Bulls in your field- where do you stand?

I was with a group of farmers recently, chewing the cud, when the discussion turned to  bulls in fields. One of the group was miffed when ticked off by a rambler for having a dairy bull in a field through which there was a public footpath. His reaction was "I'll put my stock where I want to and they had better look out!"

What he hadn't realised was that it is actually an offence under Section 59 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to keep bulls of recognised dairy breeds over 10 months old in fields crossed by public rights of way.

Bulls of all other breeds are also banned from such fields unless accompanied by cows or heifers.

I think that a lot of farmers are not aware of this or at least unsure of the law. In the case of McKaskie and Cameron, the farmer, Mr Cameron was held liable for  injuries Ms McKaskie suffered when attacked by a cow with a calf at foot when walking on a public right of way with her dog.

So liability can extend to animals not normally considered dangerous if there are situations where the owner might foresee such an action, such as a suckler cow "defending" her calf.

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