Where's the beef? Rustlers stole it your majesty

Wed Jun 3, 2009 11:52am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Cattle rustlers stole prized cows and bulls from an English country estate of Queen Elizabeth that were being fattened up for the royal dining table.

Tony Barratt, the farmer in charge of some 300 livestock on the British queen's Sandringham estate in southeastern England, told Reuters on Wednesday that police were investigating the disappearance of the cattle over the last week and said they had probably been illegally slaughtered by now.

"Initially we thought the cows had escaped, but we soon noticed there were none of the telltale tracks that cows leave," Barratt said by telephone.

The 19 beasts -- including two young bulls which had been selected as the "best of the herd" -- were kept at Sandringham in Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London.

Barratt, who is one of eight tenant farmers renting sections of land on the royal estate, said that nothing like this had ever happened before.

"It makes me so angry because this is beef which is enjoyed by the queen herself," Barratt said.

(Reporting by Josie Cox, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>The Queen watches the first race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meeting in Gloucestershire, in this file photo from March 13, 2009. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>