Moo-ving rescue: hero vets save dozens of cattle from overturned lorry - Veterinary Practice
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Moo-ving rescue: hero vets save dozens of cattle from overturned lorry

Their swift response resulted in the successful rescue of 33 cattle

A team of vets have been hailed heroes after their quick actions saved the lives of dozens of cattle from an overturned lorry.

The incident saw the double-decker vehicle carrying 40 cattle flip over at Gobowen, Shropshire, prompting an urgent call to the veterinary teams at Brownlow and Park Issa farm vets.

Their swift response, supported by local farmers and the emergency services, resulted in the successful rescue of 33 cattle under hugely challenging conditions.

David Martin, clinical director at Brownlow, which is part of IVC Evidensia Farm Vets, and the on-call vet who received the emergency call, hailed the efforts of everyone involved.

He said: “Responding to emergencies like this is always stressful, but seeing our training in large animal rescue come to life in collaboration with the emergency services and the local farming community was extraordinary.

“Our deepest thanks go to everyone involved, especially our off-duty Brownlow and Park Issa large animal team, for their remarkable dedication and immediate action. They are all absolute heroes.”

The livestock lorry overturned on a busy A-road early Sunday afternoon, posing severe risks to the animals onboard.

The rescue team used a mobile handling unit borrowed from a nearby farm to move the cattle safely from the overturned lorry to a secure area.

About 15 local farmers assisted in the operation, bringing the tools and extra hands needed to make the rescue operation work.

It took more than two hours before the team could safely open the lorry’s back door and about five hours in total to free the last of the cattle.

Sadly, five of the animals had to be put to sleep at the scene to prevent further suffering, and two others died because of injuries they sustained in the crash.

David highlighted the significant contributions of Park Issa vets Vitoria Hipolito and Suzanne Vos, saying they each played pivotal roles in the rescue operation.

He added: “They both rushed to help on their day off, and their expertise and dedication were crucial in managing the situation. Suzanne stepped in to cover emergency calls, which allowed us to focus on the rescue operation at the crash site.

“This incident really tested our emergency response and, in the end, strengthened it. It was also an invaluable learning opportunity, particularly for team members who hadn’t faced such a large-scale emergency before.”

David further stressed the value of continuous training, adding, “It underlines how important it is for us to keep training in large animal rescue and first aid, something that, as part of IVC Evidensia, colleagues at our practices are able to routinely undertake. Being prepared like this helps us tackle all sorts of emergencies, from car accidents to rescuing animals from water or getting them out of precarious situations.”

Vitoria Hipolito, a vet involved in the rescue, said the incident demonstrated the strength of cooperation between vets, the farming community and emergency services.

She added: “As farm vets, we work shoulder to shoulder with the farming community, and this incident demonstrated unity.

“It was a complex rescue operation, with five fire and rescue engines on the scene, including Shropshire’s only animal tender, specifically equipped for animal emergencies like this one.

“The livestock lorry had up to nine separate pens, each requiring manual release. As we freed the cows in batches, our joint efforts allowed us to systematically assess, treat and safely move them into waiting vehicles.”

Steve Moorhouse, watch manager at Ellesmere Fire Station, described the incident as complex and said it was “thanks to the swift response of the vets” in attendance that they successfully managed to rescue the cattle.

He added: “Time was of the essence to remove the animals as quickly as possible, ensuring their safety as well as everyone involved in the incident.”

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