Video Shows Police Car Hitting Escaped Cow to 'Protect the Public'

A British police unit has come under fire for its alleged "horrific" treatment of a runaway cow.

On Thursday, passers-by caught video footage of a police vehicle ramming into the loose farm animal, which had been trotting along the side of a busy road. The clip has since surfaced online, and animal lovers are not pleased.

Berkshire Live first reported that the cow was causing traffic jams in the English town of Woodley on Thursday. The escaped bovine was reportedly chased by a farmer and a police officer. The creature looked "angry," according to onlookers, and at one point in its journey, it reportedly knocked down a woman outside a Tesco.

Eventually, it appears that the pursuit ended when a Thames Valley police vehicle struck the cow, as captured in the graphic clip.

The video has sparked anger on social media sites, with PETA UK even weighing in. "WTF?!" tweeted the organization, alongside a reposting of the clip.

WTF?!😡 This is how Thames Valley Police "dealt with" a cow in Woodley who escaped from a farm.

If you're outraged by this video, spare a thought for the thousands of cows who are abused and killed every day by the meat and dairy industries.pic.twitter.com/Q39MsR3LHH

— PETA UK (@PETAUK) May 14, 2021

Concerned citizens took to the Berkshire Live Facebook page to express their dismay. Several called the act "barbaric."

"Disgusting behavior and I hope the police officer faces consequences for their actions," wrote Facebook commenter Emeryn Williams. Mike Skeats echoed that point, describing the incident as "totally inhumane."

According to Berkshire Live, the Thames Valley Police Department has since released a statement following the incident. Specifically, they say they hit the cow to "prevent it from charging" at another person. The "distressed" cow reportedly did not respond to efforts made by the police and its owner, the farmer, to de-escalate the conflict.

"The cow became increasingly distressed and charged at a member of the public causing her minor injury, as well as causing injuries to a TVP officer and damage to vehicles."

"After all other options including tranquilization were precluded, the cow was humanely euthanized at the scene by a private company," they added. "This decision, whilst not taken lightly, was necessary to limit the suffering of the animal, to prevent further injury and to ensure the safety of the public."

The police department reportedly wanted to "reassure people that these measures were necessary and were only taken due to the need to protect the public." They also claimed that the situation was dealt with "in a way to minimize suffering to the animal."

Cow in New Zealand
A cow at Ambury Farm in Auckland, New Zealand. Getty Images/Phil Walter