Common cattle hit by graffiti vandals

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 January 2017

'Vandals' graffiti a cattle feeder at Squabmoor Farm

'Vandals' graffiti a cattle feeder at Squabmoor Farm

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Mindless vandals sprayed graffiti on a live animal on a farm near Exmouth.

A highland bullock spray paintedA highland bullock spray painted

Cattle grazing Squabmoor Farm, Lympstone Common, were recently targeted overnight, sparking anger and upset from farmer John Garratt.

Mr Garratt, who discovered the bullock covered in a spray paint graffiti ‘tag’, claims the vandals’ actions caused one of his cows to abort her calf through stress.

The discovery came after Mr Garratt, who owns the land where the animals graze, was checking on the pedigree Highland cattle when he spotted a bullock had been daubed in white paint.

The farmer said he was ‘heartbroken’ to find one of the pregnant cows had miscarried; Mr Garratt believes stress caused to the herd by the vandals was to blame.

“It was very upsetting – I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was seeing things when I saw the paint on the bullock,” said Mr Garratt.

“I just don’t understand. We’ve had our gates damaged before but nothing like this. It was quite unnecessary and I don’t know what they are trying to achieve.”

A metal forage holder used by the cattle, and a wall close by, were also sprayed with tags. The letters NKS can be seen sprayed on the side of the feed container.

Mr Garratt first introduced the cattle on to the common in 2013. There are currently nine Highland cattle grazing the land.

The farmer said the cattle were ‘beautiful, docile, animals’, whose job was to ‘help’ maintain the common’s rich habitat, through grazing.

A National Farmers’ Union spokesman said: “This incident was clearly very upsetting for all concerned and we would urge anyone who has any information about who might have been responsible to contact the police.

“Fortunately, this kind of attack is quite rare, but to behave in such a way towards animals is inexcusable and hopefully the culprits will soon be brought to book.”

Police and RSPCA have been notified of the attack but there were no witnesses.

Similar attacks have been described in the past as ‘animal mutilation’.

A spokesman for RSPCA said: “Reports of livestock being targeted are concerning and we encourage the owner of the animals to contact us to report this to us by calling 0300 1234 999.”

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