A bizarre online cow-kissing challenge has been slammed by the Austrian government.

The #KuhKussChallenge ("Cow Kiss Challenge") was launched by a Swiss app called Castl this week.

It encouraged users to kiss cows to raise money for charity.

Castl, which has users in Switzerland and other German-speaking countries, suggested cows could be kissed "with or without tongues", the Daily Mail reported.

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Austrian Agriculture Minister Elisabeth Koestinger released a statement calling the challenge a "dangerous nuisance".

"Pastures and meadows are not petting zoos - actions like these could have serious consequences".

Balancing tourists' and cattle farmers' activities is a sensitive topic in Austria's mountain regions, and the government had even published a "code of conduct" for hikers, advising them to avoid cow herds, the Daily Mail reported.

"Actions like this challenge fly in the face of our efforts to promote co-existence on the pastures. I simply can't understand it," said Koestinger.

Although cattle are often seen as docile creatures they can be dangerous.

In February this year, a court in the Tyrol region of western Austria ordered a farmer to pay 490,000 euros to the widower of a woman who was trampled to death by a herd of his cows in 2014.

The case caused outrage and the farmer is appealing the verdict with the support Austria's farmers' federation, the Daily Mail reported.

In New Zealand a cow attacked two people in a south Auckland park in 2018 and was put down, along with its 8-month-old calf.

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