Walkers warned over dangers of cows in fields with calves

Jacqui Beale Image copyright PA/Handout
Image caption Jacqui Beale was set upon by cows while walking her dog

Victims of cow attacks are warning walkers of the dangers of cattle kept in fields with their calves.

Jacqui Beale, 48, from Derbyshire, suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung, and was left needing stitches to her face when she was attacked while walking her dog.

She and another victim, from West Yorkshire, are taking legal action.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said walkers "must be most aware of the issues" in the countryside.

Ms Beale said she thought she was going to die when she was attacked by eight cows in May.

Image copyright PA/Handout
Image caption Ms Beale managed to get herself to safety and now wants to warn others

The dog groomer, from Wirksworth, added: "I was bashed about by about eight cows. I remember being tossed from one to another and thinking I wasn't going to survive.

"All I could hear was snorting and breathing, it was terrifying."

Ms Beale, whose dog was on a lead at the time of the attack in May, managed to get herself to safety and now wants to warn others.

Avoiding a cow attack

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Cattle, especially young stock, are inquisitive and will often follow walkers. But it is cows, who feel naturally very protective of their calves, that can be more than inquisitive
  • Do not panic if you are followed, walk calmly and quickly away from the herd
  • If you are walking with your family dog on a footpath and find that there are cattle on the path, avoid going straight through them
  • Take a wide detour and walk calmly around the animals with your dog on a lead
  • Do not walk between a cow and her calf
  • If the cattle move towards you and you feel threatened by them, release your dog from the lead and move quickly, but calmly, to safety

Source: National Farmers' Union

Grandfather-of-five Mike Pace, from Huddersfield, was trampled while walking along a public footpath with his wife Gill on holiday in Abersoch in Gwynedd, Wales, in August.

The 55-year-old said: "This black bullock that had been staring looking menacing charged me and threw me up in the air and then the other cattle just started trampling me.

"While on the floor I had a conversation with myself thinking I was going to die. I told myself I'd had a good life."

Mrs Pace escaped unharmed, but her husband spent more than a month in hospital and still needs crutches to walk.

Image copyright PA/Handout
Image caption Mike Pace is still in the process of having his leg reconstructed after he was attacked by cows

Sally Gray, a personal injury specialist at Slater and Gordon, is representing a number of people who have been injured by cattle.

"When it comes to public liability and the risk owed to the public, farmers have been advised not to put calves and their mothers in fields that are open to the public together," she added.

A spokesperson for the NFU said: "The countryside is a working environment where animals graze so it's important that people are mindful of this.

"Spring and summer are when we love to enjoy the countryside, so it is this time of year when walkers must be most aware of the issues."

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