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Farmer gored by bull tells of lucky escape after grabbing beast's nose ring and hopping a fence

By Chris McCullough

Published 03/10/2015

Tony Conway from Newtownstewart
Tony Conway from Newtownstewart
Cattle in Tony Conway's field

A farmer has told how he thought he was going to be killed after he was attacked and gored by a one-tonne bull.

Tony Conway (58) was putting an electric fence up in a field when his four-year-old Charolais struck.

The farmer eventually escaped by grabbing the bull's ring and climbing a fence.

"I'm a lucky man," Mr Conway said. "I have a few wee grandchildren and at one stage I thought I was never going to see them again. I thought I was going to be killed.

"He landed me on my backside. He then gored at my backside and legs for a good 10 yards before I can remember anything else.

"He lifted my feet up in the air and was goring away at me. I was wondering: 'What am I going to do?' I actually said to the bull: 'Are you going to kill me?' I knew I was beat - I couldn't get up. It's hard to say what timeframe had elapsed at that stage. I could not call for help as the bull had knocked the phone out of my pocket the first time he hit me."

Tony realised the only thing he could do to save himself was grab the animal's ring, but he was so tired from his ordeal that it took him three attempts to latch onto it and drag himself to his feet.

"By the time I got hold of it, I was clean exhausted," he said. "I laid there for a while until I got some breath back in my body. I then went to get up, but the bull tossed me again.

"I got up again but couldn't get over the fence at that particular point, so I led the bull by the ring back four or five posts to the corner post and climbed over the wire while still holding the ring. I then let him go."

After escaping the animal, Tony got on his quad bike and raced back to his farmhouse, where he raised the alarm.

He was immediately taken to Altnagelvin Hospital where X-rays revealed he had escaped without a single broken bone.

He was, however, left with severe bruising and swelling on his legs and will need crutches to get around for a short while.

"I have lived to tell the tale, so I'm all right," he added. "It could have been a lot worse; at one stage I was done.

"I never felt any pain until I got back to the house. I suppose the adrenaline was flying.

"It just shows you what can happen by dropping your guard for a few seconds. If I hadn't got hold of the ring, God knows what would have happened.

"The bull is going to be slaughtered on Tuesday morning. I will buy another young bull next spring as I need one for the cows."

The incident at the Ballymullarty Road farm, near Newtownstewart, was the second attack in the past few weeks by a Charolais bull, which is usually a docile breed.

In the first, Patrick Dowds, a farmer in his 60s, was killed on his farm near Burt in Co Donegal on September 17.

Nine people have been killed in accidents on farms in Northern Ireland in the past year.

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