Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 10:12 UK

Drivers warned over grazing cows

Cattle on Minchinhampton Common
The fire service said it often dealt with collisions between cars and cows

The annual turnout of cattle onto Minchinhampton and Rodborough commons in Gloucestershire has begun.

More than 400 animals will be put out to graze over the next few weeks, prompting warnings to motorists in the area to observe the 40mph speed limit.

Banners bearing the message: "We're out now, moooove safely" have gone up at the entry points to the commons.

Councillor Stan Waddington said grazing of cattle was essential to preserve the "unique ecology" of the commons.

Time to react

"They represent someone's livelihood," he said.

"A significant number of cattle are turned out every year and I would urge people to respect their right to be there.

"All animals are unpredictable and drivers should always give themselves plenty of time to react if they suddenly appear on the road.

"Failure to do so puts both themselves and the animals at unnecessary risk."

Stroud fire station manager Colin Southwood said: "All too often we have to deal with the aftermath of accidents involving motor vehicles and cattle.

"These are big animals, which, if hit can cause severe damage to a vehicle and usually end in the death of the animal and possibly serious injuries to drivers and passengers."

Cattle on the 'moo-ve' at weekend
11 May 07 |  Bristol/Somerset

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