TWO young cows have died in agony after eating grass and hedge clippings which had been dumped in the New Forest.

The four-year-old animals, which were owned by Alison Lance, died after a large amount of toxic material was left on a grass verge at Ogdens, near Fordingbridge.

One of the poisoned cows died before she before she could be treated by a vet.

Later an animal thought to have been grazing in the same area was also affected. She initially appeared to be responding to treatment but had to be humanely destroyed.

Daily Echo:

Mrs Lance said a tractor was needed to remove all the waste.

She told the Daily Echo: “The first cow became extremely ill and died just as the vet got to her. She took a blood sample and confirmed the animal had been poisoned.

“A few days later a cow called Alice also became unwell.

“We called the vet immediately and he managed to keep her going for a couple of days but in the end we had to have her put down.

“Garden waste can contain toxic items such as laurel and grass clippings. Animals can also end up chewing small bits of wood, which they can’t pass and can’t digest.”

Daily Echo:

Earlier this year a pony died after eating grass cuttings which had been left near a cattle grid between Boldre and Sway.

Several other incidents have been reported in recent years.

On one occasion almost 200 bags of clippings had to be removed from a Site of Special Scientific Interest at Ashurst.

Speaking at the time a Forestry Commission spokeswoman said the dumping of garden waste was classed as fly-tipping and was thus illegal.

She added: “It can cause problems for several reasons, not least because some garden plants are poisonous to animals grazing on the open forest. Grass cuttings can also cause colic, leading to a slow and painful death.”

All the free-roaming animals in the Forest are owned by people known as commoners - villagers with the right to let their animals graze the landscape.

Tony Hockley of Commoners’ Defence Association said he was “very sorry” to hear about the incident involving the two cows.

He added: “We’ve put a lot of effort into warning people about the dangers presented to livestock by garden waste, which causes considerable suffering.

“I implore people to resist the urge to dump anything in the Forest. It's dangerous, illegal and completely pointless.”