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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Lambs ‘butchered’ in field by meat thieves

By Ian DunstanFARMERS have warned against buying meat from an unreputable source after lambs were “butchered” in a South Copeland field.

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Two lamb carcasses were found alongside a third which was barely alive, by a devastated Ravenglass farmer.

Julia Watson, who owns the sheep, says she is furious with the “lowlifes” who slaughtered the animals.

Her husband Barry found the carcasses in the field, near to their Main Street home, early last Friday.

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.

“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.

“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.”

Fellow Ravenglass farmer, and former NFU national livestock chairman, Alistair Mackintosh, said South Copeland farmers must remain vigilant, in light of the attack.

He said: “For the individual farmer concerned, that’s his livelihood.

“He’s spent a lot of time breeding those animals and to have them callously slaughtered in the field, for somebody to make some profit from, is quite disturbing.

“The amount of profit they’re going to make is not a lot. It’s like poaching salmon; it’s just a quick buck, that’s all it is.

“We’ll all try and do our part and we have to remain vigilant.”

South Lakes farmer Trevor Wilson said buyers should be wary of buying meat from an illegitimate source as it may carry a health risk.

He said: “When they go in to a field, someone who is opportune like that, they’re taking a risk.

“For all they know the lambs could have been given medicine the day before.

“There’s a retention and withdrawal period and after that time it can be fit for human use.

“I would advise people to be very, very careful of that.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Cumbria police on 101.

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