On Thursday, police in Gatineau, Quebec shot and killed two stray cows after pursuing them for more than an hour. Police claim that the use of lethal force was necessary as the animals were aggressive and dangerous.
The cows, which were bound for a Montreal abattoir, escaped from the trailer and took off down a local highway and into a residential area. Children at a nearby school had to be kept inside while the police chased down the animals. The cows, however, kept evading the police officers’ attempts to capture them. Eventually, as can be seen in video coverage captured by an area resident, one police officer opened fire and shot at a cow six times. The cow, obviously injured and scared, kept running away. Four police cars chased the cow around the corner and a police officer shot at least four more times at the cow, which eventually died. The officers later killed the second cow as it approached another highway in the region.
Police told the CBC that they had no choice but to kill the cows. They tried to get the animals into a trailer, but were unable to do so because they were too aggressive. Feeling they had no other option, they obtained permission of the owner and then proceeded to shoot and kill the cows. According to police, lethal force was necessary because the “the animal was charging at people, hanging around a school, and was really aggressive.”
A commenter on the Huffington Post Canada noted: “I have worked with cattle for many years and have never heard of anything as ridiculous as this. The gun seems to be the answer far too often these days for a lot of trigger happy cops.” The resident who filmed the video of the shooting also expresses dismay at the police officer’s choice to use lethal force. If the cows truly were too aggressive, shouldn’t non-lethal methods, such as tranquilizers, have been an option for police?
What do you think? Were the police right to shoot these animals? Or is there something else they could or should have done to protect the public from scared and aggressive cows?
Photo credit: dougtone on flickr