In 2012, about 69,000 sheep were stolen from farms in Britain.
In 2010 and 2011, the costs to British farmers from animal theft increased by 170 percent, according to an insurance company.
Between the three years, a total of $676,000 worth of livestock have been stolen from farms.
The animals are stolen from farmland and then quickly slaughtered, where the meat is then sold on the black market. According to market researchers, the price of lamb have been rising in the past several years, thus creating a profitable crime for thieves. In 2009, a kilogram of lamb sold for $11.05 (£6.77). By 2013, the price has risen to $12.82 (£7.86).
Source: “Rural thefts: On the lamb,” Economist, December 7, 2013.