Glow In The Dark Cows

5th January 2016

In the town of Hungerford, Berkshire, earlier this year, councilors suggested fitting reflective hi-vis collars to the cattle on Hungerford Common, in order to make them more visible and consequently safer when grazing in poor light.

As you might expect, farmers laughed the idea out of the town hall? along with the estimated œ3,000 cost of the bovine necklaces, which the animals were expected to rapidly lose in hedgerows and gorse bushes as they wandered.

As an improvement to the much-maligned plans of Hungerford mayor Martin Crane, in which he (possibly sarcastically) also recommended the addition of flashing lights to the disco-cattle of Hungerford Common, the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society have developed a luminous paint with which to mark ponies, sheep and cows.

The idea was tested on a number of Dartmoor’s ponies, having been inspired by the antlers of Scandinavian deer being made to glow-in-the-dark to help protect them from road traffic accidents. With at least 60 animals having died on Dartmoor’s roads in 2015, it is hoped that the application of the paint in a strip around the animal will reduce their vulnerability.

The scheme is due to be rolled out across the moor over the winter months; as the days grow shorter, fingers are crossed that more livestock than ever will make it through the nights unscathed.

However, the underlying message, amongst all of the horsing around, is that of genuine concern for both the animals and the drivers travelling through the area; safer driving, particularly sticking to the speed limits even when the nearest car is likely to be a number of miles away, is arguably the simplest way to prevent accidents occurring. A number of farmers have also noted that in collisions between cows and cars, the cars tend to come off second best.

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