UK government demands an explanation after police ram a runaway cow with a squad car

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s interior minister on Saturday demanded an “urgent explanation” after police officers were filmed ramming a runaway cow with their car.

The Surrey Police force said it had referred itself to the police ethics watchdog over the incident.

The force said officers responded on Friday evening to reports of a loose cow ”running at members of the public” in Staines-upon-Thames, just outside London. and damaging a car. It said officers spent several hours trying to catch the animal, and eventually “a decision was made to stop it using a police car.”

Footage published on social media showed a cow running in a residential road being hit by a police car, getting up, and then being hit again.

The cow sustained a large cut to its leg and was being treated by a vet, police said.

Home Secretary James Cleverly posted on X: “I can think of no reasonable need for this action. I’ve asked for a full, urgent explanation for this. It appears to be unnecessarily heavy handed.”

The footage drew anger in animal-loving Britain. BBC nature presenter Chris Packham tweeted: “What sort of monster rams a calf?”

Animal welfare charity the RSPCA said that it would contact police over the “upsetting and distressing footage.”

Surrey Police said it had notified the Independent Office of Police conduct, which investigates misconduct allegations against officers.

Chief Inspector Sam Adcock said “the decision to use the police car is one that was only taken after other methods to stop the cow had failed.

“There will be an investigation into the actions that led to this, but our focus at all times is on ensuring the safety of the public.”