practice.