Bovine Selective Visual Impairment (often shortened to “BSVI”) is a nervous system condition characterized by a peculiar inability to distinguish between live, healthy bovine specimens and empty space. The severity of blindness may vary greatly from patient to patient, but the majority simply cannot under any circumstances see cows.

What causes it?

The exact circumstances under which BSVI develops are still somewhat of a mystery to researchers, though it is believed to take hold early in infancy. Ironically, a severe Vitamin D deficiency is often linked to the onset of the disease later in life1, something preventable through the regular consumption of milk. Two model theories are generally accepted as being the best explanations:

  • The problem is not actually with the eye itself, but rather stems from the brain’s inability to process the image of a cow, perhaps as a result of childhood trauma or a rare genetic defect. This theory comes under fire, however, when one considers the fact that BSVI patients can typically see other things in the shape of cows, such as cardboard cut-outs in Chick-Fil-A advertisements and cartoon characters in childrens’ television programs2. Thus, more weight is given to the second theory:
  • BSVI patients suffer as a result of their parents’ sins.

What are its effects?

The term “blindness,” of course, encompasses a broad spectrum of vision deficiencies, and BSVI sufferers often find that bovine-viewing difficulties vary between various sub-species of cows. Regardless, some trends do exist:
Kobe beef traditionally comes from a stock of cows called kuroge Wagyu in Japanese, raised in luxury on a few hundred tiny farms in Hyogo prefecture, Japan. Kobe beef is graded higher than prime world-wide, and as such it may come as no surprise that these cows are notoriously troublesome for BSVI sufferers, for whom Wagyu cows seem to open a visual rip in the time-space continuum. On the other hand, Holstein dairy cows are generally easy on the eye.3

BSVI sufferers tend to exhibit a strong aversion to milk. In clinical interviews conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients consistently stated that they simply cannot trust milk, as it comes primarily from an animal that they fear, loathe, and love simultaneously. 4

Similarly, rodeos are staging grounds for intense bouts of terror; cowboys seem to fly randomly and acrobatically through the air in a demon-possessed fashion that those who can actually see the bulls cannot come close to comprehending.5
Regardless, many BSVI patients do see something when looking in the direction of a cow, though it often manifests itself as more of a shapeless blur than an actual organism. Descriptions of what some patients see have varied from “that weird-looking shadow in that field over there” to “that creature that stalks my dreams.” World-renowned scientists from Mexico’s National Cryptoozoology Laboratory speculate that encounters with Bigfoot, El Chupacabra, and a host of other (allegedly) mythical creatures may in fact be the mistaken identifications of undiagnosed BSVI patients. Strong evidence in favor of this hypothesis exists: Loch Ness Monster reports skyrocketed between the months of October and December in 2000, a time at which Scottish authorities ordered cattle farmers to dispose of thousands of cows due to an outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease). The majority of these specimens were simply thrown into the loch as a sacrifice to Nessie by particularly superstitious Scottish farmers6.


At this time, no cure exists for BSVI. The suffering it causes may be decreased through any of these means, however:
  • Moving away from areas in which cattle farming is the primary trade.
  • Morphine.
  • Hypnotic therapy, in which the psychologist suggests a visual connection between cows and some other pleasurable mental object. (This can sometimes have disastrous results.)
  • Lowering the patient’s body thetan count through excommunication of the body’s impurities. (This process is costly, however, and may involve interaction with the Church of Scientology.)

1 ”Dietary Deficiencies and Bovine Selective Visual Impairment: Linked?" Mayo Clinic Journal. Issue 5 (2004): 34-98.
2 ”I Can See This Cow, But I Can’t See Other Cows.” Princeton Child Psychology Quarterly. Issue 2 (2002): 57-61.
3 ”Kobe Beef Presents New Development in BSVI Enigma.” Cattle and Rifle. Issue 2 (1998): 12-14.
4 ”How Can You Not Like Milk?" Mayfield Monthly. Issue 1 (2007): 1-60.
5 ”Why Aren’t They Laughing?" Rodeo Clown Magazine. Issue 29 (2006): 8-12.
6 ”A Brief History of Quirky Mad Cow Facts” Modern Medicine. Issue 11 (2004): 32-49.