Killer cow warning as spooked cattle put lives of walkers in peril
A countryside expert claims landowners are failing to tackle the danger posed by cows.
Steve Jenkinson said dog walkers are being given incomplete information that could lead to them losing their lives. Thirty-two people were killed by cattle and hundreds injured in the five years up to 2022, government figures show.
Studies have found cows can feel threatened by dogs, and owners can become victims of cattle defending themselves. Mr Jenkinson, a director of Access and Countryside Management, said: "Organisations like the National Trust and Dartmoor National Park Authority are still putting up signage to say, 'Always have your dog on a lead around cattle.'
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"But they’re leaving off the life-saving message about, 'release your dog if threatened.' We talk about these animals being aggressive, but they’re just being defensive because they’ve got their young ones there."
It comes after cows were dubbed the UK's most dangerous animal with 4,000 attacks reported every year. The Daily Star previously reported the unlikely menace showed no signs of stopping their assaults on Brits either, with injuries from bovine encounters appearing to be on the rise.
One British woman was even killed in a cow attack last month. Speaking to the Daily Star, David Clarke of Cattle on Walkers Safety (COWS) said: "Death figures vary year to year and there are often spikes, a few years back there were three deaths in a short space of months.
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"Deaths can be distinguished between farmers and members of public, usually about three times more farmers are killed than the public. Long-term fatalities are about five a year. On a low number, any increase is significant. But there does seem a trend upward.
"Remember deaths are just the extreme result of lots of attacks or incidents. I suspect three to four thousand a year but nobody knows, with consequences ranging from lucky escape, trauma, minor injuries and progressively more serious injuries to deaths."
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