Brazilian 'Supercow' Sells for $4 Million

Jun 10, 2024

The world has a new record-holder for the title of most bank-breaking bovine.

Guinness World Records this month certified the 2023 auction sale of Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis for $4.23 million dollars as the single largest cow sale in history. “Mara,” as she’s known in her home country of Brazil, certainly looks the part. She stands well over 6 feet tall. She weighs 2,400 pounds. And she's graced with a pure, snowy white coat. Yet the award-winning heifer didn’t command such a princely sum on looks alone.

Mara surely makes for a compelling tourist attraction. Her new owners are even advertising her as such, with billboards and scheduled viewings. But her real value to ranchers lies not in her appearance, or in how much meat she could supply, but in her DNA

“We’re not slaughtering elite cattle. We’re breeding them. And at the end of the line, going to feed the whole world,” Ney Pereira, one of Mara’s owners, told The Associated Press. “I think Viatina will provide that.”

Cattle breeders look for specific characteristics in cows. Among them: how fast the cow can gain muscle, how many calves it can produce, its posture, its health, and how easy it is to herd. Mara scored off the charts in all categories.

“She is the closest to perfection that has been attained so far,” Mara’s veterinarian said. “She’s a complete cow, has all the characteristics that all the proprietors are looking for.”

Other ranchers have already started paying the $250,000 fee for a chance to harvest Mara’s eggs. They will then fertilize them, hoping to grow herds of Mara-esque cows.

Reflect: Why do you think some animals are considered more valuable than others?

Photo of Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis from viatina_19 on Instagram.

 
Question
Which of the following details best explains the central idea of Mara's value? (Common Core RI.5.2; RI.6.2)
a. Mara is well over 6 feet tall.
b. Mara weighs 2,400 pounds.
c. Mara's DNA makes her very valuable for breeding cattle.
d. Mara has a pure, snowy white coat.
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