Turra Coo

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The Turra' Coo (the Turriff Cow) was a white Ayrshire-Shorthorn cross dairy cow who lived near the Aberdeenshire town of Turriff in north-east Scotland in the early twentieth century. The cow became famous following a dispute between his owner and local people against the government over taxes and compulsory national insurance.


Under the Liberal government of the 1910s, the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George introduced a scheme whereby National Insurance contributions (by employer) became compulsory for all workers between the ages of 16 and 70. This was enacted via the National Insurance Act, and caused outrage among the farmers local to Turriff, who claimed that their contributions were too high; and that, as they were rarely able to be off work due to illness like industrial workers, it was unfair for them to have to pay for a service they were unlikely to use.

In Turriff, popular protests were held in the Johnston and Paterson Mart, and Robert Paterson, a Lendrum farmer refused to stamp the insurance cards of his employees. This resulted in orders on 13 December 1913 for Turriff's sheriff George Keith to seize property to the value of £22 from Paterson's farm. However, this was more difficult than it seemed as officers could not move property without local assistance, and the locals refused to help in protest.

The Cow

Sheriff's Officer George Keith removed the only piece of property which was easily mobile: Patersons' white milk cow, which was...
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