Peak District walkers warned to steer clear of livestock
Peak District walkers are being urged to stay vigilant in the vicinity of livestock and their young this summer.
An agricultural expert has spoken out about the dangers to lives and livelihoods due to the rise in the number of people out walking following the coronavirus pandemic – after 24 people were killed by farm animals in the last five years.
Will Kendrick, of rural insurance broker Lycetts, is urging the East Midlands public and farmers to take steps to protect themselves, ramblers and livestock, as the trend for countryside walking sets to continue post-lockdown.
Research suggests by summer 2020, 39 per cent of people were walking more than before the pandemic struck – with 94 per cent claiming they would continue when restrictions are removed.
Mr Kendrick said: “It’s important people remember much of the countryside is working land and their actions impact the lives and livelihoods of others – along with their own safety.
“As well as being courteous to those who farm the land, it is important to be fully aware of the risks that come with visiting the countryside.
“Even the most placid farm animals can become dangerous when stressed, with adverse weather, illness, disturbance, or maternal instincts among the triggers.
Leave gates as you find them
“Sadly, every year people are seriously and fatally injured by livestock and walkers should never underestimate these animals, particularly at this time of year, when cattle have calves at foot and protective maternal instincts are at play.
“When journeying to the countryside, use maps to plan ahead and read signs to help find your way and ensure you don’t trespass or enter fields where at-risk livestock are present. Stay on marked paths where possible and use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries.
“Always remember to leave gates as you find them. Farmers close gates to keep animals in or leave them open to give access to food and water. Do not interfere with livestock and give them plenty of space.
“Finally, do not let dogs off the leash where livestock is present and keep them away from animals at all times.”
Over the past five years, 24 people have been killed by farm animals – 18 by cattle and six by bulls – according to the Health and Safety Executive.