WEIRD NEWS

Austrian Official Warns Against 'Cow Kissing' Challenge For Charity

Pastures are not "petting zoos," and getting intimate with cows can have "serious consequences," warned Austria's tourism minister about a weird app stunt.

An Austrian government official is having a cow over a bizarre Swiss app challenge urging followers to kiss bovines to raise money for charity.

The “KuhKussChallenge,” launched earlier this week on the Castl app, urges users in Switzerland, Austria and other German-speaking countries to kiss cows – “with or without tongue” – to raise charity funds, reported Agence France Presse.

Elisabeth Köstinger, Austria’s minister for sustainability and tourism, called the challenge “dangerous mischief.” She warned that pastures are “are not petting zoos” and that trying to kiss cows could have “serious consequences.”

Köstinger said that cows could become aggressive, particularly when defending their calves.

“Negligent handling of Austrian pastures has led to serious accidents in the past,” said Köstinger, according to a translation of a tweet. “I don’t understand a challenge of this kind!”

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how the stunt — or the Castl app — raises money for charity.

Castl touts itself on Google Play as a tool of the “first true challenge community.” Its app promotion urges: “Let yourself be challenged and challenge others. We do crazy things for a good cause.”

Every challenge “winner” donates half of his or her take to a “charitable project” of their choice. Users “win stars” — which can be exchanged for “rewards” — for “posts, photos and challenge appearances,” according to the app.

Support the “best NGOs and projects with millions of stars from your clan and make sure that the things that are important to you in the future are actually true.” It adds: “Castl users always know where the next party is going.”

As for kissing cows, don’t try this at home — obviously.

Cows trampled a female German tourist to death while hiking with her dog in the Alps in western Austria in 2014. A court ordered the farmer who owned the animals to pay the woman’s husband $550,000. The farmer — with the support of Austria’s farmers’ federation — is appealing. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the year cows trampled a female German tourist to death. It was 2014.

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