Farmer's fury over cow death

RED-faced bosses at power giant EDF were today facing the fury of a Suffolk farmer after being blamed for the death of a pregnant cow.Dairy farmer Robin Richards of Rodwell Farm Dairy at Baylham was left fuming after a dairy heifer died licking a live cable which came down in his field.

RED-faced bosses at power giant EDF were today facing the fury of a Suffolk farmer after being blamed for the death of a pregnant cow.

Dairy farmer Robin Richards of Rodwell Farm Dairy at Baylham was left fuming after a dairy heifer died licking a live cable which came down in his field.

And the cow wasn't the only creature to fall victim to the cable - it was initially brought down after a swan flew into it. The swan died instantly.

Mr Richards had tried to tell the company not to turn the power back on until he had cleared his cattle from the field - but had been unable to get through on their emergency helpline.


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The worried farmer hurriedly tried to usher the herd into the next field but couldn't prevent one inquisitive cow from approaching the cable. At that moment, power was restored to the area but EDF Energy's timing could not have been worse.

He said: “Cows are curious things and when something new enters the field they naturally investigate. The electricity came back on and I attempted to drive them away from the wire which was sparking at either end.

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“Suddenly I heard a loud groan and turned to see one of them collapse.”

The unfortunate victim was paralysed and died shortly after receiving the shock but Mr Richards believes the tragic accident could have been prevented.

He said: “I rang EDF Energy's helpline as soon as the power went down but was unable to get through.

“Perhaps, if I had a chance to tell them what had happened, they could have isolated the power and allowed me to clear the area.”

Replacing the hapless cow could be an expensive operation for Mr Richards and his team. The heifer was due to calve and her death will mean the loss of a year's worth of milk for the farm.

Mr Richards said: “It's going to set us back a couple of thousand pounds and blue tongue restrictions mean we can't just go out and buy another one tomorrow.”

A spokeswoman for the power company said: “EDF Energy Networks is very concerned about an incident in which a cow was killed today by coming into contact with an electricity cable at Baylham.

“We extend our sympathy to the owner for the distress this has caused. A senior member of staff has visited the farmer and we are treating this incident extremely seriously.

“We understand that on this occasion this customer experienced difficulties when trying to report this incident to us via phone. We are looking into exactly why that was.”

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