Chased by cows

Treating animals with respect, friendship and dignity.

Our relationship with animals reflects our relationship with self and fellow humans.  Mistreat animals at our peril.

Our relationship with animals reflects our relationship with self and fellow humans. Mistreat animals at our peril.

There are moments in life when you face situations unique and dangerous, where you have to go with the flow using your wits.  Yesterday, I am on a public footpath in a field of cows.  These cows located across my path and field in a way I could not safely pass, every cow slowly turned towards me as I was half way across the field.

The cows advanced towards me, I was going through my head my options and the chances this could end badly for me, however small the chances I could be trampled to death it was my desire to make sure I would be safe, so I retreated. Trying with dignity to hold my nerve I was backing away from the cows towards the gate, walking fast, at times facing the cows walking backwards.  The cows were speeding up and covering the ground fast.  I made it to the gate seconds to spare.

My imagination runs wild on the possibilities of what could have happened had these cows caught me before I was out of the gate, but in such situations it is better to move to safe known ground than face that small chance of being injured or killed.  I take risks in order to explore my world, but when faced with possibilities of serious injury and death I minimise such risks.

There are claims cows will stop a short distance from you, but these cows were right up to the gate, sticking their heads through the gate.  Even if the cows were only curious there was a possibility I could be accidentally trampled, at the gate there was some wild jostling going on, some of these cows expressed a new pattern of mounting each other, one cow mounting my shoulders would break my back.

Feeling safe I talked to the cows, one cow was busy licking my hand, and I got a stray tongue in my face.  I fed the cows juicy grass from my side of the gate.  These cows were extremely curious bold creatures.

Some say experience life, being chased and licked by cows probably is an experience few encounter.  I like adventure, and I like to connect with nature.  With animals such as cows I let them make the moves and react accordingly.  One of the errors ignorant people make is they seek to control the animal, forcing their will upon the animal rather than let it choose how it relates with the human.  Dog, cat, swan and cow, I have seen the same response if they are uncomfortable with you, they shy away.  Allowing the animal to make sense of what you are and your meaning to them is a slow process which demands you are attentive in the present moment.  Animals are concrete experiential thinkers, so offering them lots of sensory information that speaks of you as friend rather than predator helps prevent flee-fight responses in the animal, they will also remember you.


14 responses to “Chased by cows

  1. Cows are very curious, and move in herds. I used to be a surveyor, and hated setting up in a cow pasture, with huge 1200 pound animals checking me out. They generally mean well, but, as you said, bad things can happen all the same.

    • Treating all animals with respect and caution is one of the best ways to avoid injury or death, as you say bad things can happen since animals are often unpredictable.

  2. I’ve been chased by cows across a field before. It’s pretty terrifying – they’re huge creatures up close!

  3. The last paragraph is the best (great post all around though), but you succinctly conclude exactly what it means to be in nature or to adventure into nature or into nature’s environment among its life. My boyfriend and I often venture into nature to capture on film some of the wildlife, and although, it is a marvellous experience to be THAT close to wildlife, it is important to remember that we are in their territory and we can easily scare them into biting, scratching, etc. One of our favorites to film are snakes and insects, and it is best to be careful around such life. Venom can be poisonous and insects can bite and some also can be poisonous or elicit an allergic response. We are allways careful (we often are want to allow the insect to crawl about us for pictures and video). . . and the “risk” is always worth it. There is nothing like being face to face with a snake or an insect, down on their level, in their world. We have not yet been bitten, but there is always the chance. Without careful thought and awareness, adventure can easily turn to misadventure.

    A huge part of safely having an adventure is allowing the wildlife to determine the next step, or how far to go. They know, they will tell you if they think you are safe and nonthreatening as easily as they will tell you if they consider you a threat.

    When the moment happens, it is like magic. 🙂

    • I have never taken a photo of a snake. The UK are fortunate in having only a small number of toxic creatures, including one species of poison snake. There is a colony of such snakes in Mersea, a few miles from Colchester.

      You are right, to let the animal to determine the outcomes, without trying to control the animal both you and they remain safe.

      I know what you mean about those magic moments, it seems like a dream sometimes when it happens.

  4. Cows are one of my favorite animals because of their gentle nature, but unfortunately it wouldn’t take much for one to accidentally harm us. I’m glad you made it to the gate first.

  5. Cows are considered sacred in India and enjoy the top-most position when it comes to being treated with respect and worshipful adoration. But I guess religion should not be the only reason why animals should be respected or disrespected. Common sense is enough of a tool to cultivate the sensibility of respecting all animals. What has been a puzzle to me is why do we feel affection for some animals while others we simply ignore? Another emotion that confuses me is that the nonchalance with which animals are eaten and consumed at dinner tables, the cruelty that is shown in this process behind the screens, and the waves of joy and happiness that surge in our heart with regards to pets as animals. Quite a mish-mash of emotions they are. Since I doubt and am also befuddled about the origin of our emotions towards animals, I can only wish our affections towards animals had consistency and authenticity across the range, and that our understanding of them sprang from an enlightened intelligence.

    By the way Alex, King Cobra is my favorite. It is so because in spite of being so powerful, the restraint it practises in showing off its power is a thing to be observed and learnt by us all alike. Also, without a doubt its the beauty is marvellous.

    • Hi Rex, the questions you raise about the mix of emotions people have towards animals are what I have been thinking about in recent weeks as I make the most of the UK summer in nature. I think part of the answer is based upon connection, people rarely get to meet animals face-to-face so can never develop a sense of meaning about them.

      You have probably met a King Cobra in real life, so their majesty and beauty is something you connected with, I have never met such creatures so I have yet to identify with your experience of them.

  6. I had a bit of a cow moment walking home from work the other day. There was a cow-traffic-jam, if you will, on the path ahead and I did a massive loop around them. I did wonder what might happen if they had noticed me but they were busy eating grass.

  7. Having grown up in the country and among my childhood farming friends Cows would be a constant along the public walk ways through farmers fields… I have seen a herd run down a hill in pursuit of a hiker who legged it over a style… But fortunately escaped being chased myself. Although I would think a few cows on the rampage could be a very un-nerving experience…. And we have had in the news recently about the Bull which killed that poor man who was using a public footpath…

    Glad you came out unscathed

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