The Italian fire service filmed the moment it launched a daring helicopter rescue of a stranded cow which had fallen down a gully in the Verona mountains.

A rescue worker from the Vigili del Fuoco‏ was lowered by the chopper down to the cow, which had minor leg injuries, and attached it to a hoist. The helicopter then slowly lifted the animal out of the gully and back up to the safety of the hilltop.

A video of the rescue was posted by the Vigili del Fuoco‏ to its Twitter account.

The Italian cow may have fallen down the gully accidentally. But in nearby Switzerland, cows have been hurling themselves off ridges, leaving farmers baffled.

A herd of 13 cows jumped off a cliff to their deaths after breaking out of their pen near the Valais village of Levron.

They ran towards the cliff edge and either fell or threw themselves off the 50 metres drop. Only one survived, possibly because it landed on the bodies of the others. A predator in the area was speculated to be the cause of the chaos.

"The cows broke through several lines of wire around the pasture before finding themselves on the ridge. They fell into the void, as if they had been driven back," Norbert Terrettaz, president of a farming insurance company in the region, told local paper La Nouvelliste.

In Derbyshire, England, a vegetarian farmer couldn't bring himself to slaughter cows anymore – so he gifted his whole herd of 63 to a sanctuary.

"Cows have good memories and a range of emotions. They form relationships. I've even seen them cry," farmer Jay Wilde, 59, told the BBC. "It was very difficult to do your best to look after them and then send them to the slaughterhouse for what must be a terrifying death."

helicopter cow
The moment the Italian fire service rescued a cow with a helicopter Vigili del Fuoco‏/Twitter