Around a million families in Britain are now thought to be keeping cows in their flats so they won't have to spend money buying dairy by-products from expensive supermarkets.
Some councils are warning that the practice of keeping a cow in a flat could be against the rules of tenancy, while animal protection groups say it is cruel to the cows and will make it difficult for them to re-adapt to living back in an open field later.
"Cows should not be thought of as pets" explains one councillor we spoke to, "and if permission is not obtained first the consequences could potentially lead to the eviction of tenants from their homes."
The councillor advises any tenants planning to keep anything larger than a budgerigar in their flat to always contact their local council first to make sure it would not be breaking the signed agreement of their tenancy.
He explained how in some cases it might not be against the rules of the tenancy agreement if it can be shown to the councils satisfaction that the animal would not be a pet but a source of food in terms of it's by-products of milk, butter, and so on. Nevertheless the councillor warned that even then the council involved would need to be satisfied that the by-products weren't going to be sold to neighbours and so on as it is generally the case that most council tenancy rules do not allow a private business to be operating from their residential properties.
Animal protection groups are also pointing out how the practice of keeping a cow in a flat for more than a few months at a time could make it difficult for the animal to re-adapt later to the more open air conditions of fields.
"People may not be thinking of their cow as being a pet" said Veterinary Practitioner Pat Cowley, "but the cow would not be aware of this, and so she could get used to the soft carpets and sofas within the flat. Certainly I'd strongly advise against ever allowing the cow to sleep on a comfortable bed within the dwelling."
But surely there is also the problem of light. Cows are used to waking up at the crack of dawn, and then remaining awake until dark. Wouldn't a cow in a flat become confused by being kept awake at night by the electric lighting of the flat, and from people watching the late night movies on their televisions? The lazy cow might not want to get out of bed until around mid-day!
Perhaps some people believe that by having their televisions tuned in to Emmerdale a couple of times a week will somehow be enough to make the cow think it's living in an open field. Is that all it takes to keep a cow happy?
"No, it is not," says Mr Cowley. "A window would have to be kept open as well so that the cow received plenty of fresh air. But what happens during the winter? The window cannot just be closed because of the uncomfortable icy draught being felt by the people sharing the flat with the cow."
Residents at one block of flats in London, where over 80% of the families living there already have their own cow or calf, say the cows are happy and provide an essential source of dairy produce for them they wouldn't otherwise be able to provide for their children.
One mother, who asked not to be named for fear of upsetting her council, admitted to that in addition to the cow she keeps in her flat she also has three hens, two pigs, and one turkey she's saving up for Christmas.