#TheList Margarette Cooper, born c.1938, and son Norman Cooper, born c. 1963, both of Gilfach Chwith, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul, Ceredigion SA44 4JE – convicted of animal cruelty after dozens of cows died in ‘nightmare scenes’ at their farm
An investigation by Ceredigion Council found a total of 84 cattle had died or had been seriously neglected at the farm run by Margarette and Norman Cooper.
On the farm, the carcasses of dead cows were found decaying alongside surviving cattle. Among those that had survived, some had to be put down following examination due to the seriousness of their health and their suffering.
“The animal health officers involved with this case have never experienced such appalling conditions at any farm in their careers,” said Alun Williams, corporate lead officer for policy and performance at Ceredigion Council.
“Most of the staff are from farming backgrounds, but they faced horrific circumstances in investigating and retrieving the live animals and the carcasses.”
Sentencing: both were given six months in jail, suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £2615 each. Norman Cooper was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. Both were disqualified from keeping any animals for 10 years, other than their existing four elderly dogs.
#TheList Marshall Hay, born c. 1940, of Castlehill, Methlick, Aberdeenshire AB41 – left three steer bovines to suffer in agony with ingrowing horns that had penetrated their skin; all three euthanised
Hay pled guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering under section 19 of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to a black and white male steer, and consecutively two red male cattle.
Senior Scottish SPCA inspector Alison Simpson said, “This charge was dealt as Hay failed to seek standard veterinary treatment for his cattle, predominantly three males.
“The first of the three was a black and white castrated male, who, upon veterinary examination was discovered to have an ingrown right horn, protruding four inches into the sinus, creating a seven centimetre wide hole in his head. After removing the ingrown horn, dressing the wound and injecting antibiotics it was noticed he had a broken right tibia. The decision was immediately made to euthanise the cow to prevent further suffering.
“The second of the cattle in question, a red castrated male, was found to have both horns growing into the side of his head. The horn on the right hand side of his head was embedded into the soft tissue. The ingrown horn on the right side had punctured the skin 5 centimetres, leaving a hole in which you could insert a finger. The horn on the left hand side was also overgrown although not to such a bad extent.
“The last was also a red coloured castrated male. His right horn had also grown into his head and the left side round the front of his eye. The horn on the right hand side was embedded into the soft tissue and once removed, was also found to be piercing five centimetres into his head. The horn on the left hand side was obscuring the animal’s eye and starting to penetrate the skin.
“The decision was made to put both red males to sleep to prevent further suffering.
“We are happy that Hay pled guilty and this sentence handed down.
“Prosecution is always a last resort for the Scottish SPCA and every effort was made to work with Hay prior to this, however the disregard for his animal’s welfare led us to having no choice.
“The remaining cattle at that time were moved from the premises, however we are aware that after these cattle were moved, more have since arrived at Hay’s property.
“Hay has two months before the ban is enforced.”
Sentencing: two-year ban on keeping or owning cattle, suspended by two months.
#TheList farmers David Davies , born 1956, and brother Evan Meirion Davies, born 1969, both of Penffynnon Farm, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul SA44 4HX – for a catalogue of appalling cruelty to cattle
Brothers David Davies, and Evan Meirion Davies admitted 13 charges of animal cruelty.
The prosecution follows a visit by animal health officers and a Animal and Plant Health Agency vet to the farm in April 2018.
Officers found 58 cattle carcasses in various states of decay in the cattle sheds and surrounding fields. The remaining cattle were housed in terrible conditions, with no food, water or dry lying area.
The vet confirmed that the cattle were being caused unnecessary suffering, and also formed the opinion that the dead cattle had also succumbed to the horrendous conditions found in the sheds, and died of neglect. The vet had to euthanise two cattle to stop further suffering during visits to the premises.
This was the worst case of animal welfare neglect seen to date by the animal health team of Ceredigion County Council, they said.
In sentencing, the magistrates acknowledged the evidence of horrendous suffering, inadequate care and poor animal husbandry displayed by both defendants to the animals.
The Cabinet member responsible for public protection, Cllr Gareth Lloyd said: “This was a truly shocking case of neglect that caused terrible suffering to so many animals. We will not hesitate to act decisively whenever we need to protect animal welfare.”
“This was an extreme case, and in no way reflects on the dedication of the overwhelming majority of Ceredigion farmers in maintaining the highest standards of care for their animals.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay costs to the council of £1,500 each. Disqualified from keeping any animals of any description for five years. The pair were allowed 28 days in which to make the necessary arrangements.
#TheList farmer Michael Rice, born c. 1950, of High View, Woodland Head, Crediton EX17 5HE – kept cattle in appalling conditions; failed to treat very poorly cow.
Officers described the living conditions for the animals throughout the farm as ‘generally poor’, as several animals did not have a dry lying area and had access to sharp objects which posed a risk to their health such as farm machinery and rusty nails.
The case was brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service following an investigation into concerns for the welfare of his cattle.
Trading standards officers and a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) visited the farm and discovered a bovine which appeared to have been unable to stand for several weeks with no access to water or supplementary feed.
Rice had previously been advised by a vet that if the animal’s health didn’t improve it should be culled. However several weeks later, when trading standards visited his farm, he had made no attempt to do so.
The vet believed that the animal was subjected to ‘avoidable and unnecessary suffering’ under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 both by failure to cull without delay and failure to isolate the sick animal and house it in suitable accommodation with dry comfortable bedding.
District Judge Matson described the conditions on the farm as ‘appalling’ and the condition the bovine was left in as ‘extremely upsetting and distressing’.
Sentencing: 16-week suspended prison sentence, fined £6,970 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Martin Veysey, born c. 1955, of 6 Albert Court, Albert Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 7ET – breached a previous life ban on keeping animals imposed on him in 2011
Veysey pleaded guilty to six charges under the Animal Welfare Act and the Cattle Identification Regulations on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at Taunton Crown Court.
Veysey was banned for life from keeping animals in 2011 after he was prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide appropriate care for his animals.
The latest prosecution was brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service and related to the purchase, transport and ownership of cattle obtained from markets in the South West.
Charges also related to a pony and an American bulldog owned by Veysey.
Veysey was also found guilty for failing to report and record the movements of cattle and failing to surrender the passports of cattle to Defra’s British Cattle Movement Service.
The court heard that the prosecution followed an investigation by Trading Standards officers.
Officers gathered intelligence from several sources including from members of the public, who responded to adverts he had placed to sell animals, as well as the RSPCA, livestock auctioneers and landowners who had witnessed his involvement with animals.
In sentencing Veysey, the judge told him that ‘the legislation is intended to protect animals from cowboys like you’ and warned him any further breaches would mean that he would go to prison.
Sentencing: eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Costs of £2,115.
#TheList Farmer John Thomas Sean Murphy, born c. 1958, of 6 Carnally Road, Silverbridge, Newry, Armagh BT35 9LY – convicted of a series of animal welfare charges.
Murphy, who also has a conviction for the harassment of his ex wife, had been charged with failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal were met, failing to prevent unnecessary suffering to bovine animals and failing to hold a carcass that had not been slaughtered for human consumption, pending consignment or disposal in such a manner as to ensure no animal or bird would have access to it.
Murphy was fined £2,500, and given a three month jail term suspended for two years.
He was also disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in keeping animals and being party to an arrangement under which that person is entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are kept, from dealing in animals, transporting and arranging for the transport of animals for two years.
#TheList farmer Clive Lockton, born c. 1958, of New Road Farm, Todenham, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9PN – kept his livestock and poultry in terrible conditions
Lockton pleaded guilty to 17 animal welfare offences including causing unnecessary suffering to a female pig as well as failing to ensure animal welfare and failing to properly inform the authorities of a death of a cow on the farm.
The conditions in which the farmer kept his livestock and poultry were so unsuitable and dangerous that one pig was injured by a makeshift shelter which collapsed on it. The animal had to be shot by a vet to relieve its suffering when animal welfare inspectors visited.
He also pleaded guilty to failing to ear mark cattle and failing to inform the authorities of animal movements off his farm.
The court heard how Trading Standards officer Claire Miers and vet Marie Ipas both visited Lockton’s farm on June 7th last year and found 75 pigs, seven sheep and hundreds of chickens living in a ‘terrible conditions’ with poor, inadequate bedding and feed and water.
Prosecuting Bonnie Styles said there was no fresh water or bedding for the animals and that shelters constructed by Lockton had collapsed, injuring a sow.
The pig had a massive abscess on its leg and had suffered broken ribs when the wall fell on it. It was in such a poor state a vet had to be called immediately to shoot the animal to put it out of its misery.
The court heard how Miss Miers had previously visited the farm and helped Lockton apply for planning permission to build a new shed for the pigs but when she later returned the shed was being used to house cattle.
“At one end of the shed there was an area which was used for feeding. There were pallets and a trough all tied together with string and there were planks on the floor with nails sticking out of them which the cattle could injure themselves on,” said Miss Styles.
“In the feeding area the mud was so deep the cattle couldn’t walk and there was metal corrugated panels sticking out of the ground.
“There was an old bath used for feeding which was in a filfthy condition and in a water container there was a dead bird which Mr Lockton said he was going to remove later.
“There were holes in the floor big enough for a pig to fall into.”
The court heard there was also a pile of out of date food which the chickens and pigs had access to.
“There was Cumberland sausages, chicken and bacon sandwiches and flame grilled chicken which the free roaming pigs and hens had access to,” said Miss Styles.
The inspectors also saw three calves without ear tags which are required by law because of animal health and movement regulations.
They also found a sow in pain suffering.
“The pig was in a very poor condition and had what appeared to be an open wound on its legs. It was hobbling and its jaw was dislocated,” said Miss Styles.
Manure and dirt had built up in the water containers.
“The pig pens were in a very poor state with no dry area and empty food buckets,” said Miss Styles.
Sentencing: rehabilitation order to carry out 15 days’ community service over 12 months. Total of £485 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping cattle and pigs for a period of five years, with stipulation that this cannot be appealed for a period of two years.
#TheList farmer Robin Hayward, born c. 1972, of Withersdale Hall Farm, Metfield, Harleston IP20 0JR – allowed 56 cattle to die in disgusting conditions
Farmer Robin Hayward pleaded guilty to nine offences relating to the health and welfare of cattle on his farm, as well as the non-disposal of dead cattle.
In March 2017 vets found the carcasses of 38 cattle in various stages of decomposition in a muck heap and others were found rotting in slurry near malnourished animals.
Sentencing Robin Hayward, Judge Martyn Levett described his treatment of the cattle as “incompetent and inhumane” and said they had suffered over a prolonged period of more than six weeks.
He rejected defence claims that the offences were the result of a financial crisis and said Hayward had access to funding which could have prevented unnecessary suffering to the cattle.
“As a consequence of your failings cattle died and were left to rot away in knee-deep slurry with live cattle trampling over the dead carcasses to compete for inadequate feed,” said the judge.
He described the conditions the animals were living in as “disgusting” and said Hayward was solely responsible for what happened to them.
Hayward admitted eight offences including causing unnecessary suffering to cattle, failing to have carcasses identified and collected without delay, failing to notify the death of cattle and offences relating to the welfare of the cattle.
Sentencing: 44-week prison sentence suspended for two years; 120 hours of unpaid work in the community. Fined £16,200 and ordered to pay costs of £12,900. Banned from keeping or owning farm animals.
#TheList David Arfon Davies, born c. 1959, of Brookhill Hall Farm, Brookhill Lane, Pinxton, Nottingham NG16 6JU – neglected the welfare of animals on his farm
Davies had denied causing unnecessary suffering at the farm but failed to turn up for his trial and was found guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court in February 2018.
The enquiry began when Davies took a horse, named Tommy, to be castrated, only for experts to decide he was too weak to withstand a general anaesthetic.
Tommy’s ribs and spine were easily seen, he was infected with lice, and was not used to being handled.
The RSPCA was told and visited the farm. Inspector Teresa Potter said a rottweiler was tied to a gate and “hunched over a bucket, adding that the dog’s “demeanour was very dull, you could see all his bones and he was scruffy.”
She went into a barn with a vet where they found two cows lying amid straw. A Swiss red cow was under a rug and had “a horrendous wound to her hip.”
Inspector Potter added: “There was a horrible smell as you lifted the rug. I would describe it as a rotting flesh sort of smell.”
Vet Christine Jamieson said the cow had ulcers the size of “dinner plates and right down to the bone.”
She said: “I think it had been dragged over a concrete surface.”
They only found a sick Friesian cow because it was covered with builder’s bags which began to move.
“It was trying to raise its head when it heard us talking,” said Miss Jamieson.
She believed both had been unable to stand since the previous December and that would have caused internal damage.
“We went down to the house and he said ‘they’re alive’, and carried on and didn’t seem to understand it was inhumane to keep cows like that,” added Miss Jamieson.
The RSPCA’s prosecutor Mr Wright called for the farmer to be banned from owning and keeping any animals. This request was granted by the courts, with the farmer receiving a life ban.
Tommy and Modlin were taken into the care of the RSPCA and made full recoveries. Sadly the two ill cows found on the farm were euthanised immediately.
Sentencing: David Davies was also given a 26-week prison term, suspended for two years, and must pay £750 towards the costs of the RSPCA. Banned for life from keeping livestock.