Officers in the town of Unna were alerted early in morning that the bovine rebels had broken out of their farmyard pen and had come dangerously close to the A1 motorway.
“They were out of control and came as close as 100 metres from the autobahn,” a police spokesperson said. “It's like with people, when that first bit of adrenaline goes out, when they've become wild, it's difficult to calm them again.”
Veterinarians and hunters were unable to corral the skittish cows, meanwhile police efforts were also unsuccessful.
The wild beasts roamed the area in the dark for more than four hours, resisting even the last ditch effort to lure them back home with another, happier cow.
Police said they had only one choice: using their night-vision equipment to shoot the animals.
“We tried everything,” the police spokesperson said. “But the possibilities were exhausted at some point and the safety of humans simply comes first.”