Cows safe on our commons!

Liberal Democrats join with graziers and local residents to celebrate success of their budget amendment to keep the cows safely on our commons.

Liberal Democrat councillors have expressed their relief that their emergency budget amendment to reinstate the full Pinder service (the post that looks after the cows grazing on commons across the city) was agreed by Cambridge City Council last night (25th Feb) following a U-turn by Labour councillors. This means that evening and weekend call-out assistance will remain in place, avoiding stress and harm to the cows when they fall into the river. The Labour-controlled council had proposed to cut this service (costing £8,000 a year).

Local graziers said that they had not been properly consulted on the planned change and that new contracts sent out by the council had made no reference to the proposed cuts – meaning that they would be expected to be on hand and available 24/7 throughout the year. Some had indicated that without this service, they would not be comfortable leaving their animals on the city commons, with the effect that this ancient and quirky Cambridge tradition, which adds so much to the biodiversity and maintenance of these celebrated open spaces could disappear.

Cllr Katie Porrer, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Open Spaces and city councillor for Market Ward, commented:

“We welcome this very necessary U-turn by Labour and the continued presence of cows on our commons around the city that this supports. The separate bid to provide a ramp on Midsummer Common will obviously help rescue any cows in the river more swiftly and safely, but as cows can enter the river at any time – they are not mindful of working hours - this out-of-hours provision is vital as well.

“We are very glad to have been able to support our valued local graziers and our residents across the city in putting this service back in place. There was no reason to risk this for a reduction in spending of £8,000 a year. It’s was a false economy as the cost of mowing the meadows alone would have offset any saving if the cows were not on there.

“It’s so disappointing to see so many threats to our open spaces from Labour recently, including the proposed mast on Jesus Green, and the rejection of my budget amendment to increase water fountains around the city to provide free drinking water and to reduce plastic waste that clogs up our commons and open spaces.

“Our commons are a shared space enjoyed by people on foot, cyclists, dogs and cows. The grazing cows are an important part of managing our commons in a sustainable way – they add to biodiversity, keep the grass short and avoid mowing costs for the council, bringing joy to everyone who sees them. I am now looking forward to carrying on the very Cambridge tradition of taking my family to see the cows on the commons later this Spring, as we and so many other people in Cambridge have done for years and years.”

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