Theresa’s Advice

In June, 2016, I was attacked and injured by cattle. My story was told here: Theresa’s Story: stamped on by a cow .

In April of the same year, a lady was killed in Belford, Northumberland, so I know I was the lucky one. I told my story to the local Tourist Information Centre, the local paper, and the local radio… all in a bid to save lives.

My short advice to walkers:-

  • STOP & LOOK: Are there livestock in this field?
  • ASSESS: How far away are they?
  • PLAN: What is your safest route through the field?
  • WALK THE BOUNDARY: Never cross the middle of a field, because you might find yourself in no man’s land!
  • BE PREPARED: Keep your dogs on leads, but let them off leads if cows start to charge.
  • STAY ALERT: Watch for behaviour changes in the herd.
  • EXIT STRATEGY. Look for the quickest way out of the field, and plan your escape.

My other wishes:-

  • CLEAR SIGNS: Warning signs to make people aware if there are livestock in a field.
  • HOW TO STAY SAFE: Information on how to avoid the risk of an attack.
  • WHAT TO DO: Information on what to do if the worst thing happens, and cows start attacking.
  • FARMERS TO MAKE SAFE WALKING AREAS: Use fencing or hedging, or don’t graze livestock so close to public footpaths.
  • RECORD KEEPING: A designated department to record all altercations with livestock, and a database to record all incidents.
  • FARMERS AND LAND OWNERS: To be held responsible for the safety of public footpaths that cross their land.
  • PUBLIC SAFETY INFORMATION: An annual campaign using posters, radio advertising, and TV coverage (for example, programs like Countryfile could make the public aware of the risks, and explain what to do if you are threatened by cattle.)

It has taken me a long time to recover from my attack. My leg remained swollen for months and, four years on, I still have issues with swelling and scars. Now, I try to educate as many people as I can with my story.

2 thoughts on “Theresa’s Advice

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  1. Hi Pete. Thank you for reminding us of this. It’s infuriating that reports of cow attacks are treated as jokes. “Dog bites hiker” stories would be greeted with anger and concern, but “cow tramples hiker” stories are, for some reason, a source of amusement. 😠 Interesting that you’ve noted the behaviour of cows changing.


  2. Countryfile did feature a piece on cows being able to outrun champion sprinters. Cows can run at 28 mph, which most people are unaware of. Unfortunately, they turned it into an ‘amusing’ feature. I have only lived in the countryside for 8 years, (Norfolk) but during that time I have seen the behaviour of cows changing year on year. They are definitely becoming more aggressive, seemingly much more so when you have a dog. I no longer feel safe to walk my dog in areas where cows are grazing, and he is not the kind of dog that would ever bother a cow.
    Best wishes, Pete.


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