A farmer has spoken of her fury at the agonising death of a cow which escaped through an open gate and became ensnared in a fence.
Laura Arbuckle found the suckling mother dead after realising cattle were missing from their field at Lower Luthrie Farm.
It appeared the cow, which had tried to jump a fence and got its hoof caught, had been flailing in pain for several hours before it died, she said.
She said that someone had opened a bolt and chain on a gate allowing five cows to break free from the field at Luthrie, near Cupar.
Four others were found in a nearby woodland bleeding from minor wounds and in a distressed state.
Laura said: “The death of this four-year-old valuable breeding cow was completely avoidable.
“It was obvious the cow had died in a slow, agonising and distressing manner.
“Marks on the ground show she had been flailing and struggling.”
Laura said she believed the gate had been opened maliciously and that padlocks had been snipped in the past.
She said the animal’s death was “deeply upsetting”.
“I work long hard hours looking after my cattle to the highest of welfare standards,” she added.
“The cow was suckling a young calf so this has resulted in a motherless calf.
“There is also the financial implication to our business.
“This young home bred cow was worth £1,500 and we have had to pay about £100 for her to be uplifted by the knackery for incineration.
“Whether or not this was a malicious act it definitely illustrates the implications of not showing a responsible attitude and respect for farming businesses when enjoying the countryside.
“A lot of other farmers have had problems with sheep worrying by dogs.
“If this was malicious it’s very difficult to protect ourselves and our livestock from such incidents.”
Police Scotland confirmed that the incident had been reported to the force.