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New forest cows to be de-horned after series of 'serious injuries' to walkers

By Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent

Hundreds of cows in the New Forest are set to have their horns removed because people have "lost any respect" for the dangers of livestock.

It follows a rise in "serious injuries" to walkers in the last year, including the reported goring of an 86-year-old woman.

Now owners are being asked to de-horn their cattle to help prevent future injuries.

Tony Hockley, chairman of the New Forest Commoners' Defence Association, said: "People seem to have lost all connection with the countryside and any healthy respect for large livestock.

"It is wonderful that the extensive grazed lowland heath has survived here, whilst it has been lost almost everywhere else.

"It is now a habitat that is more rare than rainforest, of global importance for biodiversity. Grazing by cattle is central to this."

He said that while, in the past, the biggest threat to the common was development, now it is "thoughtless recreation".

Mr Hockley hit out at dog walkers who refuse to put their pets on short leads when near the cattle.

"Over the years, dangerous incidents involving livestock have been extremely rare. Yet in the past two years there have been several.

"Poor behaviour by a few makes potential victims of the many. One badly-controlled dog can make an animal defensive to other dogs, however well-controlled.

"We would urge people to inform the police whenever they witness a dog out of control around livestock. It is illegal and reporting it helps protect everyone."

In August this year, 86-year-old Amelia Borrelli was gored in the leg by a cow's horn, the BBC reported.

The pensioner had to spend a week in hospital recovering from the injury.