A pedigree bull was killed in an arson attack at a Co Armagh farm on Wednesday night.
Extensive damage was also caused to the shed and machinery on the Armagh Road, just outside Newry.
DUP MLA William Irwin slammed those responsible for the attack on a farmer and his family’s livelihood.
Mr Irwin said the incident has caused great heartache for the family who owned the bull and the shed.
“This was an act of cowardice carried out under the cover of darkness while the owners were away for the evening,” he said.
“Losing the shed and the machinery has caused much upset but to think that thugs would also target a poor defenceless animal in this way is beyond comprehension.
“I know this family very well and they are well respected throughout the area contributing much to the local community.
“A vehicle belonging to the owner, which is used on a daily basis as part of the business, was also badly damaged and will result in a detrimental impact on the livelihood of the owner.
“However, losing the prized bull has caused the greatest distress to the family.”
Mr Irwin added: “This was a despicable attack upon a decent hard working family by the dregs of society and I trust that those involved will be apprehended sooner rather than later.”
Mr Irwin said he has spoken to the PSNI about the incident and has urged anyone who observed anything suspicious in the Armagh Road/Kidd’s Road area on Wednesday night to contact the police immediately.
Four appliances in total; two from Newry, one from Rathfriland and a water tanker from Warrenpoint were called into operation.
A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue spokesperson told Armagh I that the 30x20m shed housed tractors and farm equipment which were damaged in the fire.
The incident was dealt with and concluded at 11.25pm.
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