“We have had contact with the farmer, and he is determined that the cow that attacked must be killed because it is unstable. He does not want to have it amongst his livestock,” Nordland Police spokesman Mads Bernhoft told VG earlier this week.
The cow attacked and killed the 80-year-old when the woman attempted to provide some sort of assistance to the cow while it was giving birth for the first time. The cow also attacked the woman’s 83-year-old husband, who recovered from his injuries.
A neighbour eventually fought off the cow with a stick and called for emergency help. The couple was taken to hospital in Mo, where the woman died of her injuries.
But veterinary experts say that the cow’s reaction to human interference was completely normal.
“You can say that it is natural to go on the attack because it wants to defend itself and its calf. The problem is that [cows] are so big and strong that there can be tragic results, as was the case here,” Kristian Ellingsen-Dalskau of the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (Veterinærinstituttet) told broadcaster NRK.
Ellingsen-Dalskau added that he was speaking in general terms rather than specifically about the cow in question. The son of the killed 80-year-old woman told VG that she has cared for animals on the farm for several years and that she has previously helped cows give birth without any prior incidents.
Ellingsen-Dalskau agreed with the farmer’s decision to put the cow down, but said that people in general should not get involved with a cow’s calving process.
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“One should stay away from cows with calves, particularly if unfamiliar with the cows or their behaviour. They can be aggressive,” he said.
Nordland Police said that they considered the case closed but would wait for an official autopsy report before officially declaring the woman’s cause of death.