THE Health and Safety Executive, Britain’s workplace regulator, has issued tips to walkers and anyone getting out into the countryside this Easter on how to stay safe around cattle.

Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is reminding both farmers and walkers to do all they can to help to keep everyone safe, particularly where cattle and countryside visitors are close together.

The HSE is running its Your Farm, Your Future campaign aimed at improving safety on British farms with a focus on livestock in 2024.

The safety of farmers themselves from cattle is a concern to the regulator all-year round as statistics show four workers were killed following incidents with animals on farms in 2022/23.

But the HSE regularly investigates incidents involving cattle and the public – a proportion of which involve serious injury and sometimes death. On average, one to two members of the public are killed each year while using public rights of way, others have suffered serious injuries.

In the past 12 months, HSE has prosecuted four landowners/farmers for failing to take appropriate steps to stop walkers from being seriously injured on their land.

One case resulted in the tragic death of a 61-year-old grandmother who was killed while enjoying a family walk in Northumberland.

HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “All large animals can be a risk to people. Even a gentle knock from a cow can result in people being crushed or falling. All cattle should be treated with respect.”

Farmers have a legal responsibility to manage their herds to reduce risk to people using footpaths and other rights of way.

Incidents in which walkers are killed or injured often involve cows with calves, or bulls. Often, those injured or killed have a dog with them.

Mr Owen from the HSE added: “Farmers should carefully consider the risk before putting cattle into fields with footpaths, for example cows and calves are best kept in alternative fields.

“Even docile cattle, when under stress, perhaps because of the weather, illness, unusual disturbance, or when maternal or other instincts are aroused, can become aggressive.”

People can find out more about how to safely enjoy the countryside and respect farming activities online at

Advice includes: • Give livestock plenty of space. Their behaviour can be unpredictable, especially when they are with their young.

• Keep dogs under effective control to make sure they stay away from livestock. It is good practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock.

• Let dogs off the lead if you feel threatened by livestock. Releasing the dog will make it easier for animal and human to reach safety