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Farm safety in the spotlight

Carmen and Rog. Photo: NFU Scotland.

The danger posed by animals to farmers is in the spotlight, as part of NFU Scotland's Farm Safety Awareness Week.

Nine years ago, Carmen Wood was gored by a cow - she suffered serious injuries, and was forced to give up farming.

She had been moving a small group of cows and calves with her husband, Rog, at their hill farm Auchentaggart, near Sanquhar.

While Rog went ahead to open a gate, a newly-calved Aberdeen Angus cow turned on Carmen, knocking her to the ground, goring her and trampling her.

She was rushed to the intensive care unit in Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary where she underwent a life saving operation involving a blood transfusion and the removal of her right lung and two ribs.

Carmen spent three weeks in intensive care, before the cavity where her lung had been, became infected.

Following several months in hospital, she had further surgery to her chest.

She suffered depression afterwards, and still experiences pain.

The family made the decision to give up farming, and NFU Scotland is now using their experience to raise awareness about the dangers involved in working with livestock.

The incident should make us think more carefully about how we handle livestock, and newly-calved cows in particular. Carmen was fortunate that Rog was near at hand with a Land Rover and managed to summon medical assistance quickly.

She could just as easily been alone and lain unattended for hours, which in her case would have been fatal.

We should all learn lessons from Carmen's tragic accident and think very carefully before working with cattle to ensure it's done as safely as possible.

‘Be wary’ should always be our motto.

– NFU Scotland