During the early summer months, as cows and calves graze together, walkers are asking about the risks of being attacked by cattle.
Tom Franklin, CEO of the Ramblers, comments: “The British countryside is healthy, working land which is why it’s such a pleasure to walk in. The chance to see animals up close is something not to be missed. As with any working environment, there are certain risks. However, the incidents of people being attacked by cattle are few and far between, thankfully.
“We urge everyone out walking to be aware of the ‘dos and don’ts’ of walking in fields with cows and their calves at this time of year, but not to let the very low risk of cattle attacks put them off enjoying the countryside when it is (arguably) at its loveliest.”
There are a few ‘Do’s and Don'ts to follow when walking in a field with calves.
- Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
- Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd
- Keep your dog close and under effective control
- Don't hang onto your dog. If you are threatened by cattle - let it go as the cattle will chase after that
- Don't get between cows and their calves
- Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
- Don't panic or run! Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly.
- Don't forget to report any problems to the highway authority.
"Initially when you're walking with a dog, keep it on a lead in case you encounter sheep.
"But if it's cattle, and if they come towards you, let the dog go as they'll see the dog as the enemy and if you're seen as trying to protect your dog, you may be in trouble.
"Just take a walking stick with you - be bold and walk straight through them. These animals are just protecting themselves and they see the dog as a threat to themselves and their calves."