Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 15:04 UK

Lightning strike kills bullocks

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Jim McDougal looking at his dead bullocks (Pic: Alison McDougal)
Jim McDougal (right) and a vet survey the scene

A lightning strike killed 16 bullocks which were sheltering from a storm in a field in East Lothian.

A neighbour saw one of the animals being struck as they stood under a tree at Saltoun House Farm, Pencaitland, on Sunday.

It is thought that the lightning conducted through a puddle to kill the other bullocks.

Farm manager Jim McDougal told the BBC Scotland news website he had been "very upset" by the "freak act of nature".

The 60-year-old said he and his daughter Alison had gone to the field after being alerted by the neighbour.

The cows were singed and we could smell it in the air when we arrived
Jim McDougal
Beef farmer

The beef farmer said: "It is a shocking thing to see. I felt numbness, it was unbelievable.

"They were all either sitting or lying where they had fallen in a regimented row. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

"The bullocks were singed and we could smell it in the air when we arrived.

"I am very upset, but it was a freak act of nature so there was nothing I could do about it."

His wife Elizabeth said: "Jim could not believe the carnage he saw.

"A man down the road saw a bullock being struck by lightning and then the vet thinks it conducted the lightning to the other bullocks as they were standing in the same puddle under a tree."

A vet from Haddington took blood samples and confirmed that the 18-month-old bullocks had died from a lightning strike.

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