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HSE warns walkers of the risks of cattle in the countryside

Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is reminding both farmers and the public to do all they can to help to keep Easter walkers safe, particularly where cattle and countryside visitors are close together.

Cattle in fields around Caynham near Ludlow
Cattle in fields around Caynham near Ludlow

The Easter break will see thousands of people heading into the countryside to stretch their legs and enjoy Britain’s stunning scenery.

While the vast majority of walkers enjoy the countryside safely and use the extensive network of footpaths, bridleways, and public access land without any problems, going through fields where there are cattle can be hazardous.

HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “All large animals can be a risk to people. Even a gentle knock from a cow can result in people being crushed or falling. All cattle should be treated with respect.”

Farmers have a legal responsibility to manage their herds to reduce risk to people using footpaths and other rights of way.

HSE regularly investigates incidents involving cattle and the public. A proportion of these incidents involve serious injury and sometimes death. On average, between one and two members of the public are killed each year while using public rights of way, others suffer serious injury.

Incidents in which walkers are killed or injured often involve cows with calves, or bulls. Often, those injured or killed have a dog with them.

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