Mooove slowly and don't hug cows, hikers told
(From left to right: Me, Thom, mum, dad on Mount Pilatus, Lucerne)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Keep your distance. Avoid eye contact. And even if it looks cute, never hug a Swiss cow.
Responding to numerous "reports of unpleasant meetings between hikers and cattle" along Switzerland's picture-perfect Alpine trails this summer, the Swiss Hiking Federation has laid down a few ground rules.
"Leave the animals in peace and do not touch them. Never caress a calf," the group's guidance, posted on the website www.swisshiking.ch
"Do not scare the animals or look them directly in the eye. Do not wave sticks. Give a precise blow to the muzzle of the cow in the event of absolute need," it continues.
Evelyne Zaugg of the Swiss Hiking Federation said that while there were no precise statistics on incidents involving cows, walkers are reporting more run-ins than a few years ago.
She said new rearing practices, where the animals spend less time around farmers and wander in pastures with little human interaction, were partly to blame for the anti-social behavior.