A wanderer and a farmer are trampled to death, a jogger suddenly has the horns of a cow in the back. In 2014, cattle attacks on people in the alpine region made headlines.
The German Social Insurance for Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture (SVLFG) reported nearly 10 200 accidents involving cattle in 2013 . Four of them ended fatally .
in the past 50 years , 4 people have been fatally attacked by wolves across Europe . (NINA: The fear of wolves: A review of wolf attacks on humans)
In most cases, lack of knowledge and “mistakes in human-animal communication” are the reason for these incidents, as the German animal protection association spokesman Marius Tünte says. “Cows are very peaceful animals, but working with them is not without danger.”
Even the former German Federal Minister of Agriculture Josef Ertl was seriously injured by a bull. Cattle can be dangerous not only for farmers – hikers on alpine pastures should also be prepared.
In Austria, a German female wanderer was killed in an attack by cows in 2014. 20 cows and calves trampled them to death. Presumably, the cows saw their dog as a threat and wanted to protect their calves from the dog. Another 68-year-old dog owner was severely injured by cattle on a marked trail by shock and fall injuries.
When cows attack humans, it’s mostly because they feel pressured, exposed to stress, or a herd member wants to protect their own calf.
In Austria, the Agricultural Chamber Tyrol after the cow attacks issued a flyer to the right received on the pastures. The title: “A pasture is not a petting zoo”. Folder_Alm-grazing animals Walker
The Bavarian Farmers Association advises hikers
- keep proper distance to grazing animals
- stay calm, do not run away and hit the cow in the absolute emergency with a stick
- slowly and quietly leave the danger zone
Remarkably similar recommendations as in a meeting with Wolf or Bear.