Leggings give cows a brighter future

COWS ON Dartmoor are wearing reflective leggings and neckbands in an attempt to reduce the toll of animals killed and injured on the moor's unfenced roads.

Farmers are being encouraged by Dartmoor National Park to fit the yellow bands on the back legs of cows in their herds. The park authority is ready to spend pounds 2,000 to pay for about a fifth of the moor's 10,000 cattle to have the specially made leggings, which are held in place with extra-strong glue.

The park plans to pay half of the pounds 2 cost of a set of five-inch leggings, or the pounds 4 cost of a reflective neckband favoured by some farmers. A two-year experiment was carried out at two farms near Princetown where dozens of animals were fitted with reflectors. The death toll has fallen to near zero. At least 12 cattle a year were dying on one farm until the leggings were used - in the year after not one cow was killed. Nick Atkinson, a park officer, said: 'This may not be everyone's idea of what they expect to see from stock grazing on the moor but we think it is worthwhile.'

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