“I’m really not wimpy, but I have never seen anything like it,” said Simone Häusler, an assistant veterinarian in the rescue operation, to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD).
“We have pulled out many dead new born animals and now we have cows screaming for their calves. I have never seen anything like it in my life.”
The muck, which Häusler describes as “liquid manure, 60-70 centimetres high”, claimed the lives of almost half of the hundred strong herd.
The discovery was made after animal protection officers from the Dalarna County noticed that the cows had not been released into the pastures.
A team of vets, police and animal welfare officers arrived at the farm to discover 37 dead cows which had become stuck in manure and drowned.
Another 70 were still stuck, yet alive, and had to be released, however eight had to be put down in the process.
A further three cows were later found dead and hidden behind the barn, raising suspicions with authorities that the farmer had been aware of what was happening in the barn but tried to hide it.
The 48-year-old farmer, who helped save the animals from the muck, explained that a well-pump had broken, causing the manure to flood back inside the barn, wrote the paper.
The farmer allegedly was overworked and hadn’t found time to fix the pump that usually clears the barn of manure.
While he maintains that he was still constantly feeding the animals, he left them to wallow in their own excrement, probably for a considerable time, according to the rescue team.
“This has likely been going on for several weeks,” Häusler told SvD.
“It’s hard to put an exact time frame on it from the farmer. But even those cows that survived are in really bad shape; they have no hair left and have eye inflammation.”
The cows who survived the ordeal are now under police protection, and have been removed from the farm, while all the deceased cows will be sent to a medical examiner for autopsies.