Bovines have beef with UK farmer

A farmer from Devon who imported descendants of ‘super cows’ bred by Nazi Germany has had to reduce the size of his herd because the beasts have become too aggressive.

Derek Gow, 49, introduced 13 Heck cattle to his land after importing them from a Belgian conservation park in 2009, and managed to breed them with some success for the next few years.

However, Gow has had to send most of the animals to the abattoir after concluding they were simply too dangerous to have around.

He said: “The ones we had to get rid of would just attack you any chance they could. They would try to kill anyone. Dealing with that was not a lot of fun at all.”

The formidable beasts were created in the 1930s by German brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck, who were zoologists commissioned by the Nazi hierarchy to bring back something resembling an auroch – a type of European wild bull which had become extinct in the 1600s, and which held mythical status for the Nazis.

The program was a success: the brothers mixed Spanish fighting bulls with cattle from the Scottish Highlands and Corsica. The result was a half-ton of solid muscle, lethal horns, and a serious temper. The creatures initially flourished but were mostly slaughtered after Nazi Germany’s defeat because they were such a stark reminder of the brutal regime.

Gow said: “Since they have gone, it is all peaceful again. Peace reigns supreme. Despite these problems, I have no regrets at all. It has been a good thing to do and the history of them is fascinating.”