A farmer from near Bradford on Avon has been fined and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 after two members of the public were injured – one fatally – by cows in his field.
The two elderly brothers; Mike and John Porter, were walking their dogs on leads along a public footpath that crossed a field in which cows were grazing with their calves when they were attacked.
The elder brother; John, 73, suffered multiple rib fractures, a punctured lung and general contusions, while his brother Mike, 66, tragically suffered internal bleeding from crush injuries caused by the cattle trampling on him, and died.
When the HSE investigated the incident, they found that the farmer had not taken reasonable precautions to protect members of the public walking on footpaths through his fields from his cattle. This was not the first time the farmer’s cattle had injured members of the public; the incident was the fourth in five years.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Dawn Lawrence said: “Farmers and landowners have a legal duty to assess the risks from livestock to people using any rights of way on their land, and to take all reasonable precautions. Wherever possible farmers should avoid keeping cows with calves in fields with public footpaths. If that is impossible, and they need to keep cattle and walkers apart, temporary fencing is easy and cheap to provide.”
It is believed that the cattle may have attacked the walkers because they perceived a risk to their calves from the men and their dogs.
The countryside can, by its nature, be a dangerous place, but a lot of the dangers can be minimised by a little thought and preparation. It would come as no surprise to any farmer that their livestock can be dangerous, but when protecting members of the public they have a duty to ensure risks are limited and managed properly. If you or someone you care for has been injured while out in the countryside, and it was not your fault, you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today for a free, no obligation conversation about your case, and let us see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.