- Did you ever witness your dog growling, showing his teeth and barking at nothing in obvious severe panic and fear, well, now cattle in a Dutch city suffer regular acute and severe panic attacks for no apparent reason
Translated from Dutch
Farmers in North Groningen are puzzled.
They regularly see acute and severe panic attacks among their dairy cattle. The cows then run through the stable in complete mortal fear. The Oudman family from Stitswerd are now looking for publicity. "We would like to know what is going on," says Hilma Oudman.
RTV Noord has already been there and now there are teams from BNR and NPO3, says Hilma.
It is, therefore, a special phenomenon: complete couples of cows that panic from one moment to the next and run through the stable panicking and jumping on top of each other and falling down. This has happened at least three times since October, according to the farmer's wife. The last time was on Saturday morning, shortly after seven.
It's not just the Oudmans. Their neighbour, Piet van der Berg, has witnessed similar behaviour with his cattle and my brother-in-law Henk Oudman who owns a farm a few kilometres away. "She has heard a similar story from a cattle farmer from Grijpskerk, a small town close by which is close to a natural gas storage."
The cattle farmers involved are in the middle of the Groningen earthquake area (Fracking). And animals are often sensitive to soil vibrations. Yet it can not be down to that, according to Hilma Oudman: "Our cows are used to earthquakes. We have had earthquakes and the cattle did not react to the shaking.
Sweating of fear
Moreover, that does not explain why the panic attacks have only occurred since October. "It is as if the cows can smell something," says Hilma. "You can see that a couple reacts at the same time, they put their heads in the air, and then the panic hits. They are terrified, they are really sweating with fear. They may be running for a quarter of an hour, but the whole day they will still suffer. They remain very anxious and alert. "
Cows are herd animals, and the fear of one cow can easily spread to the rest. But that explanation is not logical either since anxiety attacks occur at several dairy farms at the same time.
The first time it happened was on an evening in October last year. Most cows were already in the barn, but they still had free access to the pasture. "They all ran out in a panic all at once, and they did not dare to go inside all night", says Hilma.
Further, in the stall season, the cows have also been panicked a few times. Fortunately, no serious accidents have occurred yet, according to the cattle keeper. "We have one cow with a teat catch, but it can be much worse if they fly out of the corner."
'Wondering if there are more farmers'
"We really have no idea where it can be. We are curious to see if there are more farmers who suffer from this. "And, who knows, there are researchers or veterinarians who can give an explanation for this, Hilma hopes. "Or scientists who feel called to investigate this."