Farmers Union says police ‘probably right’ to ram spooked cow with car

Farmers Union says police ‘probably right’ to ram spooked cow with car

A National Farmers’ Union official has backed police who ran over an escaped 10-month-old calf after the incident sparked furore among animal rights activisits.

A video clip of the small cow being rammed by a police car in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey on Friday has been subject to widespread condemnation after it circulated on social media over the weekend.

The animal, named Beau Lucy, was launched 30ft across a residential road following its escape from a nearby breeding farm.

The police had claimed the calf was rammed because it was putting the public in danger, but the incident has sparked a heated debate about animal cruelty.

 (Kai Bennetts/PA Wire)
(Kai Bennetts/PA Wire)

Hugh Broom, National Farmers’ Union’s South East livestock chairman has defended the officers, saying they were “probably right” to hit the cow before it “sent a child flying”.

“While the whole thing looks horrendous, and it is for everyone, they probably did the right thing at the time,” he told BBC Radio Surrey. “The other option is you shoot the animal. In that environment would you want to be using a rifle in a built-up area on a dark Friday night?”

He added: ““God forbid it had gone the other way and the animal ran off and bumped into someone, sent a child flying, sent any person flying, [which is] perfectly possible, and they were seriously injured or worse.

“People would be saying: ‘Why wasn’t the animal stopped?’”

A local animal sanctuary said it would be “a dream come true” to take in the runaway heifer (Kai Roberts)
A local animal sanctuary said it would be “a dream come true” to take in the runaway heifer (Kai Roberts)

His response is in contrast to other online commentators, some of whom have called for the officer involved in the incident to be permanently removed from duty. They have been removed from frontline duties pending investigation.

Naturalist Chris Packham argued that the officer need more training. He described the incident as “surely illegal”, claiming that as the cow had been loose for some time, the police would have likely had the time to contact people with experience dealing with livestock so that they could capture it humanely.

Jeremy Clarkson also weighed in as he vowed to vote for whichever political party “stops the police from running over cows”.

As a farmer himself, the 64-year-old has shown a deep emotional attachment to animals on his hit Prime show, Clarkson’s Farm. One episode in the latest season of the show saw him growing tearful as he sent 13 of his own cows to the abattoir after he claimed he can no longer afford to keep all of them after his restaurants was shut down by the local council.

As for Beau Lucy, activists have called for her to surrendered to an animal sanctuary after it is believed that she managed to escape her enclosure by swimming across the river.

The animal travelled around five miles to the Staines area where she was found grazing at Staines Moor on Friday.

Police spent two hours attempting to capture the cow after arriving at 9pm but had no luck. After all their attempts failed, they rammed into the animal at 11pm with a 4x4 vehicle.

The cow was subsequently returned to her owner and received veterinary treatment. According to reports, the animal did not receive medical attention at the scene.

Kate, the partner of the calf’s owner, said Beau Lucy was “really scared” and “agitated” when she returned to him.

She said that the animal was simply “spooked” at the time of the police incident and presented no danger to the public when it was repeatedly rammed by police.

“I don’t know whether she will live,” Kate added to Sky News. “She could die of the shock but hopefully she’ll live.”