Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Farmer survives goring by 1,000kg Charolais bull

Tony Conway on his farm in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.
Tony Conway on his farm in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.

Chris McCullough

A suckler cow farmer believes he is lucky to be alive after being gored by his Charolais bull.

Tony Conway (58), was working on his farm in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, when he was attacked by his 1,000kg bull.

Some quick thinking that saw the farmer grab the bull by its nose ring and hold it until he managed to clamber to safety may well have saved his life.

"I'm a lucky man," said Mr Conway. "I have five wee grandchildren and at one stage I thought I was never going to see them again.

"I thought I was going to be killed."

Mr Conway runs a 30-cow suckler herd and was erecting an electric fence around the perimeter of the field to try to keep the animals from eating the hedges.

When he looked around the bull was beside him and immediately struck.

"He landed me on my backside. He then gored at my backside and legs for a good 10 yards before I minded anything else.

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"He lifted my feet up in the air and I slid back down the sheep wire. He was goring away at me and I was wondering what am I going to do?

"I actually said to the bull: 'Are you going to kill me?' I knew I was beat, I couldn't get up. It's hard to say what time frame had elapsed at this stage."

It was then that the farmer decided the only thing he could do to save himself was to grab the ring on the bull's nose.

"I could not call for help as the bull had knocked the phone out of my pocket the first time he hit me," he said.

However, as he was out of energy it took him three attempts to grab the ring and hold the bull until he got to his feet.

"By the time I got the hold of it I was clean exhausted," he said. "I lay there for a while until I got some breath back in my body. I went to get up but the bull tossed me again.

"I got up again but couldn't get over the fence at that particular point.

"So I led the bull by the ring back up four or five posts to the strainer (corner post) and climbed over the wire still holding on to the ring. I then let him go."

He managed to climb on to the quad bike and get back to the farmyard to raise the alarm.He was immediately taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where x-rays revealed he had no broken bones.


A very sore Mr Conway now needs crutches to get around as he sustained severe bruising and swelling on his legs.

"I have lived to tell the tale, so I'm alright," said Mr Conway. "It could have been a lot worse. At one stage I was thought I was done. I never found any pain until I got back to the house. I suppose the adrenaline was flying.

"It just shows you what can happen by dropping your guard for a few seconds. If I hadn't got hold of the ring, God knows what would have happened."

The bull has since been slaughtered. "I will buy another young bull next spring as I need one for the cows," said Tony.

This is the second attack in recent weeks by Charolais bulls - not generally known for being aggressive.

Patrick Dowds, a 65-year-old farmer, died and his twin brother was seriously injured on their farm near Burt in Co Donegal on September 17, after also being attacked by a Charolais bull.

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