Firefighters rescue cattle from slurry tanks in 2 separate incidents

Two cows and one calf had to be rescued from slurry tanks on two different farms in Northern Ireland in recent days.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) responded to the two early morning incidents on Sunday, March 26 and Tuesday, March 28 respectively.

The NIFRS responded to a call at 4:42am on Tuesday morning, where a cow had fallen into a slurry tank at Lurganeden Road, Pomeroy in Co. Tyrone.

It has been confirmed that the cow survived following the rescue.

Firefighters and specialist rescue teams, wearing breathing apparatus, used a gas monitor, slings and a telehandler to rescue the cow from the slurry tank.

Fire crews from Pomeroy, Dungannon, Cookstown and Omagh stations attended the incident.

Meanwhile, the NIFRS also responded to a second call-out on Sunday morning at 8:41am.

This special service call involved the rescue of a cow and a calf from a slurry tank at Derrylattinee Road, Dungannon in Co. Tyrone.

The NIFRS confirmed to Agriland that the cow survived the incident, but unfortunately the calf did not.

Similarly, firefighters used slings, a gas monitor and a telehandler to rescue the animals from the slurry tank. Crews from Dungannon, Clogher and Omagh stations attended the incident.

Risks farmers take when working with slurry

Speaking to Agriland earlier this year, Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland, Pat Griffin, said that farmers are continuing to take risks when working with slurry.

Not removing livestock from a slatted shed prior to agitating is the biggest risk taken by farmers when working with slurry, he said.

“Not moving livestock can lead to a very dangerous situation. A farmer’s immediate reaction when they see an animal falling is to try and save them.

A farmer will run in to try and save the animals; this would be like running into a fire, but the flames aren’t visible.

In a situation like this farmers could be running to their death, as a single lungful of hydrogen sulphide can kill a person, he said.

Preparation and planning are key tools farmers must use in order to reduce the dangers when working with slurry, Griffin added.

We now know about the risks involved and we know the process that has to be taken to avoid these risks.

“Despite all of the safety guidance and leaflets available, people are still taking risks,” he said.