Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Playing golf In Spain recently, we were hit by a ferocious thunderstorm with flashing lightning.

Whilst we were sheltering under a tree, which was extremely dangerous, I was reminded of all the cows and sheep I have seen struck by lightning and killed.

Farmers can insure for the loss of an animal If it is killed by lightning and therefore the vet is usually called to investigate sudden deaths.

Also sudden deaths have to be investigated to ensure that the death was not due to Anthrax.

The vet can take blood samples from the dead cow, stain the sample with a special dye, examine under a microscope and if the Anthrax bacilli are seen the cow can be incinerated on the spot to avoid any spread as Anthrax can be contagious and fatal to humans.

Sometimes there are very few lesions seen on the cow from a lightning strike so the fact that they are found dead under a tree and there has been a recent thunderstorm, can be the main reasons to suspect that lightning was the cause of death.

Many years ago I was involved in investigating a strange case of lightning strike causing death to a number of dead sheep.

The farmer had found 10 dead sheep in one of his fields and called me out to investigate.

I soon realised that all the dead sheep were situated around a copse of trees and in particular strung out along the side of a fence of metal sheep netting.

All the sheep were individually examined and one particular group had died in a pile and fallen on top of each other.

In order to examine one sheep which was in the bottom of the pile I had to lift up the ones on top.

Suddenly, to the surprise of the farmer and myself, the bottom sheep leapt up and ran off down the field apparently unharmed.

The sheep had been pinned down for many hours, unable to move.

Next time I am involved in a thunderstorm I will never shelter under a tree particularly when I have a bag full of of metal clubs which are a sure attraction to a strike of lightning.