The appeal of watching an animal chase live

Tech

This afternoon, monotonous online conversation about Katy Perry and our crumbling democracy cleared briefly to make room for a conversation about cows. Specifically one cow, which had escaped from a slaughterhouse in Jamaica, Queens and was charging through the streets with all the grace of, well, a giant cow on the run. Soon after the cow escaped, live streams of the chase appeared on NBC and CBS. “Loose in Queens” began trending on Twitter. And in the classic first step for any moderately viral internet thing, someone made the cow its own Twitter account.

Animal chases, especially in recent years, have proven their formula for fleeting virality again and again. In 2015, there was the llama chase in Arizona, which spawned dozens of…

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