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Guard on flocks after rustlers slaughter prized sheep

Date online: 16 December 2013

Raiders using trained dogs have rounded up and butchered valuable pedigree sheep.

More than 100 sheep have been stolen and killed in sophisticated raids by thieves targeting specific farms.

Police and the National Farmers Union (NFU) have launched a Farm Watch scheme to try to combat the spate of thefts in Saddleworth.

Darren Hough, who has a 265-acre farm at Wharmton, Saddleworth, says the attackers have stolen and killed more than 30 of his prized flock.

“They use lurcher crossbreed and pit-bull terriers to grab and hold sheep down. They slaughter them on the spot and pack them into a freezer van. They are destroying my — and other farmers’ — livelihoods.”

PC Mark Clough, with the Saddleworth and Lees Neighbourhood police team, said: “Hill farmers have a proud tradition going back centuries. They must be protected.”

Matthew Gummerson, the NFU’s spokesman, said: “The thieves have targeted the best livestock available and used working dogs to separate them from the rest of the flock, ensuring they get the maximum value from a stolen load.

“We have witnessed sheep with crossbow bolts and arrows lodged in their skulls - a very cruel action and inhumane towards livestock. They often are left to die in terrible agony from their wounds.”

“They have also taken things to the extremes of butchering lambs in the field and loading refrigerated vans.


My husband and I walk our dogs at Dovestone early in the morning and have, on more than one occasion, seen suspicious activity and almost certainly prevented sheep from being stolen. Grown men, usually 3 or more, trying to entice sheep to eat food at 5:30am in the morning is not credible to say the least, particularly whilst having the boot of their car open and facing towards the field. We are vigilant on behalf of the farmer and the sheep and will report any further activity to the police.

This story really saddens me, as a teenager I spent a lot of time on Burnedge Bent farm and learnt almost everything I know about farming from Brian Hough a man I have a great deal of respect for, back in those days our biggest enemy were worriers and that was bad enough now farmers are faced with all manner of thieves from fuel to livestock and machinery it is a sad indication of the world we live in I hope Darren & Brian have better luck from now and the scrotes who did this are caught.

I'm certainly not condoning the actions of the scumbags who slaughtered the sheep, but let's have a reality check here. These creatures were always destined for the abattoir. They were never going to end their days peacefully.

I read this as having little concern for the suffering of the animals but plenty of concern for loss of profit. Only options available would be to keep the sheep closer to the farm or employ a person to patrol the area. Sadly its a sign of the times and will no doubt become a larger problem.

Shaun cant make my mind up whether you're a veggie or a rustler, sheep don't die like this in abattoirs non that I've been in anyway, and Timberwolf it doesn't matter how close you get your flock to the farm you've gotta sleep sometime.

Sheep rustling is nothing new. Whilst sheep roam the open moors, gangs will target them. The Police do not have the manpower to stop this, especially in Saddleworth. The options are few and simple I am afraid. Maybe the farmers could get together and take turns patrolling at night?

Don't be so naive, Orangepeel, YouTube is awash with undercover footage of abuse and cruelty in abattoirs. Google it if you don't believe me.


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