How to scare away cows to avoid being trampled to death
Dozens of people are killed or seriously injured each year after being trampled by cows.
Often those killed by cows are innocent walkers who have ventured into the cows' field. Sometimes the animals are just being curious or they are frightened by the people in their field and they surorund the walker. In some rarer cases the cows may be acting aggresively and charge at the walkers.
But cows are very fast, heavy, powerful creatures and many people are unable to escape the advance of a herd.
Earlier this year a walker was killed and his wife left in a critical condition after being charged at by a bull in Stanford-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire.
In Britain in June 2009 vet Liz Crowsley, 49, was trampled to death by a herd of cows as she walked her dogs in a field
The former Home Secretary David Blunkett, a close colleague of Tony Blair, was even trampled a month later while walking with his guide dog Sadie in the Peak District.
While in October 2007 police inspector Chris Poole, 50, was walking his dog through a field when he suffered life-threatening injuries after he was trampled by a herd of cows.
Unfortunatley, these are not isolated incidents and there have been many more, not just in the UK but also in the U.S. where on average 20 people die each year after being trampled by cows.
Yet despite the startling high figures, there are a number of measures that can be taken to avoid being trampled to death by a herd of cows.
- Avoid entering fields with cows
- Let go of your dog if cows charge
- Don't try to outrun cows
- Run downhill if it's possible
- Make yourself as loud and big as possible
- Punch the cows on their noses
Avoid entering fields with cows
While walking or playing in the countryside it's easy to become complacent. The are can seem so safe and placid. But always try to take alternative routues around fields that don't have livestock in them even if this means adding an extra 30 minutes to the walk. If you have to enter the field, do so quietly and stay close to the perimeter. Pick up a strong walking stick before you go in as this can be used to hit the cows, as is explained later.
Let go of your dog if cows charge
Cows with young calves often see dogs as a threat to their young. The cows will therefore become fiercdly protective. If the cows charge and surround, always let go of the dog. The chances are that they will escape and the cows will no longer see you as being connected to the canine.
Don't try to outrun cows
Cows take a while to pick up their speed, but when they do and they're galloping they can be pretty fast. Therefore only try to run away from cows if there is a short distance to the nearest exit, usually less than 20 metres. In short, judge the distance and speed and if you can get out of the field before the cows catch up then go for it. If not, then the cows will probably catch up and surround you.
Run downhill if possible
Normally try not to outrun cows, but if the field is sloped and the exit route is downhill then this may give sombody more time to escape. The reason is that the muscle structure of a cow's neck does not allow them to run quickly on a downward gradient. They have to slow down and pay attention to how they are moving. This may provide extra time to escape the cows.
Make yourself as loud and big as possible
If there's no easy way to escape the field, and the cows are moving towards you, then the only option may be to be brave. Be bold, and walk towards the animals. Shout as loud as you can to scare them off and throw your arms in the air. Continue on your path as you walk calmly onwards.
Punch the cows in the face
If shouting loudly to scare away the cows hasn't worked and they are still charging, make a tight fist and punch a couple of them on their noses as hard as possible. Accompany this with a violent roar, literally a life and death roar. This will work, and they will be frightened away. If you still have the walking stick you collected upon enetering the field, use this to give them a jolly hard whack on the head.
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