Monday, October 27, 2008


I used to work for the Securities and Exchange Commission as an enforcement attorney in the Seattle Regional Office. It was the smallest of the regional offices, and eventually was closed in 1994, a victim of the Gore project to reinvent the federal government. That story is for another day.

However, because the office was a small one, we knew everyone in it, the folks who audited the broker dealers and the corporations, as well as the enforcement side. As a result, I heard this story from the broker dealer end of the office. It seems that there was a small startup company in the region that wanted to do a public offering to raise money to fund a construction company that would build a new design of cow barn, one that combined energy efficiency with storing the cows in a new and different way. The company called them 'cowdominiums.'

These cowdominiums were circular in shape with a floor that sloped to the inside, where in the center of the room was a hole that had a pipe in it that led to a processing facility for the cow waste. The cows were positioned facing towards the outside of the cowdominium. You see, cows are notoriously inefficient processors of their feed. So the hypothesis was that you could hose the cow waste down the chute, take it out and dry it and reprocess it and then just feed it back to the cows, and they wouldn't notice the difference. Obviously this was pre-prion mad cow disease.

The attorney for the company was named Bruce Butcher (wonderful name, don't you think, for what he was doing?) and he was a true believer. In fact, he was such a true believer that he carried some of this reprocessed cow dung around in a baggie and during investor presentations, he would proceed show how safe it was by eating it!

As I recall, the offering never really got off the ground, so to speak. But in these current perilous financial times, it is always good, albeit rare, to find humor in speculation.


Anonymous said...

So some folks will actually eat cow shit in order to make money!

coozledad said...

I'm not surprised someone would try this. They give everything from orange peels to concrete dust to feedlot cattle. I've seen local farmers lug bales of cotton into the pastures for the cows to bulk up on.

I guess it's good to know with approaching hard times that we have a couple of fields full of "macaroons".