Farmers warned of livestock dangers after cow attack

Farmers are being warned of the risk of attack by livestock after a Co. Westmeath farmer suffered “significant injuries” earlier this week.

The injured man is a neighbour of Des Lynam, the treasurer of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA). Lynam was on the farm in question, helping with a herd test, when the incident occurred.

The suckler cow involved in the attack had calved two days prior.

We are all in shock. My good friend and neighbour has suffered significant injuries. He has since been transferred to the care of St James’ Hospital where his recovery is on-going, but it will be a long process.

Lynam explained: “The cow in question had calved only two days prior and there is no doubt this was a factor in what happened.

“It was also a particularly windy afternoon which also may have been a factor. Unfortunately, the testing had to be done and despite taking precautions, the unthinkable happened,” he added.

Tom Stephenson, the ICSA’s acting suckler chairperson, commented: “Fortunately, the man in question had his good neighbour Dan and the vet present, who together were able to fence off the cow and administer first aid until the ambulance arrived.

It will take some time for this man to get back on his feet again. He has lots of good neighbours, like Dan, to help him out in the spring.

“The decision has now been made to cull the cow and the Department of Agriculture have offered any assistance that may be required,” Stephenson explained.

He stressed: “Calving season is now upon us and this type of situation will happen again, but farmers will have to be more safety-conscious.”

Stephenson urged farmers to work out an “escape route” in advance of handling cattle.

Ideally, build a frame that you can escape behind in your calving sheds, preferably made of steel. Also, leave the dog at home, and for outdoor calving – bring your tractor, never walk.

“Never bring your quad as it doesn’t offer enough protection and always remember If a cow shows any sign of wickedness, they should not be left on the farm,” he concluded.

The ICSA is asking farmers to familiarise themselves with the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) guide for handling cattle, which can be found here.