In a career spanning more than 20 years, Blunkett has enjoyed more than his fair share of cabinet resignations. So one can only imagine he was more than a little disappointed not to be joining the throngs of cabinet ministers handing in their resignations and the ensuing media spotlight.

Cue a cow (artists impression only), Blunkett, Sadie, his trusty dog, and a field. The scene is set for some much deserved media coverage.

I can’t imagine it’s a particularly frequent occurrence that people, especially blind people walking their dogs, get attacked by cows as they’re rambling through the countryside. But that’s what happened in a series of events which one can only assume was masterminded by Blunkett himself.

Allegedly, whilst innocently ambling along with Sadie, in the wilds of Sheffield, Blunkett was attacked by a stampeding pantomime cow. The article leaves a little to the imagination, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he bravely tried to defend the cow from his dog and in the process, broke a few ribs and earned those highly sought column inches.

So it’s probably not very often either that the NFU is given the opportunity by the BBC to issue a statement on blind politicians walking their dogs who get attacked by cows. The advice seems a little more anecdotal than considered; “…let the dog off the lead so it can run away because obviously a dog can run faster than you. The next thing to do is to get quite quickly to the edge of the field, collect the dog and leave.”

I do wonder if the pratt (that’s Alison Pratt) in giving her advice to ‘others who might find themselves in a similar position (yes, that’s blind politicians walking their guide dogs in fields with cows) gave any thought to the fact that without Sadie, (who in accordance with her advice, would have been dispatched to run away) Blunkett might have found it a bit difficult to get ‘quite quickly’ to the edge of the field by himself without incurring the cow’s wrath again.


Ben Aston

Ben Aston

Ben Aston is a digital project manager and online entrepreneur. He's the founder of Black + White Zebra, an indie media company on a mission to help people and organizations succeed. Ben brings over 15 years of experience in both strategic thinking and tactical implementation from a career at top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, and DDB.


  • Kelly Brown says:

    I really like your post. Is it copyright protected?

  • Alison Pratt says:

    My right to reply!
    NFU’s advice is general – let your dog off the lead and usually, the cow will chase the dog. Cows with calves are unpredicable: the cow is after all only protecting her young. The best advice of all, would be to avoid a field where there are cows with calves grazing.

  • Steve says:

    Fair enough Allison, but what do we do if we are attacked by more than one cow? Should we have extra ‘pawn’ or ‘decoy’ dogs available to be let off the lead according to the number of cows with calves in the field? What would you suggest is an appropriate dogs : cows with calves ratio?

    You say the “NFU’s advice is general”, but your advice seems rather redundant in this case. As benaston points out, how is the blind person supposed to “get quite quickly to the edge of the field” once their guide dog has run off with the cow in hot pursuit? Perhaps the assumption is that the dog will return…but who’s to say the cow will ever stop chasing the dog? This advice is clearly unsatisfactory and discriminatory against the blind.


  • benaston says:

    Who’d have thought, the BBC have now done a whole new article on the dangers of walking with cows. I wonder if Alison agrees with the advice?


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