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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Thieves butcher lambs in field

BUTCHERED lambs, stripped of their meat, have been found by a devastated farmer in his Ravenglass field.

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devastation: Farmer Barry Watson in the field where some of his sheep were killed and butchered at Ravenglass

Two dead lambs were dismembered, leaving only their carcasses. A third lamb was found barely alive and a fourth, which had been shot in the ear, has survived.

Julia Watson, who owns the sheep, says she is furious with the “lowlifes” who butchered the animals – and she warned that the stolen meat is unfit for human consumption because the sheep were recently given a routine treatment for worms and scab, a contagious parasitic disease.

She said: “People who might be tempted buy cheap meat from unknown sources should know that it could be contaminated with animal medicines or chemicals that make it unfit for human consumption.”

Mrs Watson says her husband Barry found the carcasses in the field, near to their Main Street home, early last Friday after a walker spotted the dead sheep.

She said: “He found two dead lambs and a third lamb dying from a neck wound – it died shortly after. Another lamb had been wounded in the ear, a very lucky escape.

“The dead lambs had been shot and butchered in the field, in the mud, and the meat taken, leaving only their skin and bones.

“Barry couldn’t believe it. He said it looked as if professionals had butchered the lambs as the meat had been taken off in neat cuts. This happened in a quiet village where the field is part of it, near a footpath often used by locals for walking their dogs. These terrible people were probably disturbed, which is possibly why the third lamb wasn’t butchered, although it does make me wonder if they even made sure the lambs were dead before they started cutting them up.”

She added: “I am furious. We just don’t know why anyone would do that. We have heard about sheep being stolen, but I’ve never heard of sheep being butchered in a field. I think whoever has done it has used a rifle and silencer.”

She said the attackers might have killed the sheep on site as the animals weigh around 30kg each and would be difficult to move.

Ennerdale farmer Will Rawling said: “It’s possible that people are short of cash, so they are butchering sheep to sell the meat.

“It’s a nasty form of theft. There are still cases of sheep rustling – it’s unusual to have sheep slaughtered on site but it has been known to happen.”

He said: “As farmers we ensure that livestock that has had recent veterinary treatment is not put into the food chain. These people have taken the meat without knowing at what stage of the withdrawal process the sheep are in.”

Carl Hudspith, of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “In terms of this case, we would urge anyone with information to go to the police. When animals are stolen or killed in this horrific way there is a financial burden on the farmers but there is a real human loss caring about the animals and their welfare.

“A lot of farmers in the Copeland area produce livestock and are committed to ensuring a high standard of welfare for animals.

“This case raises questions about the traceability of meat. We urge people to buy meat from reputable butchers or farm shops, and also look out for the red tractor logo on products, which is a guarantee of quality and origin.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Police investigations are ongoing. We take these matters very seriously as they are distressing to all members involved, whether it be the owners of the animals or the members of the public who find the animals.

“We urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact us immediately.”

Police are urging farmers to join the Farm Watch Scheme. For more details, go to: www.cumbria.police.uk. To report any information, contact police on 101.

Have your say

Manchester Evening News carried a story yesterday where a farmer had discovered someone had cut the legs off his lambs while they were still alive. The person responsible had done it in a manner suggesting they were trained in butchery. Disgusted that someone would stoop so low to make a quick buck. Farmers have had it tough enough in recent years

Posted by Expat on 15 November 2012 at 19:13

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