‘Why Didn’t You Chase My Cow?’

If you as an average suburbanite came around the corner to find a cow on the loose – what would you do?

Last night after work I needed to stop by the Church for a copy of the notice sheet, and as you may be aware, close to St James is Church Farm. As a result of the recent Foot and Mouth outbreak the owner of Church Farm has been complaining quite vocally that due to the movement ban his cattle are stranded in a particular field and he is not allowed to relocate them. The important point to consider if this sounds a bit odd is that the field is crossed by a public footpath, and the local council also won’t close the path.

With this in mind it was quite a surprise as I drove up Church Lane to come around the corner and find a large black cow trotting towards me. Unlike my wife I have little experience with cattle, so whilst there have been occasions when I’ve been called on to help, for example the occasion we came down the road to the ranch and found one of the cows very determinedly walking along the road to town, I basically do what I am told and rely on the greater experience to encourage the animal back to where it should be. Not quite knowing whether the cow on Friday was running from something, or just on a curious wander I just stopped totally so as not to scare it.

Interestingly the cow did the same, came to a stop, and then slowly walked up to the car checking it out, it then wandered over and started investigating the hedge on the other side of the road.

Then a woman came around the next corner obviously looking for the cow, which didn’t seem to bother the animal until the woman was followed by the owner of Church Farm running after them both, at which point the cow bolted again and ran on down the road behind me.

With the cow already disappearing away I then moved off up the lane – primarily to get out the way of them chasing the cow back up the road, however I then got an earful from the owner of Church Farm as he passed. Primarily I think he was probably worked up over having one of his animals running around on the road, but still I apparently should have got out and chased the cow back up the road for him rather than do what I did. My lack of farming experience shouldn’t have stopped me standing in front of the animal running down the road it seems. Anyway, a little further up the road, just beyond the gate through which the animal had escaped was another bemused motorist who had no idea why a strange guy in an overall had asked him to stop, so I stopped alongside him as the cow was chased back up the road and finding us in the way went back into the field.

What is interesting though is that I think I probably did what any average suburbanite would do when confronted by a large animal loose in the road, indeed the standard advice in the Highway Code when meeting animals on the road is not to scare them. Certainly the idea of getting out of the car to chase a possibly slightly freaked out comparatively large animal in the opposite direction wouldn’t seem to be high on the list of wise things to do. So the question is, what would you do?

One thought on “‘Why Didn’t You Chase My Cow?’”

  1. Speaking as someone who has a fair amount of experience with cows, moving them from point A to point B, and having some idea of how they’ll act in a given situation, I would have done pretty much what you did. I probably would have slowed down to a few km/hr, eased over onto the opposite shoulder of the road (provided this wasn’t likely to have caused a traffic hazard) and eased by the cow, speeding up again once past her. It’s hard to chase a cow “home” when you’re not sure where she’s supposed to be.

    I think you just got the brunt of the farmer’s temper, not out of doing anything wrong, but being a handy target for venting. This I can understand even though it isn’t fair to you; trying to chase down a single wayward cow can be frustrating. For such large and purposefully stupid creatures (we’ve selected all the smart ones out as “lunch”) then can be surprisingly wily about out maneuvering a single person on foot whom they can easily outrun.

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