A farmer has highlighted the highly damaging impact litter, in particular, dog waste, is having on his cattle’s health.
Dog waste can contain Neospora, a parasite-type organism that can infect cattle. If dog waste is left on a field, then a cow may come into contact with it either whilst grazing or when the grass is harvested.
To note, Neospora can potentially cause cows to miscarry their calves or cause the calves to be born with neurological problems.
Even if a dog is healthy and up-to-date with vaccinations, it can still carry Neospora without its owners knowing.
25% of the herd infected annually
Mark Frost, a farmer in Surrey, is particularly struggling with the disease. Because of public access, they have always had to deal with some cases of Neospora, about 5% in the past.
“But we are now up to a quarter of the herd infected because of the unprecedented year we have just had. We have calculated, on a yearly basis, that the disease is now costing us between £7,000 and £8,000.”
Frost explained that the farmers have experienced dog attacks over the years and have had “cows coming in with bite marks on their udders and legs”.
“My father has been farming here for 42 years, and this is the most worrying time we have seen in that period. If this carries on, it could have huge implications. We could get to the point where we cannot carry on.”
“The last year has been extremely trying. Every weekend really, it’s been like a mini-Glastonbury has happened in the field opposite the car park. I have been going up there, filling up the back of the Landrover with beer cans, beer bottles, food wrappers and a lot of surgical masks as well.”
In conclusion, the dairy farmer urged the public to “pick up your waste and take it home”.