Friday, 2 September 2011

Rounding off a day of cow attack-related tomfoolery...

Pavlov's Cat and The Englishman have alerted me to this in The Daily Torygraph:

Dog walkers who take their pets on countryside strolls have been warned that they face a growing menace from temperamental continental cows. Hard-pressed farmers have been gradually replacing more docile native breeds in favour of the larger and more profitable – but potentially more aggressive - Limousin and Charolais. Over the past two decades, with supermarket customers demanding ever cheaper meat, the rather more docile Hereford, Aberdeen Angus and British Friesian have started to be phased out...

The real reason for this is some EU-related nonsense which I only vaguely understand, something to do with the meat from traditional British breeds not being lean enough. And probably too salty.

... Bryan Jones, a former vice president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, said the Limousin and Charolais tended to be “more temperamental, more highly strung”... His warning came after retired school secretary Marilyn Duffy, 61, was trampled to death by a herd of cows as she walked through a field just yards from her home in Radyr, near Cardiff. The animals involved were believed to be Friesians and Mr Jones said that in general all breeds of cattle “don’t like dogs”.

Ah., right... the whole story is couched in terms of "bloody foreign cattle, coming over here, taking our jobs, killing our hikers etc" even though the hiker in question was finished off by a good-old fashioned Friesian (which despite the name is a traditional English cow). But to be honest, it may well be true that 'continental breeds' are more aggressive, as readers of my monthly central European cow attack round ups may have noticed.


James Higham said...

even though the hiker in question was finished off by a good-old fashioned Friesian

Just spilt my coffee.

dearieme said...

If you want a nice, gentle breed, try Highland Cattle. And they look lovely too.

Macheath said...

Seconded, dearieme!

There's nothing quite like the view of a secluded glen with a handful of beasties knee-deep in the tranquil stream.

However, the glen I visited last summer, rather than the docile, shaggy coos of yore, boasts a free-roaming herd of Angus crossed with Iberian cattle - taller, stronger, grumpier and - critically - faster on their feet.

Trouble is, the authorities don't distinguish when approving such free-roaming schemes. There may be little difference between breeds when you're in a high-rise office in Auld Reekie, but, believe me, when there's a herd of them between you and your car it matters rather a lot.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, apologies for that.

D: "If you want a nice, gentle breed..." try a steak or a hamburger. Or a pair of shoes.

McH, are you referring to a separate incident to the Under Siege episode? Details?

Macheath said...

Same one - the Angus bull who had us surrounded was undoubtedly a pure-breed but most of the cows had facial markings that one of our party recognized from a recent agricultural show; she reckons they were at least cross-bred with the Iberian strain.

As we found out on forays away from the cottage, the cows were distinctly touchy (they did have calves in tow) and could climb steep hills worryingly quickly; we learned to stay close to fences when out walking.

A shame, really; thirty years ago there was a herd of highland cattle grazing the same pasture and they never bothered anyone.

Thanks for the link!

Span Ows said...

Off topic but re your latest sketch (seen on OoL)... Kate Winslet is gorgeous..

View from the Solent said...

Seems that cows are not the only danger that your readers over the border need to be aware of.
El Reg
Even one of His representatives is not safe.

Mark Wadsworth said...

McH, so you think there is something in the notion that yer foreign cattle is altogether more aggressive?

SO, yes she is. But she has an upside down smile which is a challenge to draw which I cannot resist.

VFTS, birds seem to go for pensioners and motorcyclists. Not daft.

Macheath said...

...pensioners, motorcyclists and schoolchildren

Re cows, I wonder whether it's more the case that generations of selective breeding for muscular beef cattle have favoured aggressive genes and, thanks to AI, one seriously grumpy bull can now father entire herds with a distinct attitude problem.

The same could apply to dairy cattle; when milking was done by hand, farmers would avoid breeding from aggressive stock but that is presumably less of a problem these days now that milking is almost fully automated.

Do you have figures for attacks by beef vs dairy cows?

Mark Wadsworth said...

McH, yup, schoolchildren are also relatively easy targets.

Most reports don't say whether it was a beef or dairy herd, in any event, I don't know the relative split between the two in areas where attacks occur. e.g. if 80% of attacks in a particular region are by beef cattle, we'd also need to know whether 80% of cattle in that region are beef cattle.

But your point about automated milking is a good one - farmers in high-attack regions have also said that lack of contact with humans makes cattle less friendly towards them.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Highland Cattle peaceful? My arse

Please note I have not been obsessively collecting cow attack stories since 2006 , I only recall this one as the Ex's parents lived nearby and it was the topic of conversation for weeks afterwards (it's very quiet there)

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, that bull showed real commitment!