RURAL Britain is bracing itself for bloodshed and mass destruction after the cows declared war on the sheep.
Tensions have been building between the two species since a young cow was bitten and kicked by a gang of sheep in Wiltshire 18 months ago.
Last night both sides said that diplomatic efforts had failed and that conflict was now inevitable.
Cow Prime Minister Edelweiss, a four-year old Holstein from a farm near Buxton in Derbyshire, said: "This morning the cow ambassador handed the sheep a final note, stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock, that they were prepared, at once, to apologise for the biting incident, a state of war would exist between us.
"I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently the cows are at war with the sheep."
Cow soldiers across the country have received orders from their high command and will begin a full-scale attack within days.
The sheep are expected to fight a brief rearguard action before taking to the hills to mount a guerrilla campaign.
A spokesman for the National Farmers Union said: "It's very difficult to milk cows when they're at war. I would advise everyone to stock up on dairy products and jumpers."