Category Archives: cows

Cranage, Cheshire: Ian McGrath

#TheList Ian Gordon McGrath, born 03/01/1975, of The Paddocks, Sandy Lane, Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW6 8HR – left 35 cow carcasses to decay at his dairy farm, left six other cows in such poor condition they had to be put down

Cheshire dairy farmer Ian McGrath neglected cattle and left the bodies of those that died to rot
Dairy farmer Ian McGrath neglected cattle and left the bodies of those that died to rot

McGrath admitted causing unnecessary suffering after a 2018 inspection of Grange Farm, Over Peover, Knutsford, by Cheshire East Council found some animals had no access to food or water.

Attempts had also been made to cover some of the 35 dead carcasses at the farm, which is now run by people who have no connection to this case.

The court heard the dairy farmer McGrath had suffered mental health problems since his father died in 2014.

Dairy farmer Ian McGrath neglected cattle and left the bodies of those that died to rot

Rachel Cooper, prosecuting, said that an experienced dairy farmer like McGrath must have known his actions were causing suffering to his animals.

But Adrian Roberts, defending, said McGrath had suffered with mental health problems since his father died in 2014.

He was also under financial pressure because of bovine tuberculosis in his herd and the falling price of milk.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders described the case as “appalling” and sentenced McGrath, who also admitted failing to dispose of dead cattle properly, to 18 weeks in jail which was suspended for 18 months.

He also banned McGrath from owning or keeping livestock for life but this can be reviewed in five years.

McGrath must also pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs, and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

BBC News

Additional info: until June 2018 Ian McGrath was a director of badger cull company Environment Clear Ltd.

Dairy farmer Ian McGrath neglected cattle and left the bodies of those that died to rot.
McGrath is caught on camera by badger welfare campaigners setting a cage trap near an active badger sett

In 2017 McGrath, who is also said to be a keen bloodsports enthusiast and supporter of the Cheshire Hunt, was caught on camera setting a cage trap near an active badger sett.

McGrath is said to be an expert on the spread of bovine tuberculosis and was a member of DEFRA’s ‘eradication’ team.

In 2015 he featured on a video released by the National Farmers Union on the subject of bovine TB.

More information on the companies involved in the UK badger cull can be found on the Innocent Badger website.

Ashford, Kent: Tracy Middleton

#TheList Tracy Jane Middleton, born November 1968, of Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm, Ashford Road, Bethersden, Ashford, Kent TN26 3BQ – jailed and banned from owning animals for 10 years after carcasses of sheep, lambs and cattle were found on her land.

Tracy Middleton. who was jailed after leaving dozens of animals to starve to death on her farm
Farmer Tracy Middleton was jailed after keeping animals in atrocious conditions and leaving many to starve to death

Tracy Middleton admitted 41 charges relating to animals on her farm, which covers 340 acres with 135 cows and 150 sheep. These included causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to provide adequate food and water.

She also admitted to breaches concerning ear tags, and for not sufficiently dealing with the carcasses of nine dead ewes and 15 dead lambs.

In February 2019, Kent Animal Defenders complained to the RSPCA after finding a dismal scene at the farm, despite the RSPCA raising concerns in 2018.

Decomposing animals on Tracy Middleton's farm
Decomposing animals on Tracy Middleton’s farm

Andrew Price, prosecuting for Kent Trading Standards, said officials carried out a series of visits from 2018 to 2019 after being contacted by animal welfare activists.

The cattle sheds had no dry area for the cows to lie down, the water troughs were almost empty and the mud was so deep that cows found it hard to move around.

Animals had bald patches of skin. There was a dead calf in the mud and one calf was seen in the yard with bailing twine in its mouth.

Middleton’s lawyer, Gordon Crow, said his client accepted the farm was chaotic and badly-managed but that she had been overwhelmed at the time and going through a traumatic time in her life. He urged District Judge Justin Barron not to jail Middleton because of the “untold damage” this would cause her family.

However, Judge Barron said the level of suffering was so serious that the only appropriate punishment was a custodial sentence.

Addressing Middleton he said: “No one could look at those pictures and say your animals didn’t experience a high level of suffering.”

Many of the remaining animals have now been moved or sold, and a local farmer has now leased the farm.

Sentencing: 120 days in jail. Ordered to pay £8,500 costs. Banned from owning or keeping any animals for 10 years with the exception of a cat and two dogs she owns.

KentOnline
BBC News

Alfreton, Derbyshire: Nigel Stubbins

#TheList Nigel Stubbins, born 25/01/1972, of 84 Main Street, Newton, Alfreton DE55 5TE – for brutal handling of a collapsed cow in an abattoir

Nigel Stubbins

Nigel Stubbins was found guilty of two counts of unlawful handling of a dairy cow, in addition to an earlier guilty plea for inappropriately transporting a horned bull in the same compartment as other cattle.

Stubbins was caught on CCTV at Foyle Abattoir in Cinderford, using an electrical goad and excessive pulling to attempt to move a Holstein Fresian cow for about 45 minutes.

The incident occurred on November 13, 2018, when Stubbins arrived at the abattoir at 9pm outside normal operational hours.

He proceeded to unload cattle from a compartment. The CCTV footage showed that when he opened the lorry’s top rear compartment, one of the cows was down and slid down the ramp.

Stubbins then spent 45 minutes trying to get the cow to stand and walk into a pen when it was evident from the footage the cow couldn’t get up and remain on her feet.

Stubbins tried various methods to get the cow to stand up, including pulling her by the nose, using ropes to drag her round, and excessive use of an electric goad over a half-hour period.

There are strict rules in place for the use of electric goads. They should not be used repeatedly when animals fail to respond and when the cattle are unable to get up.

It is also specifically prohibited to lift or drag animals by the head, ears, horns, legs, tail or fleece, or handle them in such a way as to cause them unnecessary pain or suffering.

Sentencing: fined £1,055 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs and a £155 victim surcharge.

GloucestershireLive

Belper, Derbyshire: Stephen and Susan Hitchcock

#TheList Stephen Hitchcock, born c. 1984, and sister Susan Hitchcock, born c. 1981, both of Slades Farm, Whitewells Lane, Belper DE56 2DN – for the ill-treatment of cattle on their farm

Siblings Stephen and Susan Hitchcock neglected animals on their farm and also breached farming regulations relating to the disposal of dead livestock
Siblings Stephen and Susan Hitchcock neglected animals on their farm and also breached farming regulations relating to the disposal of dead livestock

Stephen and Susan Hitchcock admitted to failing to protect animals from pain and suffering and not following strict regulations on disposing of dead livestock at their farm.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the siblings had taken on the farm from their father, who died in 2011.

The court heard how officials visited the farm on May 14, 2018, and the site was described to have some “500 cattle and 400 sheep”.

During their visit they found piles of decomposing carcasses in different areas of the farm and the remains of a bonfire that had “bones and other materials”.

Will Douglas-Jones, prosecuting said they also found two cows tied by the neck to a wall.

He said: “The chain was short and restricted normal movement.

“When provided with water they drank heavily and for an extensive period. They found the remains of a bonfire with bones, wood and other material.”

The court heard that on their initial arrival they found 20 sheep that were in “good condition”.

Mr Douglas-Jones said that during the inspection, Susan Hitchcock claimed she had been “unable to cope” and had told Stephen on “numerous occasions”.

The pair had also pleaded guilty to not protecting a cow laid in a field from pain and suffering before it died.

The court heard how the inspectors returned the following days where improvements had been made.

They returned again, on May 31, 2018, and there were “no further welfare issues”.

Sentencing: eight-week prison sentence suspended for two years. They were each told to pay costs of £3,716.75 and a £115 victim surcharge

Derbyshire Telegraph

Burton, Rossett, Wrexham: Wilfred and Ian Francis

#TheList Wilfred Francis, born c. 1981, and his brother Ian Martin Francis, born c. 1983, both of Yr Ackery Farm, Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0AE – for the mistreatment of cattle on their farm

Cruel and negligent farmers Wilfred Francis and Ian Martin Francis of Wrexham, Wales
Wilfred Francis (left) and his brother Ian Francis were not banned from keeping animals despite their shocking neglect of cattle on their farm

Wilfred and Ian Francis pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

On February 5, 2019, an unannounced visit by Wrexham Council was made to the farm after receiving a complaint of a dog eating a dead calf.

On arrival at the farm officers of the Food and Farming team accompanied by an Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Vet found dead cattle and calves, animals with none or insufficient bedding. Some were without food and water and had access to hazardous object around the premises.

Ian Dillon, acting on behalf of the council, told the court: “Two dead cattle were being picked at by chickens. One had been unlawfully killed by Wilfred Francis by injecting it with anaesthetic.

“One cow had to be put to sleep after because it was left without medication after breaking its hip calfing two weeks previously.”

Mr Dillon said: “There were other cows with no access to water or food, some kept near to scrap metal which could have caused them harm and a general failure to clean and disinfect to keep away flies and disease.

“Waste food products had been left on the farm. Mince pies, cup cakes and ice cream was fed to the cattle. Some animals were left lying in slurry.”

Photographs taken by animal welfare officers showed animals living in squalid conditions. The officers made subsequent visits to the farm.

Mr Dillon said: “One calf was drowning in slurry. Another had been born the previous evening and had little bedding that was filled with slurry. The cow that had given birth was exhausted and had been given no food or water.

“Another newborn calf seen on March 5 was only just able to keep its nose above the slurry.”

Conditions did improve said Mr Dillon but eventually, the council applied to seize animals in May 2019 to stop unnecessary suffering. The herd reduced from 140 down to 40 head of cattle.

Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £3,000 costs each to Wrexham County Council – at a minimum rate of £50 per month. There was no order against the brothers keeping animals in the future.

Daily Post
Wrexham.com

Plungar, Nottingham: Paul robinson

#TheList Paul G Robinson, born c. 1969, of Hill Farm, Harby Lane, Plungar, Nottingham NG13 0JH – for severe neglect of pigs, cattle and sheep

Robinson was visited by Trading Standards officers after a member of the public contacted them about the conditions his animals were being kept in.

When they arrived at Hill Farm, they found pigs were living in darkness and one ewe was not getting enough food to produce milk for her undernourished lamb.

Officers from the RSPCA attended the same day and they immediately took all 27 cattle and 46 pigs from the 20-acre farm for welfare reasons.

The sheep, goats, chickens and other animals were left on the farm.

Robinson pleaded guilty to 16 charges relating to the cattle, pigs and sheep.

But magistrates agreed to a ban that only included pigs and cattle.

While some of the offences he admitted were for causing suffering to his livestock, others related to failures to properly tag animals, notify the government about animal purchases and deaths and following codes of practice.

Adam Clemens, prosecuting on behalf of Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, said: “The cattle and pigs had insufficient feed and the sheep had for the most part no feed.

“A third of the pens had no water and cattle were thin.”

He said pig carcasses were seen lying among the pigs while sheep carcasses had been burned.

Six further visits were made to the farm by the Trading Standards officers.

When Robinson was interviewed by Trading Standards the answers he gave were “cause for concern”, Mr Clemens said.

He said Robinson had never read any codes of practice farmers should follow, and did not think animals needed access to food and water at all times.

When asked about the burned lamb carcasses, Robinson said he believed his dogs had dragged the dead animals onto a bonfire, although he later pleaded guilty to burning four lamb carcasses.

Robinson told the interviewers he cleaned the animal sheds out every three to six months and saw no problem with the way the animals were being kept.

Mr Clemens said there had been many other concerns about the farm in recent years.

There was not a single year between 2012 and 2017 Trading Standards did not visit the farm and Mr Clemens said had no information about years prior to 2012 because the records were not available.

Kim Lee, representing Robinson, said his client had always been “less than a junior partner” to his father who “would rule the farm with a rod of iron”.

He said his client had been “overwhelmed” since his father’s death a year ago and was also struggling to look after his mother, who suffers from dementia.

Meanwhile, the farm was making a loss of about £3,000 per year, he said.

Mr Lee said: “This is a man who recognises the error of his ways and has taken steps to address the errors of the past.

“His financial situation is precarious. It’s no life. There’s no profit.”

Mr Lee asked the magistrates not to ban Robinson from keeping all animals so that he could continue as a farmer.

He said: “It’s all he’s known – man and boy.”

He said his client would not mind being banned from keeping pigs and cattle and would reduce the number of sheep on his farm from 81 to no more than 50.

Sentencing: six-month jail sentence suspended for two years; ordered to pay total of £2,115 costs and charges. Lifetime ban on keeping pigs and cattle.

Leicester Mercury

Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Daniel Bowd

#TheList Daniel Mark Bowd, born 12/10/1991, of Old Stores Cottage, School Lane, Lower Leigh, Stoke On Trent ST10 4SS – kept starving dogs, cows and pigs in atrocious conditions on a smallholding

Animal abuser Daniel Mark Bowd of Lower Leigh, Stoke on Trent

Daniel Bowd. former managing director of recently failed waste management company DM Bowd Environmental Services Ltd, kept dogs, pigs and cattle on a smallholding on Raddle Lane, Leigh, near Uttoxeter, but abandoned the animals to starve.

Staffordshire County Council raided the smallholding in January 2019 following a tip-off.

Inspectors found:

  • Five dogs in pens covered in faeces and urine
  • Pigs and cattle with no food or water
  • Pig skulls and smaller animal skulls in a field
  • A blood-covered pig which had been eating a dead pig

Prosecutor Khalid Mahmood told North Staffordshire Justice Centre: “A small pig had a blood-covered face as it had been eating the dead pig that was inside the pen. The officers then went looking in the pen and found skulls of dead pigs.

“The officers also saw cattle with no food or water and there was no dry lying area for them. Similarly, there was no dry lying area for any other animals.”

RSPCA officers inspected the dogs. They had wood in their rectum, their abdomens and guts felt empty, and they had scratches and damaged ears as if they had been fighting.

Bowd told the probation service that he was £60,000 in debt. He was working 14 hours every day just to ‘keep his head above water’ on a self-employed basis.

Lucy Taylor-Grimes, mitigating, said: “He just couldn’t keep up with the volume of food that the animals needed.”

Bowd admitted a catalogue of animal welfare offences against pigs and dogs. He also admitted failing to dispose of animal bones correctly, failing to maintain a register of the cattle on his holding, and not maintaining a proper veterinary medicine record for his livestock.

Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay £1,615 in court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping pigs, cattle and dogs with the possibility of review after five years.

StokeonTrentLive

Uttoxeter, Staffordshire: Stephen Croxall

#TheList farmer Stephen J Croxall, born 03/12/1968, of 2 Whitehall Close, Kingstone, Uttoxeter ST14 8RN – left livestock to die in a frozen field

Cruel Stephen Croxall left cows and sheep to starve in miserable conditions on his Uttoxeter farm
Cruel Stephen Croxall left cows and sheep to starve in miserable conditions on his Uttoxeter farm

In a case brought by Staffordshire County Council, Stephen Croxall pleaded guilty to 14 charges of breaching the Animal Welfare Act.

The offences happened in Croxall’s field, in Blithbury Road, Hamstall Ridware, Rugeley.

Charges ranged from causing unnecessary suffering to sheep, lambs and cattle to failing to record the administration of medicines.

When animal health officers visited the farm on January 31, 2018, they found the animals starving and freezing to death.

Cruel Stephen Croxall left cows and sheep to starve in miserable conditions on his Uttoxeter farm

One lamb was hypothermic and another dead under a fallen gate. A young calf was also found very vocal and thin, indicating it had not been fed or watered. Several other animals had to be put down.

Croxall told the court he was tired from his full-time job as a wood cutter and that vets were too expensive.

Lucy Daniels, prosecuting for the council, said: “It was -3C at 11am. The land was described as white and frozen.

“Officers saw 20 bales of silage, which were black and mouldy.

“When the officers entered the field, the animals were hungry as they were running towards the officers for food.

“There were buckets of water but these were frozen. The grass was frozen and there was no hay or straw.

“A wall of metal in the shed had been broken and sharp edges were sticking into the shed.

“There was also an emaciated calf, which must have been there for days. Officers could see its spine.”

The animal had to be put down, but the vet was unable to find a vein in which to inject the calf because of its dehydrated state, the court heard.

Cruel Stephen Croxall left cows and sheep to starve in miserable conditions on his Uttoxeter farm

A pre-sentence report on Croxall said: “There was no intention or malice behind the offences.

“He has worked on farms for 35 years and he has entrenched methods of looking after animals and it appears this is outdated with regards to Defra’s code of practice.

“His aunt, who died some years ago, was the record keeper.”

The report also said there was a financial strain on the farming industry and Croxall was spending fewer hours on the farm due to his other work.

It said: “He simply was not there to look after the animals.”

The court heard Croxall’s wife died in 2010 and he subsequently had psychiatric treatment.

Lucy Taylor-Grimes, defending, added: “He is a man who is not good with reading and writing and has found this whole situation difficult to follow.”

Sentencing Croxall, magistrates told him: “There was neglect for at least a week and a number of animals had to be put down.

“We would jail you. However, due to your early guilty plea, your personal circumstances, your education difficulties and the loss of your wife, we will suspend your sentence.”

Sentencing: 16-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay £1,000 in costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals with review after five years.

DerbyshireLive 28/09/2019
DerbyshireLive 11/09/2019

Torpoint, Cornwall: Justine Peroni

#TheList Justine Arabella Peroni, born 10/09/1967, of The Coombe, Deviock Hill, Downderry, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 3NA – cruelty to cattle on her smallholding

Irresponsible Justine Peroni of Torpoint, Cornwall is banned from keeping animals for five years for her cruel and negligent treatment of cattle on her smallholding.
Irresponsible Justine Peroni is banned from keeping animals for five years for her cruel and negligent treatment of cattle on her smallholding.

Justine Peroni admitted five charges of animal cruelty. These included a charge of “unnatural breeding” for allowing a bull to breed with his mother.

Irresponsible Justine Peroni of Torpoint, Cornwall is banned from keeping animals for five years for her cruel and negligent treatment of cattle on her smallholding.

During a visit to Peroni’s smallholding Cornwall Council’s Animal Health team and vets from DEFRA found emaciated cattle, one cow with “pus dripping from its udder”, and fields covered in hazardous objects.

The four other charges Peroni admitted were:

  • Two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a cow by failing to provide prompt effective treatment
  • Failing to provide a suitable environment for cattle by allowing them access to items that had the potential to injure them
  • Failing to tag a calf within 20 days of its birth

Jane Tomlinson, the council’s Head of Trading Standards, said Peroni ignored the council’s advice, including the “most obvious cattle welfare needs”.

Sentencing: six-week curfew; ordered to pay £2,000 in council costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years.

BBC News
Plymouth Herald

Camrose, Haverfordwest: Mark Mathias

#TheList Mark Phillip Mathias, born November 1978, of Chapel Hill, Camrose, Haverfordwest SA62 6JN – left dozens of cows to suffer on his farm

Cows were kept in horrific conditions at Mark Mathias's farm in Camrose, Haverfordwest, Wales.

Four cows belonging to Mark Mathias had to be put down to prevent further suffering.

Distressing images from the farm show cows lying on their sides in field, and a pile of carcasses left in a farmyard area

The ruling follows a prosecution by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The court heard that between March 20 and July 12, 2018, 14 visits were made to the farm by animal health and welfare inspectors.

The first visit followed a report of a calf being on its side in the farm yard which was thought to be suffering with no bedding or care provided.Cow carcasses were also discovered by officers on a yard near baled feed for the herd and inside a large trailer.

Other welfare concerns were noted within the herd and notices were issued to dispose of the carcasses correctly, to address welfare concerns and to improve conditions on the farm.

The court was told that throughout the ensuing visits, additional notices and further advice was given to Mathias by officers and vets.

These related to conditions on the farm in which the cattle were being kept, welfare concerns, including for specific animals which required veterinary attention and for removal of animal by-products.

The court was told that four animals had suffered unnecessarily which resulted in them being destroyed.

A large number of cattle had also been moved onto the site while a TB restriction notice was in place, prohibiting moves on or off site without a licence.

Mathias pleaded guilty to failing to observe the terms of the notice.

As part of mitigation for Mathias, reference was made to the mental, physical and financial issues involved in the farming business.

Sentencing: 200-hour community service order; costs and charges totalling £585. Disqualified from keeping, owning, participating in, or influencing the keeping of bovine animals for a period of 12 months.

Milford Mercury