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Farmer Fined After Woman Badly Injured By Cows

A group of black and white cows

A farmer has been fined after a herd of cows attacked two people on a public footpath.

Janicke Tvedt and David Hood were on the walk in Masham, North Yorkshire, with a pet Labrador called Goose when the incident happened in July 2021.

Part of the walk took them across the field near a farm called Shaws Farm.

The two entered a field and noticed several cattle, including cows with calves.

Despite giving them a wide berth, their dog was attacked by a lone cow with two calves.

They managed to escape but were then cornered by the other cows.

Ms Tvedt was knocked to the ground and trampled.

She was helped by her friend.

However, but the attack continued and the two had to climb a tree to save themselves.

Serious injuries

Janicke Tvedt being treated by paramedics after being attacked by cows
Janicke Tvedt being treated by paramedics after being attacked by cows

Ms Tvedt was seriously injured in the attack.

She suffered seven broken ribs, hoof marks on her chest and elbows, a broken thumb and life-changing internal injuries that required emergency surgery.

Ms Tvedt still finds it difficult to walk three years on.

She insists she wants wants to raise awareness of the dangers of walking in fields of cows.

She said: “I had the imprints of hoof marks, bruises, cuts and grazes all over my body.

“I was convinced that if I fell asleep, I would never wake up.

“I still have anxiety when on walks in the countryside and am always on alert for the presence of cattle.

“We live in a rural community and there are lots of footpaths around the fields in the area and I do not want other people's lives to be at risk.

“I want to ensure the emphasis of my story is to improve awareness of the dangers of cows, particularly those in fields with footpaths.

“I am determined not to take on the mantle of being a victim as it’s disempowering.”

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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found livestock were being kept in a field with a public right of way across it.

Inspectors found insufficient measures were taken to protect members of the public from cattle and calves.

A sign warning the public of the cattle had been destroyed and not replaced.

Key considerations for farmers and landowners include:

  • Where possible avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields with public access.
  • To do all that they can to keep animals and people separated, including erecting fencing (permanent or temporary) e.g. electric fencing.
  • Assess the temperament of any cattle before putting them into a field with public access.
  • Any animal that has shown any sign of aggression must not be kept in a field with public access.
  • Clearly signpost all public access routes across the farm.
  • Display signage at all entrances to the field stating what is in the field (cows with calves/bulls)

Martin Falshaw of Falshaw Partners, Shaws Farm, Swinton, Ripon, North Yorkshire admitted breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

He was fined £770.50 and ordered to pay £4,539 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE principal inspector Howard Whittaker said: “The injuries sustained by Janicke have been devastating and completely changed her life.

“However, given the nature of the attack, the end result could have been far worse and resulted in two people losing their lives.

“Public knowledge – and concern – is increasing about how dangerous cattle can be. We completely echo the countryside code which urges walkers to beware of the dangers. On this occasion, the pair tried to stay well away.

“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.

“Where possible, farmers should avoid putting cattle, especially cows with calves, in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk.

“Had Martin Falshaw followed this advice, or effectively segregated the cattle, this incident could have been prevented.”

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