Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bunnies target of 'gun-toting cow'

A hill farmer has a cunning plan to rid his fields of a plague of rabbits.

Paul Coppen, 69, who has farmed at White Close Hill, near Bowes in County Durham, since 1975 and supplies London's oldest restaurant, Rules of Covent Garden with pedigree beef, was struggling to keep an army of rabbits from stripping his pastures bare.

So in an attempt to gain the upper hand, he camouflaged his vintage Massey Ferguson tractor as a cow - complete with a firing platform and a gunslit from which to blast the unwary bunnies.

He admitted the disguise - a black and white heifer painted on a wooden board fixed to the side of the vehicle - was not entirely foolproof.

"I won't pretend this device is going to be the be all and end all of rabbit control - but it does seem to startle them somewhat and stops them from scampering away too quickly, which give us a chance to have a shot at them.

"Luckily, no cows have been accidentally shot so far and Granite Brain, the stock bull, has not displayed any amorous or belligerent intentions towards the glamorous heifer depicted on the side of the tractor."

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