What is it about black and white animals getting a bad press?
Strikes me that they wander round the countryside, minding their own business most of the time, but they are one stern look away from being declared public enemy number one.
My Sunday paper recently reported on the 'killing fields' of trampling, butting cows. Now the UK's most likely large mammal to cause death...so much so that the HSE were reported to be on the brink of not allowing public footpaths to pass through fields of cows.
The numbers, remember them? The facts that might substantiate this horror in our midst?
Well it turns out that 74 people have been killed by cows in the last 15 years. Tragically, 56 of those were farm workers - which just goes to remind me that modern machinery doesn't remove the need for the hard slog of manual labour in this and many other industries. Every death is a tragedy, my point is that three quarters of those caused by cows were industrial incidents, not 'walkers targeted as they stroll'.
70% of the deaths were incidents related to a bull or where there was a new born calf. Of those involving walkers, the majority were circumstances exacerbated by the presence of a dog...I might hazard a guess that some of these were dogs not on leads and thus there was some reasonable basis for a bovine mother to assume a threat to her fragile calf.
So forgive me, but this doesn't sound like a sound basis on which to fence off every footpath in the country. Put your dog on a lead. Avoid bulls. Walk round and not directly at cows. Go slow. Admire - cows are lovely aren't they.
I'm standing up for cows.
And for better journalism too please - written around the facts.
And don't even get me started on the badger cull!