The incident, that was filmed on camera, has ignited discussions about the ethical limitations of those in charge of commercial livestock rearing.

A Midlothian farmer has been fined after being caught on camera punching two sheep in the face.

William Brown, 59, of Herbertshaw Farm in Penicuik, was filmed by an undercover animal welfare officer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) in July 2018.

He admitted to violently punching two male sheep, causing unnecessary suffering, and was fined £550.

He was sentenced at Jedburgh Sheriff Court after a Scottish SPCA probe.

The charity’s John Chisholm said they were alerted to the incident by Peta, which passed on the video of Brown striking the animals.

“This is a serious case of animal cruelty by an experienced farmer,” Mr Chisholm said. “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.”

He said the charity was disappointed that Brown was not 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,” he added.

Original source: https://www.bbc.com/