Baslow Edge Highland cows are gone following a dog incident

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#1
I’ve just heard the sad news after 40 years the Highland cows on Baslow Edge are gone (BBC report). Sadly it seems there was an incident where a dog on a lead that was attacked by the cows trying the protect their calves. It seems it couldn’t be sorted out privately and lead to HSE involvement in which they were deemed as a H&S risk.

Whilst as a dog owner I’m glad to heard the dog was on a lead but it does lead to the question, if you are walking in the countryside should you can expect farm animals to possibly be present? Whilst this part of the Peak District isn’t a large cattle farming area it was well known the Highland cows were there. Last year I seem to remember there were warming signs highlighting the fact the cows were present and had calves.

As a dog owner if there are cows with calves and i have a dog just don’t go near them and avoid them completely. Surely thats just common sense?

Quote from the article, "As there's nowhere else for them to go, they had to get rid of them. The pregnant ones were sold off, the ones which weren't will be killed”. It’s very sad that it’s going to lead to the death of several of the cows, and all because of an incident where there was no injury. It could also set a dangerous precedence. How many other places could it affect? Could deer parks with public access have to restrictive movement of free roaming deer because they pose a H&S hazard?

A petition has been set up, you can find it on the link below. Hopefully it can be overturned because it seems a silly and over the top reaction.

https://www.change.org/p/national-trust-the-return-of-highland-cattle-on-baslow-edge

I was lucky to catch the Highland cows a few times in 2018. On all of those occasions calves where present but you just had to be sensible. Here’s some of my photos of them.

9761A107-2EBB-4CB7-B3BA-3895207813C3.jpeg B32DCF2A-6A04-4009-8634-C9B7CB042DB1.jpeg 8C733591-44B6-46BE-9B70-59067195C6D3.jpeg
 
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#2
Surely this is one of those situations of managed risk and in this instance the outcome is wrong!!!

Visitors will soon complain about the place not looking like it used to........why, well cattle would have created/modified the vegitation and without that regular grazing it will change potentially to the biodiversity that has developed.

As you say it is not just about keeping the dog on lead, it also needs the dog owner to cross the land where farm stock is kept to know the "rules".
 
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#5
Surely this is one of those situations of managed risk and in this instance the outcome is wrong!!!

Visitors will soon complain about the place not looking like it used to........why, well cattle would have created/modified the vegitation and without that regular grazing it will change potentially to the biodiversity that has developed.

As you say it is not just about keeping the dog on lead, it also needs the dog owner to cross the land where farm stock is kept to know the "rules".
When the rare plants dwindle they will blame climate change or pesticides.
Definitely, just seems over the top. Sense seems to disappeared. I’m usually one that sticks up for H&S but it’s ridiculous decisions like this that makes it a laughing stock and harms the good things they do. A few signs and a little sense from everyone it could easily be managed.

I gather the cows where there for conservation grazing. They were chosen because of their hardiness to survive in the environment. It’s cane be pretty awful up there at times.
 
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#6
Sad. PC nonsense and our litigious culture. Imagine if a child got hurt or worse, and the HSE knew of the risk but did nothing - hell to pay.

I'm absolutely against this kind of thing. I try to be sensible and not upset anyone (or cows) but reserve the right to do stupid things if I'm stupid enough, and accept the consequences. But I don't think the HSE had much choice.
 
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#7
Makes wonder what would happen on Dartmoor (or New Forest?) under this scenario.

The ponies wander freely (let alone the cattle) and quite often they will gather in the car parks when the ice cream vans are about. Now, the ponies in the main are very tolerant of people but they can get fiesty with each other if squabbling over food, given to them wrongly by the people.

Just what would the HSE do if someone gets kicked or knocked over by the squabbling equines i.e. not a clear direct "attack" against the person! Would they just remind the complainant that there are signs about not feeding the ponies for a reason or tell all the pony owners they must remove them from the moor???
 
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#8
Makes wonder what would happen on Dartmoor (or New Forest?) under this scenario.

The ponies wander freely (let alone the cattle) and quite often they will gather in the car parks when the ice cream vans are about. Now, the ponies in the main are very tolerant of people but they can get fiesty with each other if squabbling over food, given to them wrongly by the people.

Just what would the HSE do if someone gets kicked or knocked over by the squabbling equines i.e. not a clear direct "attack" against the person! Would they just remind the complainant that there are signs about not feeding the ponies for a reason or tell all the pony owners they must remove them from the moor???
The cows do set something of a precedent which is unfortunate, but I think the NF ponies are safe. They attract tourism and therefore have a commercial value. Money talks.
 
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#9
Remember the first time I saw one, I was about 10/11.. Was walking through some high bracken and turned a corner and there was one jsut stood there about 3 feet away.
I was fascinated and terrified at the same time, just looked at me, chewing and carried on so as I edged past it.

Said to my other half that were going to look for them this year as the weather got a bit better. Such a shame!

Signed the petition and will be sharing
 
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#10
Sad. PC nonsense and our litigious culture. Imagine if a child got hurt or worse, and the HSE knew of the risk but did nothing - hell to pay.

I'm absolutely against this kind of thing. I try to be sensible and not upset anyone (or cows) but reserve the right to do stupid things if I'm stupid enough, and accept the consequences. But I don't think the HSE had much choice.
I can understand the HSE were drawn into a corner by this and didn’t have much choice....but it sets a dangerous precedence. Does this means farmers everywhere shouldn’t keep any livestock in a field where a public footpath crosses through because someone could take a dog through with the same possible consequences? What about deer parks that have public footpaths running through and free roaming deer? Will the same happen there as there is a similar hazard especially during the rut?

There has to be a point where if you are walking in the countryside that you have to expect and accept there are countryside hazards with your responsibility to take sensible precautions to ensure your and their safety.

The sensible option is place high visibility warning signs so people are responsibility for their own safety and make the decision to proceed or not. Another solution could be to close off the footpath access whilst their are calves present. The problem is some people would take offence to that too. Another option would be to provide a second footpath option that’s protected by the wall and an additional fence.

Whatever the solution is when making something idiot proof is you can just get a better class of idiot. How long will it be before the gritstone edges are all fenced off at the edge because there is a fall from height risk and child could get hurt? The list is endless when we use ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ culture that’s invading our lives. In the end the countryside won’t be the countryside anymore, or the reason many people visit it.

Last year I spent some time photographing the cows. I was photographing one cow st the end of Feb only to find it’s calf hidden in the grass between us. As soon as I knew it had a very young calf I left. Returning in August the calves were a bit older and more used to people but I still tried to avoid getting near to them or between them and their mother. Taking sensibile precautions I generally felt quite safe amongst them. On a few occasions they where surrounding the exit gate so I waited for them to move- sometimes it took 10 minutes. That’s what happens in the countryside and something you can’t do anything about.

They are quite gentle but if you do anything to make them feel threatened their instinct will be to protect just like ours is. Introducing a dog very close to them will likely make them react and protect their young like any animal or human would.

The highlands cows aren’t as a well known tourist attraction as the New Forest ponies but they have been there 40 years and many people visit them each year as they are quite well known. It’s sad to see that tradition and conservation grazing go because of this incident.
 

Nod

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#11
Now, the ponies in the main are very tolerant of people but they can get fiesty with each other if squabbling over food, given to them wrongly by the people.
This is the problem (on Dartmoor and probably in the new Forest as well) - well intentioned people want to get closer to the ponies (especially the foals [which are, admittedly, VERY cute!]) so feed them. The ponies then equate people with treats so hang around the car parks and can get quite aggressive when either treats aren't forthcoming or people approach their foals. The cows aren't so cute and are smelly so don't get fed treats and aren't a problem!
 
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#13
The area should be dog walker free and the cattle kept. There are plenty of places to take a f*****g dog too - why near a farm and/or cows. I wish certain places were designated dog free so nature can be enjoyed without some muppet and their dog.
This. Lead or not, there's really no need to take a dog there. I assume it's a public space rather than private land?
 
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#14
This. Lead or not, there's really no need to take a dog there. I assume it's a public space rather than private land?
Agree - even if it's a public space there should be rules where dogs can and cannot be taken not just for the safety of other animals but also out of consideration for people (and I am not the only one) who really cannot abide dogs.
 
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Agree - even if it's a public space there should be rules where dogs can and cannot be taken not just for the safety of other animals but also out of consideration for people (and I am not the only one) who really cannot abide dogs.
You do have to question why the dogs are more important than the cattle. Is it really "man's best friend vs food"?
 
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#17
You do have to question why the dogs are more important than the cattle. Is it really "man's best friend vs food"?
It's also about scarcity - there are ample places to go with dogs - many many places. There aren't that many places, particularly in England, where there are Highland Cattle. It would seem logical that the few places where these cattle are might be dog free for the safety of the dogs, well being of the cattle and public.
 
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#18
Ridiculous decision when you can come across dangerous animals that have been placed along the public footpaths on purpose.

Signed the petition :plus1:
 
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#19
Agree - even if it's a public space there should be rules where dogs can and cannot be taken not just for the safety of other animals but also out of consideration for people (and I am not the only one) who really cannot abide dogs.
Yes agree with you I’ve always believed that dogs should not be allowed on nature reserves with sensitive species
My local place whixall moss has signs up for dogs to be kept on leads because of ground nesting birds
Many dog owners ignore this and let their dogs run around with no control
 

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#21
In a similar vein (but with a different outcome) there was a court case in France yesterday that awarded damages of 815,000 Euros against two dog owners. The dogs startled two horses leading to serious injuries to one of the riders. It seems that the dogs were more than 10 metres from the horses but acting in a threatening manner which resulted in the accident on a public road.
 
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#22
Yes agree with you I’ve always believed that dogs should not be allowed on nature reserves with sensitive species
My local place whixall moss has signs up for dogs to be kept on leads because of ground nesting birds
Many dog owners ignore this and let their dogs run around with no control
You see it all the time - not just in this country but other European ones. Dog owners, as a collective in my experience, tend to be some of the most inconsiderate people going. My view is there should be dog free areas and a law that dogs should be on the leash on pavements/roads/parks etc.
 
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#23
Signed the petition. I've never seen these beautiful beasts in person mainly because I'm a dog owner and woudn't dream of putting either my dog, the cows, myself or others in danger by taking her anywhere near.

I truly hope this decision can be reveresed before it's too late and the cows are destroyed or relocated.
 
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#24
No doubt cows with their calves are a added risk but in my experience all cattle (including weaned calves on their own) are “interested” in dogs and having a dog on a lead in a field of cattle can put you at risk from being crushed etc if you are against a fence or gate. Letting the dog off the lead soles one problem but can lead to others ;).
Although there may be a right of way or right to roam in many cases I’m not sure if that apples to dogs? Perhaps notices to the effect that you take a dog in at your own risk would be the answer?
 
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#25
You see it all the time - not just in this country but other European ones. Dog owners, as a collective in my experience, tend to be some of the most inconsiderate people going. My view is there should be dog free areas and a law that dogs should be on the leash on pavements/roads/parks etc.
I'm sorry, but as a responsible dog owner for the past 55 years (since I was 9 years old) I find this kind of gross generalisation offensive. I have met far more antisocial humans than unruly dogs so maybe we should have areas where they are banned, or kept on a leash?
 
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#26
You see it all the time - not just in this country but other European ones. Dog owners, as a collective in my experience, tend to be some of the most inconsiderate people going. My view is there should be dog free areas and a law that dogs should be on the leash on pavements/roads/parks etc.
I knew this would degenerate into an anti-dog thread :mad:.
 
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#27
I'm sorry, but as a responsible dog owner for the past 55 years (since I was 9 years old) I find this kind of gross generalisation offensive. I have met far more antisocial humans than unruly dogs so maybe we should have areas where they are banned, or kept on a leash?
I find unruly dogs offensive - and their owners justification for them even more so.
 
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#28
No doubt cows with their calves are a added risk but in my experience all cattle (including weaned calves on their own) are “interested” in dogs and having a dog on a lead in a field of cattle can put you at risk from being crushed etc if you are against a fence or gate. Letting the dog off the lead soles one problem but can lead to others ;).
Although there may be a right of way or right to roam in many cases I’m not sure if that apples to dogs? Perhaps notices to the effect that you take a dog in at your own risk would be the answer?
Or just a no dogs allowed sign?

There’s plenty of places to walk dogs. It’s nice to have some places in nature that are dog walker free.
 
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#30
I can understand the HSE were drawn into a corner by this and didn’t have much choice....but it sets a dangerous precedence. Does this means farmers everywhere shouldn’t keep any livestock in a field where a public footpath crosses through because someone could take a dog through with the same possible consequences? What about deer parks that have public footpaths running through and free roaming deer? Will the same happen there as there is a similar hazard especially during the rut?

There has to be a point where if you are walking in the countryside that you have to expect and accept there are countryside hazards with your responsibility to take sensible precautions to ensure your and their safety.

The sensible option is place high visibility warning signs so people are responsibility for their own safety and make the decision to proceed or not. Another solution could be to close off the footpath access whilst their are calves present. The problem is some people would take offence to that too. Another option would be to provide a second footpath option that’s protected by the wall and an additional fence.

Whatever the solution is when making something idiot proof is you can just get a better class of idiot. How long will it be before the gritstone edges are all fenced off at the edge because there is a fall from height risk and child could get hurt? The list is endless when we use ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ culture that’s invading our lives. In the end the countryside won’t be the countryside anymore, or the reason many people visit it.

Last year I spent some time photographing the cows. I was photographing one cow st the end of Feb only to find it’s calf hidden in the grass between us. As soon as I knew it had a very young calf I left. Returning in August the calves were a bit older and more used to people but I still tried to avoid getting near to them or between them and their mother. Taking sensibile precautions I generally felt quite safe amongst them. On a few occasions they where surrounding the exit gate so I waited for them to move- sometimes it took 10 minutes. That’s what happens in the countryside and something you can’t do anything about.

They are quite gentle but if you do anything to make them feel threatened their instinct will be to protect just like ours is. Introducing a dog very close to them will likely make them react and protect their young like any animal or human would.

The highlands cows aren’t as a well known tourist attraction as the New Forest ponies but they have been there 40 years and many people visit them each year as they are quite well known. It’s sad to see that tradition and conservation grazing go because of this incident.
Prominent warning signs (in six languages :D) are sensible and reasonable. Tourists can be pretty stupid (including me) and need to be warned about dangers that might not be immediately obvious. But that's it. Proceed at your own risk - with consideration and respect.

Highland cattle are an undoubted highlight of a visit to Scotland, and could be an even bigger tourist attraction. They're simply spectacular against those amazing highland backdrops and should be encouraged. There's a TV series on at the moment, featuring highland cattle, and last night I heard that Scotland attracts three times its population in annual visitors, spending many bi££ions. This is a job for the Tourist Board, not HSE.

Signed petition (on link in first post) (y)
 
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#31
Don't sweat it he's the only one, he has history with this, a pathological hatred of all dogs.
You're right - I really do not like them and go to fair extreme lengths to avoid coming close to dogs. A lot of people don't actually like dogs - and I don't think in this day and age it's too much to ask for dog owners to have some consideration for other animals and other peoples well being by keeping them on a tight lead or away from certain places.

Better still - indeed councils/government to not allow them in certain places at certain times. Clearly this dude didn't and yet it's the landowner and public that pay the price.
 
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#33
a number of people get it wrong and are killed by cattle every year, most of them are farm workers.
almost infinitely more get it wrong while driving and are killed.
We do not ban cars.
The risk from these particular Highland cattle is tiny, and they have not yet hurt anyone.
They are doing a great job keeping the moorland open and able to support native plants.
I would suggest that a few notices warning idiots not to go near cattle with calves is more than sufficient.

Cattle are always potentially dangerous and those with horns more obviously so.
We used to show Ayrshire cattle many years ago, and one put her horn right through the side of my white coat when I was showing it. (and I knew what I was doing,) but it was spooked by a dog in the crowd and was trying to get away.
The greatest danger from Cattle is from being crushed against things , being kicked or trampled.

It is rather like incomers moving into a property next to a church, and then complaining about the clock chimes or the bells.
 
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#34
You're right - I really do not like them. A lot of people don't actually - and I don't think in this day and age it's too much to ask for dog owners to have some consideration for other animals and other peoples well being by keeping them on a tight lead. Better still - indeed councils/government to not allow them in certain places at certain times. Clearly this dude didn't and yet it's the landowner and public that pay the price.
I'm a dog lover but I do not like to see them bothering the wildlife when feeding the squirrels and bids and the fact that the majority of dog owners I see on these occasions don't seem to give a flying how their dog behaves and the effect on the wildlife or other visitors disappoints me. Anyone see that recent clip of a dog bothering a sea on the north eastern news recently? Where was the owner...

I don't know what happened on this particular occasion with the cattle. The dog may have been perfectly well behaved and it may have prompted a reaction simply because it was a dog and it was there or it may have been acting in a way that prompted the reaction. Whatever the cause my own preference would be to ban all dogs from the area rather than have the cattle removed.
 
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#35
Cows are curious and will come across a field to see what is what.
If they have new calves they will not do so. their instinct is to keep their distance and protect the calf.
They usually stay off to the side of the rest of the herd.
Though if threatened, the entire herd will come to the rescue.
If you approach them with or without a dog you are taking a risk.
Farmers need to check the calves, and know the risks and how to minimise them. Everyone else should steer clear.
 
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#36
If I had a dog then I wouldn't go walking it through a field of livestock or bloodstock that had dependent young, nor would I walk it though a field containing a bull (even a beef breed with cows). As another forum member said above, there are plenty of other places to walk a dog, so I wouldn't feel particularly disadvantaged if I had to change my route for a few months. In my view, its all about understanding the countryside and working with it.

Whilst on the subject of the countryside, one of the things that annoys me is when people complain about muddy footpaths in the countryside in winter - it's Britain, it's winter and it's the countryside, it's bound to be muddy in places, particularly if we have a wet winter! So either go somewhere more suited to your individual preferences until it dries out, or, if you're physically fit enough to cope with the challenge of such terrain, then buy a good pair of comfortable wellies and learn how your washing machine works!
 
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#38
A heard used to walk past our front gate twice a day, I used to often cross the fields and I often collected straw from the barns. I'm not normally nervous of animals but I've always shown a lot of respect to cattle, horses and pigs all of which I've had similar close experience of and I wouldn't dream of taking a dog anywhere near any of them.

When I used to do H&S risk assessments some used a scoring system but instead I used language to describe both the likelihood of any incident occurring and the seriousness of any likely injury. I did this as some used to get lost in the numbers or even try to fiddle the figures a bit which was arguably quite easy to do with a scoring system whereas if I said something like "there's a predictable risk of death occurring" it's quite clear what I'm saying and company directors tended to listen. Anyway in the case of people being in close proximity to large powerful animals off the top of my head I'd say that there is a predictable risk of fatality. Just to be clear this means that deaths can be predictably expected. This seems reasonable to me given that people have to be in close proximity to large powerful animals and some are going to get killed. We know that we need animals and we need farmers and trainers and that there'll even sometimes be the public there too so we must try and minimise the risk as much as we can through training and safeguards.

The risk needs to be managed as well as we can manage these things. It's a bit similar to air travel, or cars or anything else I suppose as we're allowing activities that will kill a number of people and we can even make a good guess at how many will die but we need these things and activities to live the lives we want to live. All we can do is try and minimise the number of injuries and deaths as much as we can.

This doesn't take injury or death of animals into account as they were never a consideration for me but surely anyone can see that placing large powerful animals with their young and humans in close proximity needs to be carefully managed with training and safeguards needing to be in place. Adding dogs to the mix IMO makes incidents much more likely and TBH with my H&S hat on I'd reduce that risk by removing all non working dogs entirely from the equation as they don't need to be there.

Anyway. That'd be my answer. Keep the cattle and ban all dogs and place signs up in all of the usual languages to the following effect "WARNING - No dogs or other animals allowed under any circumstances. No powered transport allowed under any circumstances. Be aware that cattle can be extremely dangerous especially when calves are present. Do not approach livestock. Do not deviate from the marked path. Do not make loud noises. Do not make sudden or threatening movements or gestures. Behave responsibly. Keep children under control at all times."
 
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#40
Sadly not all dog owners are fully responsible dog owners.

Plus not everyone walking in the countryside is a careful & thoughtful person when it comes to 'taking responsibility' for their actions/activity whilst there.

Take these two scales of behaviours and somewhere along those lines there will intersect(s) that will end up creating a problem of one sort or another :(
 
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