Dairy Cows Fight Terrorism in Fallujah

Dairy Cows Fight Terrorism in Fallujah

Iraqi women are caught in the crossfire between military troops and insurgents. Can dairy farming help bring peace to Fallujah? Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashclements/446232994/">.ash (flickr)</a>
Iraqi women are caught in the crossfire between military troops and insurgents. Can dairy farming help bring peace to Fallujah? Photo: .ash (flickr)

Here's an innovative way to expand economic opportunity for Iraqi widows and reduce the threat of terrorism: give the women a dairy cow and teach them how to take care of it.

The U.S. Marine Corps is actually trying this in Fallujah, says the LA Times. They enlisted the help of Lockie Gary, a dairy-farming expert for Land O' Lakes. Gary is working with a group of 50 women — many are widows of insurgents — teaching them how to care for their cow. The women can earn a small income from selling products made from the cow's milk. But according to Gary, an added benefit is that in the long-term, this program might reduce the number of terrorist attacks in the area. He explains why in Farmer and Rancher Magazine:

If the cow could be made to produce enough milk beyond the family’s needs, then cheese and yogurt could be produced as well and the widow might be able to hope for a brighter future. The intent of the program is not entirely altruistic, however. With a source of income and a glimmer of hope, widows may be less inclined to be recruited as suicide bombers and that could save lives.

The program is still fairly new, and the women can't earn enough to support their families by selling the milk and cheese from a single dairy cow yet. But according to Gary, their high-quality milk and cheese should fetch better prices over time.

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