A horse has been stoned to death in a vicious attack at Craigavon Lakes in County Armagh Northern Ireland last weekend.

Witnesses saw two men pull the animal into the water on Saturday 16 May before stoning it and leaving it to die in the water.

The killing has been condemned by the Northern Ireland Horse Board (NIHB) which has 3,200 registered horse breeders.

A police diving team raised the horse’s body from the lake just after 6.30pm on Saturday.

Security staff in the area reported the incident to police on Saturday evening after they being contacted by a local woman who had witnessed the savage attack. Police took the horse’s body away for further examination.

NIHB chairman David Kirkpatrick is disgusted with the killing.

“This is unbelievable, we have an obligation to care for our animals,” he said. “In my opinion, anyone undertaking or subscribing to this type of activity must be utterly condemned and should be prosecuted.

“The NIHB is aware that the current recession is having a significant effect on the equestrian industry as has been previously reported with other unsavoury stories, but this one is surely the worst that we have heard of.”

Many coloured horses run loose in the Craigavon area and are believed to be owned by local travellers.

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward. Anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity or has any information is asked to contact Lurgan detectives on 0845 600 8000.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.