Families taking countryside walks this summer are urged this Injury Prevention Day(Wednesday 17 August) to take care when walking in fields with cows and calves.
“Cows are mostly docile and curious creatures, but naturally protective of their young so extra attention is needed if they have calves at foot. There have been several cases of people being charged or trampled by protective cows, particularly when walking dogs,” said Neil Sugarman, president of not-for-profit campaign group APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers).
“On Injury Prevention Day, we want to alert people to the risks and what to do. With the right information a needless injury could be avoided,” he said.
“Farmers have a legal responsibility to members of the public using footpaths in their fields to ensure it is as safe as it can be, but there are steps walkers can take to help themselves,” Neil explained. “We by no means want to discourage people from enjoying the countryside, but some people might be unaware that cows with calves can be volatile.”
Rambler Clive Monk was trampled while walking in the North Yorkshire Moors with his partner and two friends, when the footpath led them through a field of cows grazing with their young.
“One of the cows broke away from the herd and wandered over, a bit like she just wanted abetter look at us. But when she was about three or four feet away, without warning,she suddenly charged me,” he said.
“When we set off across the field I had no idea this could happen. I’d had a good look around when we entered the field but to be honest I was checking for bulls.”
The cow trampled Clive at least twice before stopping and sitting on his legs, snapping his ankle and leaving him with a dislocated shoulder. Clive now has a steel plate in his leg and still suffers with restricted movement in his shoulder.
He adds: “This incident had has a lasting effect not just on me, but the three friends I was walking with on that day, as they also still feel nervous around cattle. Despite all this I can, and still do, enjoy walking in the countryside.”
There are some widely agreed upon guidelines to follow when faced with a field of cows and calves, they are as follows:
- Walk around the herd, not through it. You run the risk of coming between a cow and her calf, which could make the cow protective.
- Be calm.There is no need to run or make noise if the cows are not doing anything. Cows might move closer to you just to take a closer look, as they are curious creatures.
- If you are walking a dog and it seems as though the cows are becoming agitated, or if they start to charge, let go of the lead. It is most likely to be the dog that is causing them distress.