With the Easter break upon us the National Farmer's Union (NFU) and Ramblers have issued joint advice to people walking in fields with livestock.
If taking a dog into fields with cattle the advice is to avoid getting between cows and their calves, and to keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead. But don't hang onto your dog if cattle start making threatening moves in your direction; let it go and they should chase the dog. Better her than you after all.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said:
'The countryside...is a working environment where animals graze. So it's important to take care and be mindful of your surroundings so you can fully enjoy the experience.'
'We joined forces with the Ramblers to encourage walkers to keep dogs on leads when walking in fields with livestock. Farmers also have a responsibility as to the safety of the animals in their fields, and they take that responsibility seriously. To minimise risks to animals and walkers, we would ask the public to follow the Ramblers helpful advice on walking.'
'In the spring it's especially important for walkers to be sympathetic to farm animals rearing their young and give them space. If you feel threatened by animals protecting their territory or young do not run, move to the edge of the field, and if possible find another way round. If you're walking with a dog please keep it on a lead when walking around livestock, but let it go if the situation demands it.'
The advice from the Ramblers is:
- Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves
- Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
- Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd
- Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep
- Don't hang onto your dog. If you are threatened by cattle - let it go as the cattle will chase the dog
- Don't put yourself at risk. Find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
- Don't panic or run. Most cattle will stop before they reach you. If they follow just walk on quietly [easier said than done if you're a livestock-phobic townie like me, Ed.]