HUNDREDS of cattle in the New Forest are set to lose in their horns after a spate of incidents in which walkers were seriously injured.

The New Forest Commoners' Association (CDA) urging 200 cattle owners in the district to de-horn their animals following an incident in which an 86-year-old woman was gored by a cow in the summer.

Dog owner Amelia Borelli was attacked near her home at Fritham after accidentally coming between a cow and her calf, which was hidden by bushes.

The cow ripped her jeans before plunging its horn into her leg.

Amelia spent a week in hospital and later called for more signs warning people to keep away from animals in the Forest - a plea echoed by the CDA.

In July a herd of cows were reported to have been slaughtered after launching an attack which put a dog walker in hospital and killed one of his pets.

The victim was said to have been visiting the north west of the Forest when he let his two dogs run loose.

The cattle attacked the animals, killing one of them, before turning on the man as he tried to save them. He suffered serious injuries and was rushed to hospital.

In May a woman was attacked by a cow after taking her grand-daughter for a walk at Beaulieu.

The animal is thought to have been protecting its calf when it launched the attack off Palace Lane. It was later removed from the area.

Now the CDA is urging cattle owners in the Forest to de-horn their animals to help protect the public.

But the organisation is also urging the authorities and dog owners to play their part in reducing the risk of cows injuring the public.

The chairman, Tony Hockley, said: "People seem to have lost all connection with the countryside and any healthy respect for large livestock.

“Poor behaviour by a few makes potential victims of the many. One badly-controlled dog can make an animal defensive to other dogs, however well-controlled.

"We would urge people to inform the Police whenever they witness a dog out of control around livestock. It is illegal and reporting it helps protect everyone."

Outlining the move on de-horning Mr Hockley said: "This was one step we could take ourselves that might mitigate the harm done by the situation in which the New Forest now finds itself.

"Most cattle are already de-horned, which suggests that it is not something that would deter people from turning cattle out to graze.

"We decided to exclude British breeds for which horns are an essential characteristic, primarily English Longhorns and Highlands: As far as I am aware we have never had an incident involving these two breeds.

“We are also talking to government, the Verderers, and local agencies about other steps on education of Forest users and proper law enforcement."