NINE COWS have been generously gifted to a west Dorset farmer following the death of his Highland cow, which has sparked a national campaign to keep dogs on leads around livestock.

Cameron Farquharson of Eggardon Hill farm has received the cows from fellow farmer, Stan Sadler, who was devastated after reading the story of Mr Farquharson's cow Gladys.

Gladys, a four-year-old heavily pregnant Highland cow fell 40 feet to her death after being chased by two off-lead dogs at the farm, near Askerswell.

Mr Farquharson is now leading a campaign which would see a new law introduced to prevent dogs to be allowed off lead whilst near livestock.

Mr Farquharson said: "The public have been amazing to me and my family, but when I received a call and was offered these cows, it reduced me and my family to tears, and was overwhelmed by the gesture."

South West Farmer: Cameron Farquharson with GladisCameron Farquharson with Gladis

Mr Sadler said: "I was just looking at the news one afternoon and saw the story. It really resonated with me and I really related to what he had gone through. It really made me quite emotional.

"Bringing up my own animals I could completely identify with the man's loss. I wanted to do something to support him as I was overcome by the need to try to track him down, make contact and explain my circumstances.

"Farming is challenging and losing an animal you and your family have brought up is heartbreaking."

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Mr Sadler has lived in Bournemouth for 24 years, working in mental health, but would commute back to Scotland every month to work on his family farm.

He added: "As a result of the pandemic, I hadn't been back to Scotland for a year and left my uncle to look after my animals up there. I was getting less involved with my animals and knew I could do something for Cameron.

"I found a number online and explained why I was calling. I did have to explain that it was a genuine offer. I said 'I would like to offer my support and would like to offer you a cow for the one you've lost along with her younger sister'.

"I had made the decision to move the rest of my cows on and sell them. They were all there together and I decided instead of taking the money from the sale I would gain far more satisfaction by giving the animals to Cameron. I knew it was a family run farm, well-liked by the local community and I thought what a great place it would be for them to live.

"I thought this was the best possible outcome for everyone involved."

The herd was delivered to Eggardon Hill on Thursday, August 12 and consists of one bull, three cows - a female who has had offspring - two heifers - a female who has not had offspring - and three carves.

Jon Lee, a friend of Mr Farquharson, has been helping to organise the campaign for stricter dog lead laws.

Mr Lee said: "It's such a generous thing for him to do, a really nice gesture.

"He called up and offered the cows and we thought 'really, what's the catch?' But he said no catch, he had the cows and he wanted to give them to Cameron as he was so upset about what happened.

"He's a really lovely bloke, he's currently down in Dorset and wants to spend time with the cows. Cameron has gifted his previous bull to somebody else as obviously you don't want two bulls around the place."

He added: "Cameron has received several donations from people wanting to give him the money to donate to another cow but he has referred them to other farming charities."

More than £39,000 has currently been raised from donations originally meant for Mr Farquharson to the Farming Community Network, the Addington Fund, Forage Aid, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and the Royal Scotland Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI), each of which support the farming community.

Following the untimely death of Gladys, a campaign was launched to introduce the change in the law. This has now been heavily backed by West Dorset MP Chris Loder and Farming Minister Victoria Prentis among others.

The group are hopeful that they can get the law passed as early as May 2022.