WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – State emergency responders are facing some tough questions surrounding video footage that shows cleanup crews dropping a live cow into a dump truck for disposal.
The footage (posted to Facebook) offers a firsthand look at clean-up efforts after Monday’s massive cattle truck crash on I-84. Bystanders are clearly upset as a UDOT front-end loader drops the cow into the dumpster below.
“It was really just terrible to see,” said Savannah Haskey, a witness.
Haskay filmed the disposal and put it online, drawing thousands of views and a lot of critical comments.
The initial incident was ugly in and of itself. Officials say the driver failed to slow down where an on-ramp to I-84 curves left off I-15. The southbound semi-trailer full of 82 cows toppled over, causing complete chaos inside the contained space.
“You have all those cows trying to stand up, trying to get their footing. This is going to sound ugly, but they’re trampling each other, they’re suffocating each other. They’re all just scrambling for some kind of space, and that’s unfortunately what killed most of the cows,” said Lt. Mike Loveland, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who responded to the incident.
The crash closed down the entire on-ramp for more than eight hours because crews had to chain up and hoist out every single cow, one by one.
“It was really surprising to see a live one that was kicking, and it looked very scared,” Haskey recalled.
Haskay says the cow stayed alive for quite awhile after falling into the dump truck of carcasses.
“You could see its head looking around too,” she recalled.
While the driver reportedly walked away just fine, he left behind a disturbing scene that responders say they handled to the best of their abilities.
“As far as the decisions were concerned on the animals, those were made by trained professionals. There was a large animal veterinarian and cattle wrangler that were out there,” said John Gleason, spokesperson for UDOT.
Haskay says she realizes crews had a tough responsibility.
Everyone agrees it was a lose-lose situation.
“Obviously, they’re doing their job, and I can tell that it’s a hard situation to clean up,” Haskay said.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s complicated. No one wants to see animals that are in pain, that are suffering, and you know, I’m sure it was a terrible situation for everyone out there,” Gleason said.
The incident has sparked discussion online and has many requesting more humane methods for handling these situations in the future.