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Lambs' ears cut off in brutal farm attack

One of the lambs that had its ear cut off in an attack at Battleford Road, Co Armagh. Picture by Ann McManus
Andrea McKernon

This is the shocking image of a four-month-old lamb that suffered an horrific death after its ear was cut off.

Co Armagh farmer Roberta McMullan said she was shocked and appalled at the brutal case of animal cruelty, which police have said "beggars belief".

Ms McMullan, who lives on the Battleford Road near Benburb said she had no idea why anyone would want to harm her pedigree Suffolk lambs after two almost identical attacks a week apart.

The right ears of both lambs, who typically have black heads and ears, were sliced off in the sickening attacks that left the animals dying in the field.

“They were cut right down to the butt and right into their faces,” said Ms McMullan, who lives with her elderly mother and father on the farm.

“Last Saturday morning, I went out and found a lamb in my field with an ear missing and I thought it had been got by another animal and didn't think much more of it.

“Then on Saturday morning I found another lamb with the ear missing, which was exactly the same as the week before.

“I brought the lamb to the vet who did a post-morten and said all the organs were fine, but the ear had been cut off and the lamb had died from cardiac arrest.”

Ms McMullan, who is in her fifties, said the vet's news left her in a deep state of shock and she has no idea why her lambs would be the target of such a attack.

“I'm still today in shock. I can't understand how anyone would want to do that to an animal. It's hard to get my head around it.

"I had lambed these and had been looking after them since then. They were born in January. The ewes were in the field with them when it happened.

“I have 40 ewes and my father who is 88 is finding it hard to understand all of this.”

News of the attack, which was posted on the Armagh PSNI Facebook site, sparked a deluge of outrage.

One woman said: “Horrible people, so sick. Defenceless little animals at the mercy of cruel hands. Disgusting, absolutely disgusting.”

Another person labelled those responsible as thugs.

“How could anyone do this to poor wee defenceless lambs. Awful to think the agonising death they suffered at the hands of sick, inhumane individuals. Hope they catch these heartless thugs.”

Police said they had increased patrols in the area and appealed for information.

"Someone out their knows who is behind their act of animal cruelty," a spokesman said.

Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin also took to Twitter yesterday to give his reaction.

“Appalling case of animal cruelty in Armagh. Beggars belief how anyone can do this. Please help us catch who did it.”

SDLP councillor Mealla Campbell also spoke of her disgust at the "sadistic" attack.

“This is a heinous act and has been very disturbing for the farmer involved and indeed the whole community. Local people are aghast and are rightly condemning the incident.”

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