This Udderly Brilliant Bra Protects Cows From Getting Inflamed Teats

A farmer from Easter Ross, in the highlands of Scotland, has fashioned ingenious udder-protecting apparel from rope, bungee cord and an old bra.

Graham Burnett fashioned the bovine brassiere to relieve pressure on the udders of one of his cows. Pleased with his bizarre but practical invention, he shared photos with a few farmer friends. One of them, Donald Ross, shared the picture on Twitter as an example of his colleague's can-do attitude and sense of humor.

The cow's calf would only feed from her front teats, leaving the back udders engorged with milk. Burnett thought the swelling might lead to mastitis, an inflammation of the udder and mammary gland. This painful condition can lead to infection and even permanent damage.

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A bra covers two teats on a cow. Farmer Graham Burnett fashioned the underwear to protect one of his cows from mastitis. Graham Burnett

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Covering the front teats with the bra made the calf feed from the swollen udders. "Using the bra is a technique that has been done in the interests of the cow's welfare," Ross told the BBC. "The fabric is soft and has been fitted using an elasticized band."

Burnett could have tried to milk the udders by hand, but that's risky business, Ross told Newsweek. The distressed cow might have kicked the farmer. "Keeping cattle is quite a dangerous operation," Ross said, "so it's a case of minimizing risk as well."

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Ross's motivation for tweeting pictures of the strange contraption was for the most part altruistic. But the humor of the situation did not escape the farming friends. The photos offered "a bit of a laugh" after a hard winter, Ross said. "Farmers are resilient. We still keep a sense of humor after the winter and into the spring."

"Necessity," he told Newsweek, "is the mother of invention."