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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Cow rescued from tree by Cumbria firefighters

People might expect to see some unusual things in the countryside.

But one thing they would be surprised to find is a cow in a tree.

Bizarrely though that was what farmers and firefighters in the Eden Valley have had to deal with.

Phillip Armstrong, who owns Sheriff Park Farm at Thrimby, near Penrith, was counting his cattle and realised one was missing.

The animals had been sheltering by trees in part of his field which led to an embankment overlooking the River Leith.

He noticed part of a fence was damaged. He walked down the embankment, holding onto trees to stop himself sliding down.

Looking up he saw a cow stuck between two trees.

Below the cow was a drop of more than 65 feet.

“When you see part of your livelihood like that it isn’t good,” said Mr Armstrong.

The cow was a pedigree daisy shorthorn heifer, around one year old, named Moorriggs Sparkle III. It weighs around 50 stones.

Mr Armstrong phoned the fire service and his local vet, Chris Swift, who arrived on the scene simultaneously. The cow had stopped struggling to get free by the time they appeared on the scene, but was still agitated.

Dr Swift examined the animal. “It had given up trying but was in a state of shock,” he said. “It had no major injuries, if it had it would have been kinder to put it to sleep.”

Instead, he put the cow under heavy sedation.

The firefighters used a sling to stabilise the cow and a piece of heavy plant equipment borrowed from a neighbouring farm.

Moorriggs was brought down and returned to her field.

Impressively, she suffered only minor bruising and is now back on her feet with the rest of her herd.

Amazingly, this is not the first time Dr Swift has been called to a cow rescue.

He has seen several in his career, including one where the animal had to be rescued by helicopter.

The fire service’s watch manager at the scene, Tony Harrison, also recalls being sent out to rescue a cow stuck in a tree around 18 years ago.

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