Cow shot dead in Aberdeen Harbour after failed rescue attempt

The coastguard and boats tried to move it to safety. Picture: Fraser Graham

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The Independent Online

A cow has been shot dead in Aberdeen Harbour after efforts to rescue it from the sea failed.

Coastguard vessels and lifeboats were called to coax the animal to safely as it struggled to stay afloat in the shipping channel, causing the harbour to temporarily close on Tuesday morning.

But when attempts to move the cow to dry land failed, police marksmen were called in.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: "We assisted with the recovery of the animal which unfortunately had to be humanely destroyed on the advice of a vet.

"Destruction of the animal was the last resort. Public safety and animal welfare were considered after all other efforts to restrain the animal were unsuccessful."

It had been moved out of deep water by 9.15am but after hours of trying to retrieve the stranded animal from a slipway, rescuers gave up.

The cow had fallen into the sea while being loaded from a vessel onto a road transport float, according to a spokesman for NorthLink Ferries.

The Coastguard had previously been hopeful about the rescue, with a spokesman telling STV: “As far as we know it’s okay and they’ve got it on the slipway.

“We’ve got the Aberdeen lifeboat there and a couple of the harbour vessels. They shepherded it into shallower waters.”

Lifeboats from the RNLI also joined the effort as bemused onlookers watched from the quay.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the cow was reported in the water just after 7.30am.

He added: "A pilot vessel and the local inshore lifeboat were among the vessels that assisted in herding the animal to a slipway. However, after assessment by a vet, the animal was put down."

Around 8,000 vessels arrive at Aberdeen Harbour every year, carrying five million tonnes of cargo, valued at approximately £1.5 billion.