Cows in the European Alps Create Deadly Threat

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 Cows in the European Alps have always been a tourist attraction, as well taking part in maintaining the land and being part of the culture in the Alps. But these grazing cows pose a threat to those who go hiking in the Alps and who pass through land owned by farmers. Mother cows have been known to be aggressive towards hikers, especially those with dogs. It causes stress for the cows making them act violently towards hikers. Incidents of cows killing hikers used to be rare but as of 2014 it’s become more common. There’s no actual number of how many have been killed by cows in the alps but media coverage of these incidents have become more common. In 2019 a German woman was killed by a herd of cows charging at her. Pfurtscheller, owner of the cows responsible for the death of the women, was found responsible. The court ordered for him to pay $210,000 in damages to the woman’s child and widower. Aside from that, he was expected to pay monthly restitution totaling $1,850. This shocked farmers all over the Alps, making them question if allowing hikers on their land or taking their cows to feed off the land in the Alps was the best thing to do. Cutting off trails to hikers would mean the annual 120 million tourists that come to visit would come to a halt. Governments were quick to respond to the incident involving Pfurtscheller, ”Last year, federal law was changed to block similar litigation. New insurance policies now cover every farmer whose animals go wild.” Farmers in the Alps are protected by the government and in Switzerland they’re given $440 for each. But taking care of these cows in the Alps is very difficult due to such steep land. Farmers in the Alps have put signs all over the trails warning hikers to keep their distance from the cows. Even Olympic skiers help raise awareness telling tourists that pastures aren’t a petting zoo. There have been at least 8 reports of cows attacking hikers since June and more are expected since lockdowns due to COVID-19 are becoming lifted and many are eager to go outdoors. Many of the farmers in the Alps are suckler herds. Meaning the mother cows graze unattended while nurturing to their calves. This poses a huge threat to hikers since mother cows become very docile towards hikers in order to protect their calves. Farmers warn those who come to visit to be cautious and respectful towards the cows.