Taking the Cow Menace Seriously

It looks like someone is finally taking the menace of killer cows seriously.

Scientists are trying to create a ?health and safety? cow by genetically modifying the animals to have no horns, in order to reduce the risk of injuring farmers, walkers and other creatures.

Researchers are using gene-editing techniques to insert a DNA patch into the genome of Holsteins, Britain’s foremost dairy breed, to suppress horn growth.

The extra DNA has been taken from other breeds of cattle to create a dairy cow that is identical in every respect to existing livestock but without the horns.?

Preventing horn growth would eliminate the need for many farmers to burn off the horn buds of calves in what is a difficult and intensely painful procedure for the animals.

Mansel Raymond, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union Dairy Board for England and Wales, and who keeps 600 Holsteins on his Pembrokeshire farm, said: “The worst thing is the pain for the calf once the anaesthetic wears off.

?So it would be very positive to create hornless cows. It would save a lot of time for us and pain for the calf. Everybody wins.”

Cattle remain among the most dangerous of livestock, with five farmworkers killed and 91 injured by cattle in 2010-11, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Two members of the public were also killed, and 17 more seriously injured.

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