Cattle on the moor – take care!

Highland cattle on Gibbett Hill

Cattle are back on Gibbett Hill, so if you are walking take care.  In past years walkers with dogs have been attacked by the highland cattle, especially when calves are present. You are particularly advised not to walk between the cattle.  Several local footpaths go through fields used to graze cows, so take care on these too.

Kevin Hilborn, who owns the highland cattle, made the following comments in an email to the Editor of this website, in response to an article about an  injury incident:
‘I own the highland cattle and would like to point out that you have missed the crucial part of why the cow reacted how she did.  The lady had three dogs running and they went between the cow and its young calf.  All cattle with calves are very protective and will react to dogs going too close. There was a reason behind it, not just a random occurrence.  We have seen people walk straight through the middle of them instead of going round, and trying to get photos.
Please ask people to give them space and not to take dogs near them. Please respect the animals on the moor, plenty of room for everyone and everything.’

We should therefore all take extra care when walking near all cattle on the moor, especially when walking dogs.  NEVER WALK BETWEEN COWS AND THEIR CALVES.  It should be noted that nationwide there are on average two deaths per year due to trampling by cows, often involving cows defending their calves and also involving dogs.
It is not just on the moor where such incidents can occur.  If you find you and your dog in a field of suddenly wary cattle, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if you feel threatened by cattle then let go of your dog’s lead and let it run free rather than try to protect it and endanger yourself.  The dog will outrun the cows and it will also outrun you.  Those without dogs should follow similar advice – move away calmly, do not panic and make no sudden noises. The chances are the cows will leave you alone once they establish that you pose no threat.
If you walk through a field of cows with calves, think twice – if you can, go another way and avoid crossing the field.