Everything we know about badly injured runaway cow and the suspended Surrey police officer who mowed it down

The plight of an escaped 10-month-old cow has ignited a heated debate about animal cruelty and excessive police force after the calf was repeatedly rammed by a patrol car following its escape from a nearby breeding farm.

In shocking footage from the Staines upon Thames area on Friday (14 June), the cow can be seen being mowed down by the police vehicle and thrown an estimated 30ft across a residential street.

While police claimed that they rammed the calf because it was putting the public in danger, this has been disputed by witnesses who said the animal was understandably spooked but did not present “harm to anyone”.

The incident, which lasted over two hours and many have complained could have been “dealt with a lot more humanely”, saw the police officer behind the wheel suspended pending an investigation.

The situation has resulted in a heated debate over the ethics of what happened, with some calling for the police involved to lose their jobs and others, including naturalist Chris Packham, arguing that they simply need more training.

Online commentators, meanwhile, have argued that the cow, named Beau Lucy, a 10-month-old breeding heifer, should be surrendered to an animal sanctuary.

Beau’s Escape

The incident began on Staines Moor, where the cow had been grazing in a fenced moor on Friday.

It is believed that Beau Lucy managed to escape her enclosure by swimming across the river. The animal travelled around five miles to the Staines upon Thames area.

Police arrived on the scene at around 9pm and attempted to capture the cow, which was feared to have the potential to cause a road traffic accident, for two hours.

When these attempts failed, the decision was taken to incapacitate the animal at around 11 pm by ramming it with a 4x4.

It was feared that the cow would cause a road traffic accident if it remained loose (Kai Bennetts/PA Wire)
It was feared that the cow would cause a road traffic accident if it remained loose (Kai Bennetts/PA Wire)

Packham, who took to Twitter (X), to describe the incident as “surely illegal”, said that as the cow had been loose for some time, the police would have likely had the time to contact people with experience dealing with livestock so that they could capture it humanely.

He is hoping that Surrey Police, and police forces around the country, learn from the incident so that similar scenes never emerge again in the future.

The cow was subsequently returned to her owner and received veterinary treatment. According to reports, the animal notably did not receive medical attention at the scene.

Police Response

Surrey Police have since announced that they have launched an internal investigation into the incident and removed the officer who drove the vehicle from frontline duties pending its outcome.

Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp said: ““I know there is much concern around the current welfare of the cow. She is now back with her owner and recuperating with her herd. She did sustain a large cut to one leg and cuts and grazes.

“She continues to be monitored by a vet and our rural officers are staying in contact with the owner for updates.

“I fully appreciate the distress our handling of this incident has caused and will ensure that it is thoroughly and diligently investigated.

“In addition to an internal referral to our Professional Standards Department, we have also referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for independent consideration.

“I have also briefed the Home Office on what action we are taking and we are liaising with several animal charities that have been in touch with us about this incident.”

The Farmer’s Reaction

Beau Lucy’s owner and his partner agreed that the police involved did not know enough about farm animals to deal with the situation correctly.

Kate, the partner of the calf’s owner, said Beau Lucy was “really scared” and “agitated” when she returned to him.

She said that the animal was simply “spooked” at the time of the police incident and presented no danger to the public when it was repeatedly rammed by police.

“Honestly, when I saw the video, I thought he should lose his job. I just thought it was disgusting, I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“I don’t know if it was his decision to drive at the animal or whether he was instructed to, but the police, when they got out of the car looked pretty agitated themselves.

“I can only imagine the police that did it have no idea about farm animals.”

Rob, Beau Lucy’s owner, whose surname has not been disclosed to the media, added: “I think the video speaks for itself. It was quite horrific.

“The method of dealing with the situation was incorrect. It was wrong and I think that’s the message we’ve learned. It could have been handled so much better. The videos were an upsetting sight.’

“I don’t understand why [the police] didn’t use a tranquillising dart. If they used a tranquillising dart the animal would have calmed right down and gone over [the car] if they needed to get a halter on it or restrain it.”

“Time will tell because we don’t know what internal injuries she might have. But she’s eating and she’s cuddling so there’s always promise when there’s that.”

“I don’t know whether she will live,” Kate added to Sky News. “She could die of the shock but hopefully she’ll live.”

The latest update on Beau Lucy’s condition was published by The Sun, who visited the calf at her farm yesterday (16 June).

She remains standing with other cows, but Rob has admitted that she is still limping after her ordeal.

Rob added: “She’s limping, sulky and bruised.

The cow was on the loose for hours before it was rammed by police (Screengrab)
The cow was on the loose for hours before it was rammed by police (Screengrab)

“We are hoping no damage has been done internally. When we got to her there was no way anyone could examine her.

“She was feisty and upset – scared witless.

“I’m angry, upset and disgusted. We did think they were trying to kill it.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA told The Independent: “This is upsetting and distressing footage. As soon as we were made aware, we urgently contacted the police to establish the background and to find out what happened to the calf. We are pleased to hear the calf survived and is receiving vet care.

“Surrey Police has referred themselves to their own professional standards department and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. It is crucial that the IOPC do a full investigation of this highly upsetting incident to ensure it is dealt with properly. The IOPC is the statutory body set up to deal with such incidents and has power to refer to the CPS if prosecution is appropriate. We are on hand to advise and support the investigation.

“We are in contact with Surrey Police to discuss the matter, offer advice and training to ensure similar incidents are avoided in the future.”

The Independent has reached out to Surrey Police for further comment.