Meet Knickers, the giant Australian steer whose size saved him from slaughter

Two significantly smaller Holstein Friesians.
Two significantly smaller Holstein Friesians.
Image: Tobias Nordhausen/CC BY 2.0
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Ladies, if he never calls you back, stands six-foot-four, weighs over 3,000 pounds, and answers to Knickers, he’s not your man—he’s one of Australia’s largest castrated bulls.

This enormous Holstein Friesian lives in rural Western Australia, and spends his days on the farm as a “coach”—a steer that leads other cattle. According to his owner Geoff Pearson, he’s very good at it. In a field full of brown wagyu cattle, black-and-white Knickers stands out like a sore thumb, attracting hundreds of other cows, who follow him diligently around the pasture.

It’s not his aptitude for his job that has earned Knickers a reprieve from the abattoir. It’s his physical bulk. When Pearson tried to sell him off for meat, he was rejected by processors who said that their machines simply wouldn’t be able to deal with an animal of that size. Instead, the BBC reports, he will spend the rest of his days on the Lake Preston feedlot, 136km (85 miles) south of Perth, in Myalup.

Although Knickers was always on the large side, his owners did not expect that he would continue to grow for as long as he has. ”He was always a standout steer from the others, a bit bigger than the rest,” Pearson said. While other cattle—”some of his mates”—met their demise, the cattle farmers held on to Knickers. “He was still a standout so we thought let’s leave him there, he’s not hurting anyone,” Pearson said.

As for the name, it comes from one of those dearly departed mates. When they first got him, Knickers liked to spend time with a Brahman steer (a different breed), who went by Bra. To complete the set, Knickers seemed an obvious fit.