Category Archives: Farm animals

Ballymena, County Antrim: Michael Agnew

#TheList Michael Agnew, aged 47, formerly of Ballynease Road,  Portglenone, Ballymena BT44 8NU and now said to be living in Garvagh, County Londonderry  – for causing unnecessary suffering to two pigs

Agnew has 159 previous criminal convictions, 19 of which are for animal welfare offences. He had  previously been banned from keeping livestock in May 2014.

Photograph produced in previous prosecution case against cruel farmer Michael Agnew
Photograph produced in previous prosecution case against cruel farmer Michael Agnew

Prosecution barrister Catherine Chasemore told the court officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) carried out an inspection at Agnew’s farm on 6 October 2015.

She said two sows “were described as being particularly thin.”

One had “a large mammary abscess which had burst and the other had a spinal abscess,” she said.

A DARD vet told Agnew the animals were suffering unnecessarily and the only humane option was to euthanise the sows.

“The defendant strenuously objected to this and insisted that his own vet was called for a second opinion,” the prosecution barrister added.

“This was done and she agreed that the sows be euthanised, which the defendant then agreed to.

“The defendant was invited to be interviewed on two occasions but failed to give an account”, Ms Chasemore said

She told the court Agnew’s previous convictions included failing to dispose of the animal carcasses of three sheep, one donkey, one horse and two cows and allowing live animals to access the carcasses.

On one occasion in December 2012 officials found numerous dead animals on Agnew’s farm, she said.

A defence barrister said Agnew, a father of six children, was terrified of going to jail.

He had separated from his partner and only now only called at the Portglenone farm to collect or drop off his children, the barrister said.

“This was not a case of widespread neglect, it involved two sows. His record in terms of animal welfare is atrocious but this offending did not involve flocks nor herds”, the barrister added.

The lifetime ban prohibits Agnew from ever owning, keeping, transporting or dealing with animals.

Sentencing at Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday 23/10/2018, Judge Philip Babington said Agnew “should be kept miles away from every living creature.”

“Any animal seeing this man coming over the horizon would have a heart attack,” the judge said.

He said he felt Agnew should go to prison but that it would be detrimental to his children to impose a custodial sentence.

“Your former partner and your children still live on the farm and you want to have contact with your six children.

“But if you every have any have any contact with animals again you will be going straight to prison”, he told Agnew.

Judge Babington also ordered the removal of any animals currently owned by Agnew.

Sentencing:
18 months in prison, suspended for four years. Banned from keeping animals for life.

BBC News

Bradworthy, Devon: Rebecca J Tucker and Luke J Morley

#TheList Rebecca J Tucker, aged 46, of Bradworthy, Devon, and Luke J Morley, aged 37, who’s now moved back to his home town of Leicester – ran a small holding in Bradworthy where horses, cattle and pigs were kept in squalid conditions without food and water

Tucker and Morley, who previously lived together at Boards Court, Bideford,  pleaded guilty to a range of charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

Trading Standards Officers, Animal and Plant Health Agency vets and RSPCA inspectors were called to the pair’s premises at various times during December 2017 and January 2018 and found animals being kept in poor conditions and a state of neglect.

On one occasion a vet found 14 cattle in a newly built shed with no dry lying or bedding or food. There was also a small area adjacent where pigs were housed, and they had no access to water.

On another day a vet arrived at the farm mid-morning to find the animals had not yet received any attention such as food and water that day.

When Trading Standards Officers visited they found 11 horses in a field with no suitable dry area for them to lie down in and they had no supplementary food.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

There was also a collapsed five bar gate, collapsed fencing and collapsing netting in the field posing dangers of sharp metal edges and nails and an amount of plastic and burnt rubbish in the area.

Some of the horses were in such a bad state, that the pair were found to have caused them “unnecessary suffering” and so the RSPCA took possession of them.

Rebecca Tucker and Luke Morley from Devon pleaded guilty to causing animals to suffer

During the hot sunny period in May vets were concerned about the lack of food, water and adequate shelter for the pigs – sunburn is a significant problem for pigs.

Trading Standards Officers returned to monitor the welfare of the animals and found further issues concerning diet, water and environment and reported their findings and subsequent advice to Tucker and Morley both verbally and in writing.

A further visit in June found eight pigs with a lack of dry bedding and a Belgian blue calf suffering from hair loss, scabs and a significant untreated lice infestation.

Despite repeated advice and intervention, Tucker and Morley made only temporary improvements, if any, in caring for their animals.

At the time of the offences it is understood that Tucker was the owner of the farming business and employed Morley to feed and care for the animals.

The Judge commented that Tucker “shirked responsibility” and put blame of the animals’ state on Morley, even though extensive advice had been provided to both by the inspectors.

Sentencing: 
Tucker – 17 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 180 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £390. 

Morley – 12 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 120 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £240.

Both – banned from keeping animals for ten years (expires October 2028).

DevonLive
BBC News

Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk: Matthew Lowe

#TheList Matthew Lowe, born 26/03/1979, previously of Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk and more recently 4 Gantry Close, Colchester CO1 2ZP – prosecuted for eight offences for neglect of poultry, pigs and rabbits on his smallholding.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards at Suffolk County Council, said inspectors had attended Lowe’s smallholding at land off the Street in Assington, Suffolk, on December 19, 2017 after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour.

The pigs and poultry present on the site were found with no food and inadequate shelter. Piglets were in an unsuitable rearing environment, sows were underweight, and both pigs and poultry had parasites present.  Lowe also failed to correctly register to keep pigs.

Mr Pearson described four rabbits which were in such poor health they had to be euthanised.

He said officers found a one large white rabbit lying on its side in an enclosure suffering from breathing problems.

One of the rabbits found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury. The rabbit was later put down Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS

A brown rabbit was discovered with swollen eyes and symptoms of myxomatosis while a second white rabbit was found with a badly injured back leg which had set at an angle, affecting the animal’s movement.

A fourth rabbit was discovered unresponsive with a sore ‘the size of a 50p piece’ on its back.

He added there were signs that rats had infested the rabbit enclosures and that officers also discovered a rubbish bin with four rabbit carcasses inside.

Following the prosecution, Suffolk Trading Standards are now working with Lowe to arrange the safe rehoming of the animals which he owns.

Sentencing:
Lowe was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 25 day’s rehabilitation activity requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work, costs of £4,899 and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping any farmed animal for five years (expires October 2023).

Suffolk County Council
East Anglian Daily Times

 

Delabole, Cornwall: Rodney Pascoe

#TheList farmer Rodney Pascoe, aged 65, of Kylles, Vetham, Delabole, Cornwall PL33 9BZ whose cows were found emaciated and “drowning in muck”

Cattle 'drowning in muck' in Cornish farmer's care
Rodney Pascoe’s cattle were found ‘drowning in muck’ at his farm in Delabole, Cornwall

Farmer Rodney Pascoe pleaded guilty to 10 charges of animal cruelty.

A complaint about Pascoe was received by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 16 February 2018.

He was then charged following a joint investigation between APHA, Rural Payments Agency and Cornwall Council.

Cornwall Council said the animals were found in an “awful condition” and in many cases were close to death.

The authority said five cattle remained on the farm from the 22 cattle and 10 sheep that were found.

It said the others were either sold, slaughtered or put down.

Pascoe has until 1 November to get rid of the five remaining cattle or they will be removed at his cost, the council added.

Sentencing:
16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. Costs of £4,926. Banned for life from keeping or owning farmed animals, including horses and poultry.

BBC News

 

Weymouth, Dorset: Richard Thomas Hansford

#TheList Richard Thomas Hansford, aged 67, of 70 Mount Skippet Way, Dorchester DT2 8TP – caused suffering to chickens and pigs he kept on a smallholding

Dorset smallholder Richard Thomas Hansford neglected chickens and pigs

Hansford pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

The offences related to four chickens kept on a small patch of land at Lewell near Dorchester.

In February 2017, Dorset County Council’s trading standards service received a complaint about Hansford’s chickens and visited the land he kept them on just outside Dorchester.

They found the chickens in a large, muddy pen with no coop or place that the chickens could be protected from predators or the weather.

At the time of the visit the weather was bitterly cold which meant that any water left out for them was frozen.

The available water was not clean as all the containers had green algae growing in them.

The court heard that Hansford had received numerous visits and advice on how to care for his animals over a ten-year period but had continued to ignore this.

In January 2017 Hansford had signed a formal caution for almost identical charges relating to pigs he also kept on the land.

In mitigation, Hansford stated that he had been a gamekeeper for 19 years and had done his best to look after his animals.

He told the court he had suffered from depression for several years.

Sentencing him, the chair of the Magistrates said that Mr Hansford had caused distress to the animals for a significant period and that this was compounded by not adhering to the advice given to him by Trading Standards.

Sentencing:
Ordered to pay £530. Banned from keeping poultry and pigs for 10 years 

Wessex FM

Penton, Carlisle: Daniel William Waring

#TheList Farmer Daniel William Waring, aged 48, of Haithwaite Farm, Penton, Carlisle – left hundreds of sheep to die through starvation and neglect.

Farmer Daniel William Waring from Carlisle left hundreds of sheep to suffer and die
Over 640 sheep died in one year of starvation and neglect on Haithwaite Farm, Carlisle

Waring pleaded guilty to numerous animal welfare and disease control offences at Carlisle Magistrates Court on Tuesday 28/8/18.

In just one year over 640 of  Waring’s sheep died due to starvation and neglect.

Councillor Celia Tibble, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, said: “This was a long and complex investigation which has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

“We support the farming community but where poor practice and unnecessary suffering are discovered we will intervene and take action.

“These animals were kept in terrible conditions, animal cruelty will not be tolerated.

“Laws are there for a reason, to control disease, to protect animals and to ensure the safety of the wider food chain.”

Sentence: 121-day prison sentence, suspended for twelve months; 110 days of unpaid work; costs of £17,783.
7-year ban on keeping animals (expires August 2025)

ITV News

Olveston, Bristol: Sue Smith, Mark Downes, Georgina Blizzard Smith

#TheList Sue Smith and daughter Georgina ‘Gina Louise’ Blizzard Smith, both of Ingst Manor Farm, Ingst Hill, Olveston, Bristol BS35 4AP and Smith’s employee Mark Downes of Pilning, Bristol  – convicted of a catalogue of shocking offences of animal welfare involving horses, cattle, goats,  pigs, chickens and dogs.

Farmer Sue Smith and daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith both of Ingst Manor Far, Olveston, Bristol and some of the scenes of horror that met the RSPCA
Farmer Sue Smith and daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith both of Ingst Manor Farm, Olveston, Bristol and some of the scenes of horror that met the RSPCA

The RSPCA said the scenes they discovered at Ingst Manor Farm will ‘stick in the minds’ of all the inspectors who found hundreds of dead and dying animals at the farm, with dead horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and cattle lying around, being eaten by other animals.

The carcasses of 87 dead sheep were found, nine cattle, two pigs, two goats and there were so many dead chickens and poultry that the RSPCA could not count them all,

The animals that were still alive were waist deep in faeces and decomposing bodies.

A decomposing horse was found wrapped in plastic, with another dead horse discovered attached to the rear of a vehicle with a rope tied around its neck.

Officers saw thin horses walking through thick, deep mud that was up to their knees in some places, surrounded by scrap metal, barbed wire, broken fencing and a bonfire containing animal bones.

Further horror awaited the inspectors in a muddy barn. It was filled with sick and starving sheep, cows and pigs, who were all trying to survive living on top of the piles of dead animals.

In one heartbreaking scene, those going into the farm found lambs alive, lying on the bodies of their mothers, mud six inches deep covering the decaying bodies of other animals, and goats that had starved to death.

The inspectors had to undertake a disposal operation of animal carcasses on a scale not seen since the Foot and Mouth crisis 17 years ago.

RSPCA inspectors visited the farm in March 2015 after concerns were raised and on arrival were met with scenes of appalling suffering.

On further visits to the farm, RSPCA inspectors also found more animals in need of help.

There were piles of carcasses throughout the barn amongst the live sheep and dogs kept in small, faeces-filled cages without food or water. They carried out numerous initial visits throughout that summer of 2015 to clear the dead animals and rescue the survivors.

When they returned in April 2016 to check up, they discovered instead of things getting better over the winter, they had got worse.

They found a number of pigs eating a dead sheep, with other pigs in a pig pen eating a dead pig.

Susan Smith (b. circa 1958) was found guilty of a total of 36 individual charges. She was convicted of ten separate charges relating to not disposing of the bodies of dead animals properly, and another 26 ranging from animal cruelty and neglect through to not registering births or using unlicensed feed.

Smith’s employee Mark Downs, (b. circa 1968), from Blands Row in nearby Pilning, was convicted of 22 separate charges relating to animal cruelty, neglect and failure to dispose of bodies.

Smith’s daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith (born 20/12/1996) was found guilty of two offences relating to two dogs at the farm in April 2016. was also found guilty of two charges of failing to take steps to ensure the needs of two dogs, Angel a golden Labrador, and Savannah, a Border Collie, and causing unnecessary suffering to the collie.

Sentencing:

Sue Smith (August 2018): not concluded pending the outcome of an appeal

Georgina Blizzard-Smith (June 2018): deprived of ownership;  £500 in costs and £306 in compensation.

Mark Downes:  32 week in prison; £1,000 in costs; banned from keeping farm animals – pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cattle – for life.

Newslinks:
Bristol Live 14/6/18
Bristol Live 21/6/18
Bristol Live 23/8/18

In 2002 Sue Smith was banned from keeping horses for life alongside then partner and father to her offspring, Brian Blizzard.

Recent photograph of horse killer Brian Blizzard, who still lives in Bristol
Recent photograph of horse killer Brian Blizzard, who still lives in Bristol

The pair had pleaded guilty to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering.

The court heard that RSPCA inspectors first visited Ingst Manor Farm in February 2001.

RSPCA officers described the conditions of the fields at the farm as: “similar to a rice paddy.”

The court was also played video evidence,which was described by the judge as “horrific”. It showed several dead horses lying in muddy fields with waterlogged ditches.

A chestnut mare was found dead in the field, covered in plastic bags. A post mortem revealed she had died of multiple bone fractures, weakened by starvation.

A foal, which later died, was found collapsed and so emaciated that its bones stuck out.

The defence told the court that Smith thought the animals had died after being given food containing ragwort.

Horse & Hound

Dunstable, Bedfordshire: Michael Thorne, Rosebury pig farm

#TheList Michael A Thorne of Rosebury Farm, Harling Road, Dunstable where horrific footage shows workers smashing screaming piglets against a wall.

Rosebury Farm has lost its Red Tractor status after undercover footage showed tiny piglets being smashed against a wall
Rosebury Farm. which is owned by Michael Thorne and his family, has lost its Red Tractor status after undercover footage showed tiny piglets being smashed against a wall.

Rosebury Farm supplies major retailers as well as local butchers but has now lost its Red Tractor certification

Horrific footage of farm workers inflicting unimaginable cruelty against helpless piglets has been released by leading animal protection organization Animal Equality.

It shows a worker swinging tiny piglets by a back leg and smashing their head against the wall – one continues to kick for at least 10 seconds. In addition, according to Animal Equality, it features ‘piglets screaming in agony as the tips of their tiny teeth are clipped off without pain relief, terrified pigs being shocked repeatedly with an electric prod to force them onto the slaughter truck, and a tiny piglet frothing at the mouth, having been thrown onto a pile of dead piglets and left for dead hours earlier’.

Veterinary expert Professor Andrew Knight from the University of Winchester’s Centre for Animal Welfare viewed the footage and confirmed that it showed ‘inhumane handling and killing of piglets’ as well as ‘excessive and inappropriate use of an electric prod likely to cause pain and fear’.

Full story Plant Based News

Bagillt, Flintshire: Jane Edwards

#TheList Jane Edwards, aged 47, of Riverbank, Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales CH6 – left emaciated sheep and a pony to die in a snow-covered field.

Smallholder Jane Edwards left sheep and a horse to die in a snowbound field
Smallholder Jane Edwards (pictured) left sheep and a horse to die in a snowbound field

Carcasses of sheep and a Shetland pony were found in a field and two live sheep, one a black-horned ram, were found sheltering in a shed.

Both were extremely thin and there was no sign of hay or feed in the snowbound field.

One had since died in care, while the other has been boarded.

A vet concluded the animals were malnourished through neglect and a post-mortem examination found one of the other dead sheep was suffering from anaemia and had a parasitic infection.

Edwards admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the sheep by failing to provide adequate nutrition and parasitic control.

Sentence: 100 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. A shocking TWO-year ban on keeping animals.

The Press

Camborne, Cornwall: Janet Carter and Trevor Hampton

#TheList Janet Marlene Carter of Newton Moor Farm, Troon, Camborne TR14 9HW and Trevor Alven Hampton of 4 Chapel Court, Edward Street, Camborne TR14 8PA – failed to look after pigs, cattle, horses and birds on their farm

Janet Evelyn Carter and Trevor Alven Hampton pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty offences involving farm animals
Janet Evelyn Carter and Trevor Alven Hampton pleaded guilty to a string of animal cruelty offences involving farm animals

Carter and Hampton were convicted under the Animal Welfare Act after horses, pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle were found living in dirty pens without water and were left exposed to dangerous scrap metal that littered barns and fields.

A miniature Shetland pony was found with overgrown hooves so badly deformed that he had to be put down.

A sheep was so starved of food that he was close to death while ducks were kept locked in complete darkness.

Carter owns Newton Moor Farm and most of the animals, while Hampton stays in a caravan and is responsible for looking after the animals.

An RSPCA inspector was called to a paddock at the farm in March 2017, where a miniature Shetland pony belonging to Carter was found to have severely overgrown hooves.

The inspector described how the pony struggled to get to his feet and had long and misshapen hooves.

The court heard how Carter said at interview that the animal was known informally as ‘the rocking horse’ and said he had “always walked funny”.

Heartless Carter added: “If there’s a problem, we’ll just have it shot and that’s that.”

The pony was released to the RSPCA and a vet discovered the bones in his legs had rotated, causing him extreme pain. Sadly there was no alternative but to euthanise him.

Inspectors visited the farm in April 2017 after a complaint about pigs straying into the road.

New-born piglets were discovered in pig sties shivering without heat lamps. Feeding troughs designed to be hung on a fence were being used, exposing the pigs to sharp hooks, and some sties had no railings to stop the sows accidentally injuring the piglets.

Some of the sows were in dirty conditions while in another barn, the piglets were able to squeeze between railings and mix with the cattle.

Concerns were also raised about the number of cattle, the space provided in a large barn and the mixing of bulls, cows, calves and heifers, which was against good practice.

In another visit, in December 2017, inspectors found collapsed fences and trailing barbed wire, as well as metal panels with exposed sharp edges.

Some free range birds had access to water and fresh bedding while others did not. Four ducks were kept in complete darkness with no ability to swim or bathe their heads.

Inspectors also found a sheep which was so severely emaciated he was almost dead.

Sentencing:
Both Carter and Hampton were banned from keeping horses and poultry for ten years. They must wait at least five years before they can apply to the court to have the ban reviewed.

The judge rejected a ban on pigs, sheep and cattle by acknowledging that the pair make their livelihoods from farming.

Carter was sentenced to 12 weeks in custody on each charge, to run concurrently, suspended for one year. She must also pay £7,000 court costs and £115 victim surcharge.

Hampton was jailed for 10 weeks on each charge, again concurrently, suspended for one year. He too must pay £3,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Cornwall Live