A cow has been spotted being transported in the back of a Volkswagen Passat on a South Wales motorway, prompting a police investigation.

South Wales Police said they were looking into any possible offences relating to either motoring infringements or animal welfare.

Images posted to social media appear to show a young cow crammed into the rear window shelf of a light blue car. The incident is thought to have taken place on Friday evening.

One photograph shows the car travelling east past Junction 42.

Exactly why the farm animal was being transported in this way is unclear.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "This is a completely unacceptable way to transport a large, farm animal.

"This represents an animal welfare concern but also a risk to the safety of the driver and other road users.

"We would strongly urge people never to transport an animal like this."


What penalties could the driver face?

It is illegal in the UK to overload a car, with fines of up to £300 and three penalty points for offenders.

Overloading a vehicle can put excessive pressure on tyres and can impact both handling and braking, which in turn can make it more difficult to stop in sufficient time.

It is not yet clear what, if any, animal welfare offences may have taken place. However, the website states: “Farmers have a legal responsibility to ensure their animals are transported in a way that won’t cause injury or unnecessary suffering to them.”

“European law that governs the welfare of animals during transport applies to anyone who transports live, vertebrate animals in connection with ‘economic activity’ - ie a business or trade.”