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Huge flocks of starving vultures have begun attacking live farm animals in northern Spain.

In one incident about 100 birds savaged a cow and her newborn calf, a farmer in the village Valle de Mena said. The area has seen four attacks in the past two months.

Jose Manuel de las Heras, president of the local chapter of a farmers' union said the attacks are on the rise because a feeding station was closed down. Traditionally, according to news agency EFE, rural officials used to "designate areas to dump the carcasses of farm animals like mules".

The scavengers have ditched their natural aversion to humans, and carry out their airborne attacks as close as 100 metres from people, de la Heras said. "They are not afraid of anything," the terrified trade unionist yammered.

EFE reports that local beaurocrats are warning ganaderos to be on the lookout for the avian menace. ®

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