A sheep farmer who was caught on video abusing sheep has been handed a £550 fine following a Scottish SPCA investigation.
William Brown, 59, of Herbertshaw Farm in Penicuik admitted to violently punching two male sheep causing unnecessary suffering under Section 19 (1) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Brown was filmed by an undercover PETA animal welfare officer who obtained the position at the farm to ensure welfare standards were met. The footage was then handed to the Scottish SPCA.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Chisholm said, “We were alerted to the incident by PETA who passed on the video of Brown striking the animals.
“We’re pleased Brown has admitted the offence.
“This is a serious case of animal cruelty by an experienced farmer. He will be fully aware that sheep experience fear and can perceive humans as a threat.
“Violently lashing out at the sheep will spread fear amongst the rest of the flock.
“We would expect anyone involved in the rearing of livestock for commercial purposes to have the highest standards of welfare and treatment.
“We are disappointed that Brown wasn’t banned from owning or working with animals but we hope this will serve as a warning that this behaviour is unacceptable and we will fully investigate any reports of cruelty towards livestock.
“We are grateful to the support and assistance provided by APHA in an example of partnership working.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss welfare practice with the wider industry.”