As people head out to enjoy the countryside over Easter, NFU Scotland is asking everyone to beware of the potential dangers posed by cattle in fields where they are taking access, particularly where they are accompanied by dogs.
Easter marks one of the most important and busy periods for livestock farmers as lambing and calving are now underway. NFU Scotland is asking people to be mindful of livestock, and of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which stipulates that access with dogs should not occur in fields where there are young lambs or calves.
Cattle, particularly those with calves, can become aggressive if they feel threatened, especially where a dog is present, so members of the public are advised to keep out of fields with cattle where possible at this time of year, and find an alternative route.
NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie commented: “Spring is a beautiful time in the countryside and we welcome responsible walkers and other recreational users who want to get out and enjoy Scotland’s outdoors. However, everyone should also be aware that it’s a very busy time for farmers and a critical time for new-born animals.
“The sight of young lambs or calves in spring is a joy shared by everyone visiting or living in the countryside, but to protect these animals, and ensure public safety, it is essential that people follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. In particular, dogs should always be kept well away from sheep and cattle because even if no lambs or calves are visible, they could be present but well hidden by the herd or flock. Cattle in particular, can react aggressively, and their natural instinct to protect their young is strong at this time of year.”