A Yorkshire swan rescue charity has condemned “barbaric” thugs who killed two swans, leaving surviving cygnets clinging to their dead mother.
The Yorkshire Swan & Wildlife Rescue Hospital apologised for posting upsetting images on its Facebook page but said the issue had to be highlighted.
A spokesman for the charity said: “We have been caring for and treating injured swans for a long time now. Over the years, we have seen a terrible amount of deliberate cruelty. And far too often a case comes in that is just incomprehensible and disturbs us greatly.
“We were called out last week with the RSPCA to what was this beautiful family of swans. Both parents of these cygnets have been deliberately killed. On first inspection it appears they’ve been mauled and then shot with air rifles. A further cygnet was also found dead. The surviving cygnets were found cuddled up to their dead mother when we arrived; a sad and tragic sight.
Their injuries are so horrendous - some of the worst we have ever seen - and include broken bones and open wounds. Without doubt, we are certain these birds were made to deliberately suffer before dying.
This crime has been reported to Humberside Police who are now investigating, and our charity is now tasked with caring for these orphan cygnets in the long term.
They say we are a nation of animal lovers; we all too often see evidence to the contrary.”