Veterinarian Bron's Cow Bra

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In addition to his work at a veterinary practice in Sneek, Dutch veterinarian Evert J.S. Bron was also a successful inventor in the veterinary field. For example, Bron designed a tendon clamp and hoof boot for cattle. His other notable inventions include the teat protector, also known as the udder support net and more colloquially referred to as the ‘cow bra’. 

Een zwart-wit foto van een koe met een 'koeienbeha' om de uier.
A cow wearing the cow bra designed by veterinarian and inventor Evert Bron.

Bron presented his invention at 'Frisiana', a large-scale event in 1963 marking the official opening of the Frieslandhal in Leeuwarden. A cow wearing a teat protector was proudly displayed to the press and business community. Het Parool newspaper featured a quote by Bron, who referred to his invention as 'the best thing since sliced bread'. 

A wintry car ride 

The teat protector, as Bron marketed the invention, was designed to prevent udder damage in dairy cattle. Cows run the risk of stepping on their teats every time they stand up. Bron estimated that this problem would eventually affect about ten per cent of all dairy cattle, which – at the time – amounted to a total of three hundred animals per practice per year. Prevention is obviously better than cure, and Bron had been working to find a solution for some time. As legend has it, he was driving along a frozen IJsselmeer in the midst of winter, when he turned to his wife and said: 'I really need to do something about it, I'm going to design a bra for cows'. For a while, Bron focused all his energies on the project. He experimented with leather and finally settled on a nylon net held in place by straps. The nylon net kept the udders and teats clean while preventing the cows from drinking each other's milk. 


The teat protector was intended for cows with large udders, and prevented teat damage (a common problem occurring when cows step on their own teats as they stand up). The invention also prevented other bulls from stepping on their neighbours' teats, a common problem in small shared stalls. Udder support nets are also effective in preventing mastitis (inflammation of the udder) and damage to or further elongation of the suspensory ligaments in animals with large udders. 

Like the tendon clamp, Bron's cow bra is still sold to this day by veterinary instrument suppliers. The Veterinary Medicine collection at Utrecht University Museum features one of Bron's teat protectors and an account of its origins.

Support the Veterinary Medicine collection with a donation to the Friends of the Veterinary Medicine Museum Foundation (Numan Stichting).

This is an article from Vetscience issue 12 (in Dutch).

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