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Hungry Forest cows bothering locals 'should be removed'

Hungry cows are reportedly crossing cattle grids (file photo)
Hungry cows are reportedly crossing cattle grids (file photo)

DISRUPTIVE cows which wander into gardens in search of food should be taken off the forest, a Burley resident has suggested.

As previously reported in the A&T last month, dozens of ponies were removed from the forest by Verderers after persistent wet weather caused them to lose too much weight.

The animals, which are owned by commoners, have been moved to holdings and given supplementary food until the grass begins to grow and the weather improves.

Now Lee Hammond, who has lived in the village for more than 30 years, has suggested the same should be done for a herd of cows which are bothering locals.

She told the A&T: “We have had a very wet winter. It amazes that they are allowed to stay out on the Forest. The horses are eating holly bushes and stripping bark from the trees as they’re really hungry. There is not sufficient food for the cows.

“Recently they managed to cross a cattle grid and made a real mess of the village. You cannot risk leaving your gate open and, even then, they gather round your gate.

“They roam the village looking for food. Once they are in [your garden] it is amazing how quickly they can eat. It is awful to see these poor New Forest ponies scratching around for food because of the cows. There is only a certain amount of food to go around.”

Clerk to the Verderers, Sue Westwood, told the A&T: “At this time of year, the Forest animals do get hungry. Cattle are almost always provided with supplementary feeding if they remain on the Forest all year round.

“Unfortunately, a number of residents have not maintained their fences and, as a result, the cattle are taking full advantage and pushing their way through weak fencing. Cattle are strong animals and will push through any fence that is not fully stock-proof. If they get in once and find there are good things to eat, they will be more difficult to keep out.”

Any cattle deemed to be in poor condition can be ordered removed from the forest, but Sue added said: “The Verderers cannot, however, order the removal of animals for getting into private property where the fencing they have gone through is sub-standard.”

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