With the Easter break approaching the NFU and Ramblers have once again joined forces to remind people to take care when out walking in fields with livestock.
With around 3.6billion tourist visits to the countryside each year and with walkers making up 18 per cent of all visitors to rural areas, walkers are being urged to take on board some basic safety tips from the Ramblers and stay safe in the countryside.
When walking with dogs in fields with cattle, the advice is to avoid getting between cows and their calves, to keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep and not to hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle - let it go as the cattle will chase the dog.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “The countryside is a beautiful place to walk in. However, it 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.”
Benedict Southworth, Ramblers Chief Executive said: “Easter’s a great time to head out walking with friends or family as flowers start to bloom and fields come alive with animals rearing their young. However, these spring delights need us all to take a little bit of extra care.
“If you’re walking through fields with livestock this Easter, follow our advice, and the advice in the Countryside Code, and make sure you stay safe whilst respecting the environment around you.”
Advice from the Ramblers:
• 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