Who wins in dog walker vs farmer😕
A Peak District farmer has been forced to give up his “gentle” highland cattle after a single dog walker complained that they felt unsafe around the herd.
Alex Birch, 32, has roamed his 27-strong herd on Baslow Edge in the Peak District for 40 years, ever since his grandfather David Thorp first introduced them to the land as a young man.
Walkers in the national park regularly encountered the red-haired cattle, described as “the most photographed cows in the world”, as they grazed on the bracken.
They were even the face of BBC Look North’s weather programme.
But ramblers cannot find the animals on Baslow Edge anymore, as Mr Birch has been forced to sell and slaughter his cattle following a complaint to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) from an anonymous dog walker.
The complaint stressed concern after a walker claimed that one of the highland cows attempted to attack their dog. . .
It has gained over 23,000 signatures in just 24 hours. The petition says: “For over 40 years a herd of Highland cattle have been allowed to graze on the moorland of Baslow Edge in the Peak District, delighting walkers, cyclists and photographers.
“They have also played a crucial part in maintaining and enriching this beautiful moorland. The highland cattle actively helped the biodiversity of the area.
“Sadly, the HSE has decreed that these gentle creatures should be removed from this area due to the complaints of one individual who, by walking with a dog too close to the herd, felt that they were in danger of attack.”
It adds: “Baslow Edge is visited by thousands of people every year, who enjoy the sight of these magnificent creatures, are respectful of their space, particularly when the cows have calves, with no incident.
Cows with calves are very, very protective.
“This petition is also to show support to the farming community and Mr Thorp, the farmer who owned the herd of highland cattle on Baslow Edge. Quite simply, the act of removing this herd was uncalled for and a knee-jerk reaction to one individual.”
Despite fierce public backlash against the decision, a HSE spokesman said the matter has been ‘satisfactorily resolved’. . .
People wanting more access to farmland in New Zealand often look to the UK’s right to roam as an exemplar.
It’s stories like this which keep farmers here maintaining their private property rights which include the right to restrict entry and bar dogs on a lead or not.