The news that a woman was attacked by cows last month, in a field not far from here, just goes to show that one needs to careful walking fields at this time of year.
The fact is that cows with calves are as dangerous – and, some say, even more dangerous – than bulls.
Every year brings another story of walkers being trampled and killed by mothering cows, so it’s fortunate that the woman we mentioned was only injured. The former Home Secretary David Blunkett got three broken ribs after being trampled in 2009.
Two people are killed every year by cows, some of them farmers.
However, you are also more likely to be attacked if you are walking a dog – as it is the dog that worries the cows.
… in Draycott
Draycott has miles and miles of footpaths, so it’s not surprising that we spotted, just this week, mothering cows with their calves – standing right on a footpath in west Draycott.
We did the discreet thing, keeping to the field fence and walking well away from the cows as much as possible.
The law is, by the way, that mothering cows are not deemed a threat – so farmers have every right to place them in a field with a footpath.
The law (The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) only applies to bulls – and bans the keeping of them in fields crossed by a right of way.
So – what is the official advice? This what the NFU says:
*Don’t be afraid of cows BUT – be mindful, they are protective of their young
*If you feel threatened, let your dog off the lead. The cows are more interested in the dog than you
*Take a walking stick with you. Don’t strike the cows, but use it to keep them away from you
*Be bold and walk straight through them if the cows move towards you (except mothers with calves)
Also, at this time of year, there are lots of inquisitive young bullocks. They may act more wildly than cows, and chase you or run around you, but actually they are (cross-fingers!) generally harmless.
So, walk firmly, with a good occasional shout at them to frighten them away. Their curiosity will make them come back each time… but, just keep walking and keep your nerve!
If you are interested in walking in Draycott, click here for a list of walks.
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