Northern Ireland

Ballycrune farm cleared of cruelty to stag

A County Down farm has been cleared of animal cruelty involving a stag.

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recorded the stag being brought from Ballycrune farm to a location near Katesbridge last year.

It was held in a trailer and shed for several days in March 2013, before being released into the path of a hunt.

A judge said he had "deep suspicions" about why the stag had been brought to the hunt, but was not satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, the animal suffered.

He said that a deer released in these circumstances was a protected animal in the legal sense and paid tribute to the USPCA and the media for highlighting the issue.

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