Beware of Cows
The statistics make grim reading. In a 2013 report, Overview of Fatal Incidents Involving Cattle, the Health and Safety Executive notes in its usual lapidary prose that ‘this paper gives an overview of fatal incidents involving cattle to (a) Enable Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee members to consider the current trends in agriculture accidents involving cattle.’ There is no room for complacency. The HSE logs 74 ‘fatalities involving cattle’ in the UK in 2000-15, compared to 53 deaths caused by Islamist terrorism in the same period. Many of the victims were farm workers, while eighteen were ‘MOPs’ or members of the public. These victims were disproportionately older people (only one was under 50, thirteen were over 60 and as many as five were over 70).
More chilling still, as the HSE report makes clear, is the specific threat posed by out-of-control mothering cows. Of incident reports where the gender of the assailant was identified, ten involved cows with calves, and only one a bull. Hence it emerges that predominantly older people are being targeted by nursing cattle. Vegans seem largely to have been spared. But nobody is wholly safe from this civilisational threat, not just to our persons but to our old, carnivorous values.
The HSE notes that both beef and dairy animals have been involved in carrying out the atrocities. It is also apparent that a high proportion of foreign breeds have been responsible. (I grew up surrounded by Jersey cattle and can confirm their docility.) In one episode in Wiltshire, which came to court at the end of last year, a university professor was trampled to death by a herd of about thirty ‘highly excited, jostling’ continental beef cattle. An eye-witness to the tragedy, the victim’s brother, testified that the cows kept knocking him down and trampling him ‘as if it was something they really wanted to do’.
National resolve seems to be holding up. MOPs can be confident that Defra is quietly co-ordinating to counter the threat. The watchword, as ever, is vigilance. The mayor of London made clear in a statement last night that Londoners will ‘never let themselves be cowed by terrorism’ – or, one may assume, terrorised by cows.