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Guardianship news – Custody of cows sparks Richmond row

25th June 2012

The current guardian of the cows, which are grazing on Petersham meadows, is the National Trust. However, calls have been made for guardianship to be handed back to the Petersham Trust as the current custodians are accused of having erected electric fencing which is ineffective and does not protect the cows or local residents, while fundamentally changing the nature of the site.

The fencing was erected after a dog attacked the cows and the National Trust has said that it consulted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before making a decision on the fencing.

However, local campaigners want the meadows returned to their previous fenceless state and believe that the Petersham Trust could protect the cows as well as residents without need for fencing.

Councillor Virginia Morris, Richmond Council cabinet member for environment, said, “While we weren’t able to identify an alternative to the electric fence that suits all partners involved, we were all able to agree that the safety of the residents using the meadow is of paramount importance.

“There isn’t going to be a quick solution.”

Until such a time as a suitable solution is found to the issue of cows and electric fences, guardianship of the beasts will remain with the National Trust which says it is committed to the fencing at present, but willing to work towards a solution.

However, when a town meeting was held in May to discuss the issue only 7% of those present said they were in favour of electric fencing at the site.

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