THE slaughter of more than 30 cows was in the best interests of the animals, says Wrexham Council.

Residents have criticised the decision to shoot a herd of Friesian cows after they were found wandering around Chirk in the early hours of Friday, but officers believe it was a necessary “humane destruction”.

A council spokesman said: “Wrexham Council’s trading standards officers, North Wales Police and animal health were involved in an animal welfare issue on Friday, March 11, which resulted in the humane destruction of a number of cattle at Ley Farm in Chirk under Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

“The animals were removed for disposal early on Saturday morning.”

Andy Lewis, chief housing and public protection officer, said: “The operation was carried out to prevent further suffering and distress to the cattle. The public were excluded from the area.

“The decision on the location and the timing of the cull was agreed following risk assessment and in the interest of public safety.

“The incident may result in court action being taken against the owner of the animals and no further comment can be made.”

Residents have questioned whether the action was strictly necessary and say the council should have done more to protect those who witnessed the slaughter.

One resident said: “The poor animals should have been moved to fields away from the children and the hospital before being shot. And the fact the animals were left dead in the field overnight is appalling.”.

Town council clerk Sam Hughes said: “I’m surprised by how this has been dealt with. It would have been better if the animals had been taken to the farm buildings so the killing wasn’t done in view of people.

“I think they should have taken more care to protect the public but I can’t believe they would have slaughtered them if they were not in bad health.”

A spokesman for North Wales Police reiterated that officers were only involved in the incident to maintain public order and ensure there was no disruption to nearby traffic.