Several cows belonging to a breed that was specially bred by the Nazis have been sent to the abattoir by their owner because they "would try to kill everyone," the Mail Online reports.
The cows are the descendants of a Nazi attempt to revive the auroch, a massive ox that featured prominently in Teutonic folklore. Over-hunting led to the extinction of the auroch in Europe by the mid-17th century.
The new breed was named after its breeders, zoologist brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck, who mixed animals from the Scottish Highlands, Corsica and the French Camargue, as well as Spanish fighting bulls, in the 1930s.
The attempt, which was ultimately unsuccessful, won the support of the Nazi regime, with Hitler reportedly taking a personal interest. But most of the offspring were destroyed after the fall of Nazism, being uncomfortable reminders of the German attempt to build a master race.
Derek Gow, an ecological consultant who runs a 600-acre farm in Devon, southwestern England, bred a herd of 20 Heck cattle, after importing 13 of them from European wilderness sanctuaries.
He has now reduced the herd to six, after finding most of the cows "incredibly aggressive."
"The ones we had to get rid of would just attack you any chance they could," said Gow, 49. “You couldn’t walk through a field with them in it. They would try and kill you. We just couldn’t have animals like that."
Gow said the cows he sent to the abattoir would be turned into sausages and sold in Europe.
The cattle, which have lethal-looking horns and a muscular build, are unlike any modern commercial breed of cow, Gow said. His cows were slightly shorter than the original aurochs, but retain their ancestors' muscular build, deep brown complexion, and shaggy coffee-colored fringe.
"What the Germans did with their breeding program was create something truly primeval," Gow said. "The aurochs were wild bulls.’
The attempt to revive the auroch of Teutonic legend was part of the overall Nazi obsession with racial purity and eugenics.
“The long and short of it was that it fitted in with the kind of Lebensborn-type program where you had members of humanity selected for physical characteristics, and you use those as the ‘breeding’ people to produce a race of people that you wanted. It’s the same sort of thinking,” Gow said.