Farmer killed by cows may have been ‘inured to dangers’

A cow has wandered onto the M9 near Stirling
A cow has wandered onto the M9 near Stirling

A SHERIFF has not made any recommendations following the death of a farmer who was killed after being trampled by a herd of cows he was taking to market.

Thomas McFarlane was loading eight animals on to a truck at Cuthill Farm in West Lothian in June 2016 when one of the cows tried to jump over the gate of a temporary pen Mr McFarlane had put together.

In a report published yesterday by Sheriff Douglas Kinloch, it was revealed that the cow brought the gate down on Mr McFarlane’s chest and then trampled over him, followed by the seven other beasts.

The 69-year-old was taken to hospital and seemed to be making a recovery before suffering a relapse, brought on by pre-existing heart and lung difficulties.

He died almost two months after the accident.

Sheriff Kinloch said: “It may be that, like many workmen, he had become inured to the potential dangers of his job, in this case herding cattle into a truck, and did not give very much thought to these dangers.

“It is obvious that if a pen is required, then for it to be made as safe as possible the fencing has to be securely attached to the ground, such that it will be sufficiently strong to withstand the considerable weight of a cow attempting to leap over it.”

Giving evidence to the inquiry at Livingston Sheriff Court earlier this year, eyewitness Andrea Taylor, 28, described the tragedy as a “one-off” accident.

Ms Taylor, whose family run an arable farm close to the farm near West Calder said she had never seen a cow leap so high either before or since the accident.

She said Mr MacFarlane was “like family” to her.