A farmer has gifted a fold of Highland cattle to the family whose own heavily in-calf Highland cow was chased to her death by dogs.
The five cows and a bull were due to be sold at Stirling market, but when the owner read about the death of Gladis at Eggardon Hill in Dorset, he contacted her owner, beef and sheep farmer Cameron Farquharson, and offered to give the animals to him.
The cattle will relocate from Glasgow to Dorset once they have passed the required TB movement checks.
Mr Farquharson said he was overwhelmed by the farmer’s generosity and by the many offers of help he has received.
Many of the people who had contacted him wanted to donate money and more than £20,000 had been pledged.
Although Mr Farquharson said he couldn’t accept that money, he has asked those who want to donate to give money to one of five farming charities – the Addington Fund, Farming Community Network, Forage Aid, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (Rabi) and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rsabi) – to help other rural families.
Messages of support
He admitted the family had been in a “dark place” after Gladis’ death, but the messages of support they had received from across the globe had been “hugely comforting”.
“We have heard from people in Australia, Canada and France; it has restored our faith in humanity which, in the days after we lost Gladis, wasn’t there,” said Mr Farquharson.
“I am a strong person mentally, but I was really brought down by what happened. I don’t want any other farmer or farming family to feel the way we did.”
He is planning to meet with Chris Loder, the Conservative MP for West Dorset, to discuss how the law around keeping dogs on leads can be tightened.
A witness saw Gladis being chased by two loose dogs.
“It is sad that it has taken the death of a cow to draw attention to what is a very significant problem for farmers and their livestock, but I am confident that change will happen now,” said Mr Farquharson.
Updated advice in the Countryside Code states that it is “good practice” to keep dogs on a lead around livestock, but it is only a criminal offence on open access land or near the coast.
‘Keep dogs on leads’
The Dorset Police Rural Crime Team is aware of the incident at Eggardon Hill and officers have since visited Mr Farquharson to offer him advice. They have also issued a video urging dog owners to keep their dogs on leads around livestock.
In the video, PCSO Tom Balchin, an ex-farmer, appealed to dog owners to behave responsibly.
“Although your dog might not chase livestock and has never done it before, you never know what’s going to happen until the dog is presented with livestock. In that moment it might chase them, so just by putting it on a lead it will negate that problem.”
Dorset Police are also offering farmers in that force area up to four signs warning dog owners about behaving responsibility around livestock. Interested farmers are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.