Footage shows Midlothian wool farmer punching sheep in the face as he shouts 'come on you f***ing b****rd'

The farmer plead guilty to animal abuse and was fined.

Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 4:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 8:02 pm

A Midlothian wool farmer who was caught on camera punching a sheep in the face has pled guilty to animal abuse.

William Martin Brown's treatment of the defenceless animals led to criminal charges after a formal complaint was lodged by animal rights charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

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Video footage shows the man punching and kicking the sheep at a farm near Midlothian. Pic: SSPCA

The horrific video, taken by an undercover PETA activist, showed Brown beating and kicking sheep at Herbertshaw Farm, Howgate, near Penicuik, in 2018. The footage was then handed to the Scottish SPCA.

In the video, Brown can also be heard shouting "Come on ya f*****g c**t" and "f*****g b******s" at the frightened animals.

The 59-year-old pleaded guilty at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday to causing two sheep unnecessary suffering by repeatedly punching and kicking them. Sheriff Duguid then handed Brown a £550 fine.

'Serious case of animal cruelty'

William Brown pleaded guilty to animal abuse at the farm near Penicuik. Pic: SSPCA

Jason Baker, PETA senior vice president of international campaigns, said: "While today was a victory for animals, this kind of abuse occurs every single day in the wool industry.

"When it comes to wool, the only truly animal-friendly choice shoppers can make is to refuse to buy or wear it."

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 would welcome the opportunity to discuss welfare practice with the wider industry."

It is believed to be the first time a Scottish wool farmer has made a guilty plea after being caught being cruel to sheep.

Footage from other farms in Scotland in England

Footage also emerged in November 2018 after PETA released two videos of shocking abuse to sheep across 49 farms in Scotland and England.

The 18-minute footage showed the horrifying abuse of sheep and lambs - with many having to have cuts stitched up after shearing and others left to die.

PETA also claimed the animals weren't provided with any veterinary care, and sheep with cuts weren't administered anaesthetic before being given stitches.

It was also revealed some sheep had mastitis, a painful infection of the udder.