By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 04, 2016
Credit: Malte Mueller

Car shares are old news. Nowadays, all the cool kids are doing cow shares. No, it’s not where everyone gets to split time riding a cow – because I know that’s what you were thinking. It’s where customers buy shares of a cow before it is butchered, packaged and sent to your door.

The unique idea comes courtesy of a new Seattle startup called Crowd Cow. Their website pitches the idea as letting you “buy a cow with friends” before encouraging you to “Claim a share, rally your friends, tip the cow and become a steak holder.”

“When you go to the grocery store, it's typically mystery meat, you have no idea where it came from,” co-founder Joe Heitzeberg told KOMO News. Meanwhile, his model is different: “We are literally buying a cow and every share that we portion out came from that animal.”

Cows are sold similar to a crowdfunding campaign where a cow goes up on the site along with information about the farm its coming from, and then people claim their shares, buying into different cuts and amounts. Typically, it takes about 50 to 60 buyers before the cow gets “tipped” – or sold entirely – at which point those who ponied up dough can sit back and wait for their beef. And similar to sites like Kickstarter, if all the parts aren’t sold, everyone gets their money back and the cow is off the chopping block (at least for now).

Crowd Cow currently “ships overnight to 642 cities and towns in Washington and Oregon,” meaning the service isn’t available to everyone. But it seems like a fun concept that could easily spread. Fun for meat eaters, I mean. As transparent as it is, cows are still kind of getting screwed in the whole deal.

[h/t Munchies]