WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
A CELEBRITY TV farmer has shared a shocking image of one his sheep which he claims was savaged by a badger.
Martin Irvine, who appeared on BBC documentary This Farming Life this year, shared the gruesome photo on Facebook on Tuesday.
The heartbreaking image shows a ewe, believed to be pregnant, lying on the grass, with flesh missing from her bloodied rear end.
The Scot, who looks after hundreds of breeding sheep on a rented estate in Drummuir, near Keith, Moray, also made fresh calls to be able to “control” the “destructive vermin.”
On Tuesday, he wrote: “Badgers decided to have this ewe for Christmas dinner, she’s still alive for now.
“About time we were allowed to control this destructive vermin!”
He added: “We caught a badger in the act!”
The post has since been shared over one hundred times and attracted a mixed reaction from social media users.
Fellow Farmer, John James wrote: “There are far more badgers around here than foxes. Protected status should be removed.
“It will improve the health of the badger population and eventually save the tax payer money.
Jennifer Milton wrote: “We had badgers take our lambs a few years ago,must of lost about 20 over about a week. By the end the body was intact, just the head and neck gone.
“Also had similar to yourself, they ate the udder off the ewe and she was still alive when we found her.”
Eleanor Lancaster said: “We recently had a badger have a ewe lambs back feet off! Caught on CCTV otherwise I wouldn’t have believed it!”
Martin’s mother, Denise Irvine wrote: “One loss is bad enough but this ewe would have been in lamb – who needs protecting?”
And Neil Shearer wrote: “That’s shocking! A protected predator, is a f****** joke.”
However some have questioned that the attack was by a badger.
Gareth Rees said: “It’s not the badgers that need controlling it’s the numpties who think that they should be protected.
“Pity the cameras weren’t at your place now. But it would be edited out because the lovable badger wouldn’t do such a dastardly deed.”
Lyle Smith wrote: “The badger has every right to be on this planet.
“You choose to farm on the land but this should not be at the expense of what has evolved over millions of years to live here.
“If you choose to farm you need to do it alongside what deserves to be there.”
And Mitch Hunter said: “Badgers didn’t do that you moron.”
Along with his parents Stephen and Denise, Darren and wife Melissa look after 80 breeding Limousins and 280 mule ewes on a 97ha rented estate at Drummuir, near Keith, Moray, Scotland
They also look after 600 ewes for the laird.
Badgers live in large family groups in a burrow system known as a sett.
They are known to feed on earthworms, small mammals, birds eggs, fruit and roots and bulbs.
Their strong front paws are well-suited to digging out burrows and cubs are born around January and February.
They spend their first few months living underground – usually only emerging in the spring.
They are fully protected in the UK by the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.