Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

'They thought I was dead' - Michael Healy-Rae on surviving a cow attack

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae pictured recouperating at home in Kilgarvan. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae pictured recouperating at home in Kilgarvan. Photo: Don MacMonagle
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Michael Healy-Rae has said he is lucky to be alive following an attack by a cow last year and is warning farmers to take precautions on their farms to avoid such accidents.

The Kerry Independent TD shared his recent hazardous experience on his family farm and said he always considered himself to be a "safe type of person".

"I grew up around machinery and I was operating machinery from any early age. I would have been around animals all my life.

"The whole exercise of talking, is to let people know of my experience and hopefully my experience might create a bit of awareness, particularly with young people as to how things can go wrong. And how very ordinary mundane duties can turn horribly wrong."

'Another minute or two and I would have been gone'

Healy-Rae was working on his farm during the calving season when the accident happened.

"I had just tubed a calf and there was another cow after calving and she was out on the slats. I was bringing that cow and her new calf onto a straw bed.

"She was a very quiet cow. This would have been her third or fourth calf.

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"For no reason in the world she just turned on me. When I say she turned on me she was particularly vicious.

"The first couple of belts she got me with her head. You would imagine it was nothing, but they actually broke my ribs.

"The minute I went down she started standing up on top of me. In a very short length of time she had a lot of damage done," he said.

Healy-Rae, who was rescued from the pen by his son said: "if I was on my own which nine times out of 10 I would be, I would not have come out of the pen alive.

"Another minute or two and I would have been gone. They thought I was dead because of the way I was," he said.

Healy-Rae made the comments in a farm safety educational film, made by Roscommon CBS transition year students and their Ag Science teacher.

"I don’t care how used to your animals you are and how many thousands of times you might have walked through them.

"Never ever in your live be inside in a pen without a pike or a good stick in your hand. Someday it could be your last day. If you don’t be very careful," he warned.

The film, which launched last month and took over a year to complete, also tells the story of 15-year-old James Mooney, a student at Roscommon CBS, whose knee was broken after a ewe charged at him last summer.

Roscommon CBS teacher, Louise Gallagher, urges all schools, particularly in rural areas, to show the video to science students.

"If it encourages just one person to change a habit that's what matters to us. The response has gone way beyond the classroom and we're incredibly grateful to everyone involved," she said.

Check out 'CBS Roscommon Farm Safely' on YouTube today.

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