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Call to de-horn cattle by New Forest commoners

ALL cattle turned out onto the New Forest should have their horns removed to protect the public, a group of commoners has told the Verderers' Court.

Current advice to cattle owners is that animals grazing on the Forest should be de-horned, but there is no requirement for them to follow this recommendation.

Addressing a virtual meeting of the Verderers' Court, commoners Mark, Katie and Nicola Ferrett said the ongoing worry of cattle attacking members of the public meant all animals grazing on the open Forest and commons should now be de-horned, regardless of their breed.

Commoners call for cattle to be de-horned
Commoners call for cattle to be de-horned

Mr Ferrett continued: “This I know will be controversial, but the commoners have to compromise and have a conscience about reducing the possibility of a human being being gored by a horn.

"This will show good intent from the commoning community and also will improve the value of their stock.”

The presentment comes two years after the Commoners Defence Association wrote to 200 of its members advising that all cattle grazing on the Forest should be de-horned with exception of some British Longhorn breeds and Highland cattle because horns are seen as a “breed characteristic”.

Verderers clerk Sue Westwood stressed to the A&T that de-horning cattle was a “recommendation” and not a “requirement” for turning animals out onto the Forest.

She said: “Many commoners always de-horn their cattle to avoid any potential conflict with members of the public but also because animals are easier to manage generally when they don’t have horns.

"Cows with horns do tend to be a little more argumentative because they have horns to back it up.”

However, Ms Westwood said that it was unlikely that the verderers would ask for horns to be removed from Highland cattle and some breeds of British Longhorn, which were generally very placid.

She said: “I have never been made aware of any problems with Highland cattle. One may occasionally chase a dog if it was being bothered but even that is very rare.”

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