Another farmer killed during bTB skin testing of cattle Print this pagePrint this page

A 33 year old farmer and father of two in Shrophsire was killed by a bull as he tested cattle for bTB. He was conducting routine bTB testing on cows at Ashwood Farm in Whitchurch on 3 December 2013 when he was fatally injured by a bull. Adrian Owen was knocked backwards by the bull after the animal reared its head, believing it was about to be fed.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said the dairy farmer was airlifted to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire but died shortly afterwards. Mr Owen, who had been reaching to fix a yoke used to secure bulls for testing, hit his head on metal bars and fell to the ground, according to a statement by Christopher Gittins, a herdsman at Ashwood Farm in Ash Parva, near Whitchurch, where the accident happened.

Mr Owen was a popular member of the local farming community, having been involved in NFYFC. He was also well known in the Mid Wales area, having farmed at Sychlyn, Pools Quay and Lower Varchoel, near Guilsfield.

The inquest at the Guildhall in Shrewsbury was told the farm’s 600 cows had been tested on December 3 last year and the final test of the morning was to be on the farm’s two-year-old bull, which lived in an enclosure on its own.r Gittins’s statement, read out by coroner’s officer Gordon Dolan, detailed how Mr Owen, a 33-year-old father of two girls aged three and six, reached through the bars of the bulls enclosure, placing his head in proximity to the yoke.

“The bull, anticipating it was going to be fed, lifted its head hitting Mr Owen,” said Mr Gittins in his statement. I was unable to see clearly but Adrian moved backwards and hit his head on the bars. He then fell in to the passageway with blood coming from his nose and ears.”

A vet who was visiting the farm on the day called the emergency services. Mr Owen, who moved to the farm in 2011 with his partner Jane Edwards their children, was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire by air ambulance.

A post mortem examination was carried out by Dr Cerys Burrows, who recorded the cause of death as head injury caused by trauma.

A report from the Health and Safety Executive stated that Mr Owen, who set up Ashwood Farm with his grandfather, was preparing to yoke the bull and noticed the chain to secure the bull was tangled. “The herdsman was standing nearby with a bucket of feed,” said the report. “The bull pushed its head through the yoke, flinging the farmer’s head up.”

Constable Joanne Carroll, of West Mercia Police, attended the scene. She told the inquest: “The bull was not aggressive.”

Mr John Ellery, senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said that, based on the statements he had read and the reports received, Mr Owen’s death was accidental.

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