A farmer has been fined after a dog walker was left in intensive care when he was attacked by a cow.

Steve Adams, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, was seriously injured while on holiday with his wife near Sidbury in East Devon.

Mr. Adams and his wife were walking along a public footpath through a field containing cows and their calves.

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One of the cows attacked, which left Mr. Adams seriously injured.

He spent seven days in intensive care.

What happened next?

The farmer was fined £3,500 after an investigation by the Health and Safety and Executive.

The law states farmers should not put cattle with young calves in fields with a public right of way.

Mr.Adams is a dad-of three who is now 63.

He said: “My own grandfather was a farmer, so I’d been around cattle as a child, and I wasn’t scared of them.

“Now, I wouldn’t go into a field with cows, you don’t know what’s going to happen. People should be very wary of cows.”

The incident saw the couple surrounded by around 20 cattle.

The cow approached, lowered its head and tossed Mr Adams into the air.

It then trampled him until he managed to crawl away.

The investigation found there were cattle with young calves in the field, which had a public right of way across it.

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Mr. Adams added: “It was just the one cow, the biggest one. It came up and threw me into the air with its head and then it trod all over me. I was trying to crawl out of the way, but it just kept landing its hooves on me.

“The dog was on its lead and I’d managed to let it go and it made it away. My wife had one of those plastic ball throwers for the dog and she was hitting the cow with it but it made no difference at all. I managed to roll away from under it.

“I wasn’t feeling too good at all, I couldn’t breathe. It had taken us about 15 minutes to walk to where it happened, but it took us about two and half hours to make it back to the van. An ambulance was called to the site and they said straight away that I’d broken my ribs. It was a pretty scary day.

“I don’t walk too much now. I’m not as healthy as I was, and I can still feel my injuries now.”

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What happened to the farmer?

Barry Fowler, of Sidbury, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £555 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on 8 March 2023.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “The serious injuries to Mr Adams sustained when he has attacked and trampled by cattle with their calves was totally preventable.

“Cattle are extremely protective of their calves and even calm cattle can become aggressive if they think the calves may, in any way, be threatened, even by members of the public walking past.

“Farmers should not place cattle with calves in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk unless appropriate measures are in place such as robust fencing separating cattle from people. Had Barry Fowler done this then the incident could not have happened.”

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