‘Elite cattle’: Heavy cow that’s ‘closest to perfection’ fetches millions at auction, breaking world records

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A Brazilian cow recently broke records after selling for more than $4 million at an auction, more than three times the last record holder’s price. 

Weighing 2,400 pounds, Viatina-19 FIV Mara Movéis is twice as heavy as an average adult of her breed. Viatina-19 is the result of Brazil’s years-long efforts to raise meatier cows so that more people will eat its beef.

Prizewinners are sold at high-stakes auctions — so high that wealthy ranchers share ownership. They extract the eggs and semen from champion animals, create embryos and implant them in surrogate cows that they hope will produce the next magnificent specimens.

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“We’re not slaughtering elite cattle. We’re breeding them. And at the end of the line, going to feed the whole world,” one of her owners, Ney Pereira, told The Associated Press after arriving by helicopter to his farm in Minas Gerais state. “I think Viatina will provide that.”


Pereira’s daughter, Lorrany Martins, said the hefty price stems from how quickly the cow put on vast amounts of muscle, from her fertility and how often she has passed those characteristics to her offspring.

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Breeders also value posture, hoof solidity, docility, maternal ability and beauty. Those eager to level up their livestock’s genetics pay around $250,000 for an opportunity to collect Viatina-19’s egg cells.

“She is the closest to perfection that has been attained so far,” Martins said. “She’s a complete cow, has all the characteristics that all the proprietors are looking for.”

Viatina-19’s owner, Pereira, said she gets special treatment to boost egg cell production, but would thrive were she put to pasture — where almost all his elite cattle feed.

Meanwhile, Viatina-19 is pregnant for the first time, and Pereira’s eyeing expansion; her egg cells have sold to Bolivian buyers and he wants to export to the United Arab Emirates, India and the US.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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