Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

Shine, little glow reindeer, glimmer


February 21, 2014

Finland’s Reindeer Herder’s Association is trying something new this year to help save reindeer lives: glow in the dark reindeer.

The story was originally reported Monday by Finnish national broadcaster YLE, but the title read “Poroille tarkoitetun heijastinsprayn tehtävänä estää liikenneonnettomuuksia,” so we hear straight from BBC.co.uk translators Tuesday that “Reflective reindeer antlers aim to stop accidents.”

Apparently, as many as 4,000 reindeer are killed in traffic accidents each year, mostly in the dark winter months. Authorities trying to cut back on this high loss number took a tip from Santa’s Rudolph, but decided, hey, why stop with the nose?

Anne Ollila, chairwoman of the association told YLE.fi, “Tavoitteena on liikennevahinkojen ehkäisy. Spray on parhaillaan kokeilussa myös karvassa, mutta se on sarvissa ehkä tehokkaampi, koska se näkyy joka puolelle.” Of course she did.

BBC said that she said that association members said they want to save lives, so they started experimenting this year spraying the reindeer’s bodies, but then figured the antlers would work better for paint stick-ability and visibility.

Kudos to them for finding a high-tech/low-maintenance solution because I would’ve been out there trying to strap solar-powered battery packs to the reindeer to power strings of Christmas lights I’d tangled around the antlers. Of course, I would’ve been doomed to failure because the whole problem is the lack of daylight, hence the necessity for nonsolar solutions. Curse you, northern latitudes.

It did occur to me that we could use Finland’s solution to vehicle vs. animal crashes here in north-central Montana where vehicle vs. cattle accidents are a big thing every year after cattle are let out to graze on Beaver Creek Park: We could have scientist create genetically modified cattle that grow glow-in-the-dark antlers.

No, not really.

Give my brain some credit.

Instead of just using reflective ear tags on some of the cattle, paint all of them with the reflective paint. We could set up a salon/car wash-type hybrid booth at cattle docking stations. Each head of cattle to be grazed on the park would be herded through the booth and automatic sprayers would hose the cattle down with glow-in-the-dark paint.

But why stop there.

To raise county revenue, officials could allow to graze for free any cattle they were allowed to lease from ranchers and then sublease to businesses as seasonal advertising space.

Who wouldn’t think it was cool to have a sort of billboard-on-the-hoof that glowed in the dark? It’s better than a change board, or a giant Light Bright.

The state and public service organizations could purchase some of the after-dark-friendly advertising space for public service announcements.

Honestly, I’d give up smoking, drugs and drinking, put my seat belt on, brush my teeth properly and stop littering and driving while sexting if a glow-in-the-dark cow told me to.

(I'm thinking glow-in-the-dark horses would be awesome at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.)


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