Are Cows Dangerous? Tips to Stay Safe when Walking through a Cattle Field

Are Cows Dangerous? Tips to Stay Safe when Walking through a Cattle Field

Country walking is a favourite weekend activity for many people in the UK and the long summer evenings we have at the moment offer post-work opportunities to stretch the legs, get some fresh air and admire the great views offered by the British countryside.

This is exactly what a 70-year-old Shetland woman was doing one evening last week when she was attacked by a runaway bull who had escaped from a farmer’s field in Lerwick. Thankfully, the woman only suffered minor injuries and the bull was eventually caught and returned safely to the farm.

Walkers and Cow Attacks
Public footpaths often cross through farmland and sometimes walkers find themselves walking on paths through cattle fields.

In the vast majority of cases, walkers pass through the fields without incident but, now and again, others are not so fortunate. In March this year, a farmer was ordered to pay compensation to a woman who suffered serious injuries after being trampled by cows whilst walking on a footpath that crossed one of the farmer’s fields.

There were 117 major injuries caused by cows between 2008 and 2011, including 6 fatalities. Walkers should not be put off by these statistics and should still go out and enjoy the countryside. Just be safe and take steps to protect yourself around cows and bulls.

3 Tips on Staying Safe When Walking Through a Field of Cows

1. Look out for calves – cows naturally want to protect their young, just like any other species, so look out for cows with calves when entering a field, and give them as wide a berth as you can.

Avoid walking between cows and their calves, and definitely resist the temptation to stop and pet a calf, no matter how cute you think it is.

2. Be careful if walking your dog – cows see dogs as a threat so you should keep your dog on a short lead at all times when walking through a field of cows.

Cows see dogs as a threat and can become startled by them. If they begin to approach and you feel threatened then let go of your dog’s lead.

Letting go of the lead – no matter how unnatural that feels to you – means you and your dog can get to safety separately as the cows are likely to be much more interested in chasing you than chasing your dog. A dog will always outrun a cow but a cow will always outrun you.

3. Don’t panic – walk carefully through the field and don’t run away. Cows are naturally inquisitive animals and might just be curious as to why you are in their field, or may think you have treats for them. Most cows that approach will stop before they reach you.

If you are attacked, then the Rambler’s Association advises that you report the matter to the landowner, the highway authority, the Health and Safety Executive and the police.

Farm workers themselves can also be at risk from cows and bulls. For more information, read our previous blog: Why life on the farm is so dangerous.

Farmers can be liable to pay compensation to anyone injured by cows or bulls on their land. Farmers are responsible for how their cattle behave and should not place any animal they consider temperamental in fields that are crossed by public footpaths.

Claims Direct No Win No Fee Personal Injury Lawyers can help with any claim for compensation if you have been injured by farm animals whilst walking.

Call Claims Direct for a free consultation on freephone 0800 884 0321 or start an injury claim online.