In the alpine region of the canton Valais in Switzerland, there is a century-long tradition of cow fightings. At the National Hérens Cow Festival on May 5 and 6, 2012 in Aproz, cows battle for the title of the Queen of Cows Combat (french: Combat de Reines). The winning cow and queen of the queens is called »Schakira«.
Unlike the bullfightings in Spain, the Swiss cow combats do not involve humans. In a herd, the cows instinctively challenge each other to establish a hierarchy. The cows fight each other pushing forehead against forehead. Because the horns are blunted for the fightings, there is usually little injury. The winner of a duel is the cow who does not retreat and the overall winner undefeated after a series of duels is the queen.
The fighters are Hérens cows named after the alpine Val d’Hérens region of Switzerland. The black coloured animals are very muscular and have short and broad heads sporting strong horns. The breed is unique to alpine regions.
There is a documentary movie coming into Swiss cinemas these days: »Combat de Reines«, a documentary film by Nicolas Steiner.