Farmer who sustained serious injuries from bull urges livestock farmers to take extra care
7th February 2024
A typical day turned into a life threatening situation for Carol Rettie, when one of the “quietest” bulls she had ever handled panicked during handling. Carol has shared her story in a new RSABI video to help improve safety in farming.
In a new video interview with RSABI, Carol and Richard Rettie share their experience in March 2019,when a bull panicked while being handled, saying they hope their experience will remind people to take a little extra time to minimise risks when working with livestock.
Carol, who runs a bull livery service with husband Richard, sustained very serious injuries – including five broken ribs and a lung puncture – and needed surgery to her eyes and ear after a typical day turned into a life-threatening situation.
“One of the quietest bulls”
Recalling what happened that day, Carol describes the bull in question as one of the quietest she had ever handled but her very tranquil, normal working routine changed dramatically when she was blow drying him ahead of a visit by a prospective buyer.
“I’d washed the bull and was getting him ready for blow drying when things changed completely in just a matter of seconds,” said Carol. “All I did was flick the drier flex to get a little more length to work with but that simple action startled him leading to me dropping the hose of the blower.
“The hose then started to snake underneath him because I couldn’t turn it off which startled him even more and I got slammed into the side against the gate multiple times. I remember slipping down the gate and thinking, this is it, I’m not getting out of this.”
Fortunately, there was a split second when the bull turned, allowing Carol to get out but she doesn’t remember much after that, other than lying on the concrete unable to see and struggling to breathe.
Richard was feeding some cattle nearby when he heard Carol, ran round and immediately called 999.
“The air ambulance arrived shortly after and they were brilliant. Given the discomfort Carol was in, there was no way she could have travelled to the hospital in an ambulance, and being flown there also cut down the travel time considerably on a busy Friday afternoon,” said Richard.
The couple are incredibly grateful for the medical support they received.
“I can remember the doctor who treated me on the way to Ninewells was so kind. I ended up being known as ‘the bull lady’ in Ninewells and I couldn’t have been treated any better by the doctors and staff there. I am so grateful to them all,” added Carol.
Take an extra few moments
Carol and Richard are urging people to take an extra few moments to assess risks when working with livestock.
“Anything can happen within just a few split seconds,” said Richard. “Just try to assess situations to see if there’s a safer way you can do things and avoid putting yourself in potential danger, even if it’s something you’ve done a hundred times. Just be careful, don’t do anything unless it’s necessary and please don’t take a chance.”
Watch the video:
The couple are looking forward to The Farmers’ Choir concert, sponsored by United Auctions and compered by well-known farmer and comedian, Jim Smith, on Sunday 25th February at Perth Concert Hall.
Less than 200 tickets are left and are available from Perth Concert Hall Box Office, priced at £20 plus booking fee, with funds raised going to RSABI and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.
RSABI offers free practical, financial, and emotional support including counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry.
Its free confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling 0808 1234 555 (calls won’t show up on phone bills) or through a confidential webchat service, available on RSABI’s website www.rsabi.org.uk.
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