Cows attack people

Mysterious incidents - More and more cows attack people

It was the absurd climax of a series of unusual attacks: in the middle of Munich, a runaway cow attacked a jogger, took her by the horns and seriously injured her. The animal - a specimen that has become rare and whose horns have not yet been bred out - is so mad that the police can only stop it with gunshots. The jogger comes to the hospital with open wounds. As spectacular as this case is, it still went off lightly.

Just a few days earlier, a farmer in Pleiskirchen near Altötting in Upper Bavaria had been attacked and killed by his own cattle. The 57-year-old wanted to drive 60 cows and a bull that were outside during the night into the stable on Sunday morning. One or more of the animals attacked him and injured him so badly that he died in the pasture.

In the past year, almost 10,200 accidents involving cattle were reported to the social insurance system for agriculture, forestry and horticulture. Four of them were fatal. Usually, a lack of knowledge and "errors in human-animal communication" are the reason for these incidents, as Tierschutzbund spokesman Marius Tünte says. "Cows are very peaceful animals, but working with them is not without danger."

In the meantime, training courses on the correct handling of herd animals are offered. It is stress that can turn a peaceful cow into an aggressive one, says Tünte, who also blames changes in agriculture for problems between humans and animals. “The size of the herd is growing, and the farmers cannot develop an optimal or even no trust relationship with the many animals,” he says. “Instead of giving yourself and the animals time, aggressive body language, pressure and a loud voice move them to the desired performance. If a cow feels pressured and cannot evade, it can quickly lead to injuries. "

Cattle can be dangerous not only for farmers - hikers on alpine pastures should also be careful. Attacks by cows on people in Austria have made headlines in the past few weeks. At the end of July, a German hiker was killed in an attack by cows in the Stubai Valley. 20 cows and calves trampled the 45-year-old from Bad Dürkheim to death. She was walking with her dog on a hiking trail. The cows wanted to protect their calves.

The Bavarian Farmers' Association has now called on walkers and hikers to be particularly careful and advises to keep a proper distance from grazing animals. “Stay calm, don't run away and, in an absolute emergency, hit the cow on the nose with a stick or walk slowly and calmly out of the danger zone” - this is the recommendation. In Austria, the Tyrolean Chamber of Agriculture issued a flyer on how to behave correctly on the mountain pastures after the cow attacks. The title: "An Alm is not a petting zoo."

By Britta Schultejans