WALKERS are being warned of the dangers of crossing fields full of cows.
The county council has issued the advice as cows often have calves at this time of year and become very protective.
Last year there were a number of incidents nationally where walkers were seriously injured, and even killed by cattle while walking through fields.
Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for environment, said: “Thankfully, serious incidents involving walkers and cattle are rare, but we would recommend that people take every precaution when enjoying the East Sussex countryside.
“Keeping your dog on a lead, finding alternative routes when faced with a field of cattle and ensuring you carry a mobile phone to call for help if necessary are all steps that can help keep you safe while out walking.”
The National Farmers’ Union and The Ramblers say cows can feel threatened by dogs and are, therefore, more likely to attack. They have issued some advice for walkers:
• Don’t try get between cows and their calves,
• 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.
• Do be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
• Do move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd
• Do keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead
Malcolm McDonnell, East Sussex Footpath Secretary for The Ramblers, said: “Our beautiful East Sussex countryside is working farmland, which helps form its character and make it such a pleasure to walk in.
Fortunately attacks by cattle are few and far between, but with any working environment there are certain risks.”