An Angus farmer believes one of his cows was accidentally poisoned by a walker feeding it a dangerous plant.
Brian Soutar, who owns the Peasie Hill farm just outside of Arbroath, discovered one of his cattle’s heads had swollen to four times its size and was forced to call the vet.
The 66-year-old, who has urged people to be more careful while taking their lockdown exercise in the countryside, believes it was hand-fed a toxic weed by an unsuspecting member of the public on Sunday.
The farm is home to more than 120 cattle, with each animal worth roughly £1,000.
He said: “The cow’s face was swollen to three or four times what it was before, and it had a big bump on it’s head.
“Obviously, we got the vet up and she said that it looked like it had been poisoned and had a bad reaction to the sun.
“That makes sense, because if it was a plant in the field then why didn’t the same thing happen to the other cows in the field?”
The farmer also had to retrieve seven of his cows after they managed to escape from his field when a gate was left open last night.
He said: “It’s just a worry and a frustration, and people couldn’t care less, it’s very annoying.
“We usually have people up walking, but it’s been a hundred times worse this year.
“I’ve no bother with the public, as long as they behave themselves.”
Brian spent the night herding the escaped cattle back into his field, which caused the farmer and his family a huge amount of stress.
He said the careless act placed his animals at risk, as they could have also been poisoned.
He said: “If they’d gone into the Elliot River or up onto the Dundee Road it would have been a lot harder to get them back.
“They could have also eaten some weeds as well and got poisoned.
“It’s a public safety thing as well.
“We’ve had a huge amount of folk this month, people coming out of lockdown for their exercise.
“Hundreds of folk, people on bikes and with dogs and that.”
While it is not illegal to walk or privately-owned land in Scotland, the countryside code states that those enjoying a walk, hike or cycle should “leave livestock, crops and machinery alone” and “leave all gates as you found them.”
Brian added: “Just be conscious of where you are, and follow the country code.”