ST.-VICTOR-DE-CESSIEU, France — The French, known for their mistrust of banks, are not just stuffing money into mattresses in these anxious days of recession and minuscule interest rates. They are also putting their cash into cows.Don't get to comfortable with the cow thing, my French friends. The United Nations shall be along shortly to...settle up on the methane releases causing global warming.
For Pierre Marguerit, 60, cows make a safe, secure investment, allowing for long-term growth from a renewable resource. The cow contracts are hardly new, but go back to Richard the Lionheart; the French word for livestock, “cheptel,” is the root for “capital.”
These are not exactly cash cows. But investment in Mr. Marguerit’s Holsteins will bring a 4 to 5 percent return a year after taxes, he said, based on “natural growth” — the sale of their offspring. That compares to an interest rate now of 0.75 percent on the basic French bank account.