Didcot, Oxfordshire: James and Brynne Backhouse

#TheList James Peter Backhouse, born 11/03/1980, and Brynne Sean Backhouse, born 06/12/1965 of Ashdown Farm, Upper Hill Barn, Aston Tirrold, Didcot OX11 9DR – left sheep on their farm to suffer with maggot-infested feet and horrific injuries caused by chronic neglect

James Backhouse
Former sheep farmer James Backhouse

When local authority inspectors visited the farm of brothers James and Brynne Backhouse they found sheep with maggot-infested feet and animal carcasses improperly disposed of. One sheep was found to have had her eyes pecked out because she was left unable to move.

The Backhouses, who also operate a motocross business called Ashdown Track Limited, were sentenced for 16 animal welfare and farming standards offences.

Following an initial visit to the farm by officers from Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards Service, the two brothers were advised to seek veterinary help for their neglected sheep, however, when officers returned they discovered an illegal ‘dead pit’ where the men had disposed of dead animals.

James Backhouse with partner Sherrie Benning
James Backhouse with partner Sherrie Benning, who also lives on the farm

Prosecutors said that a number of the animals had experienced ‘unnecessary suffering’ and that minimal care was provided to them.

Detailing some of the neglect Kristiina Reed, prosecuting, said some sheep were found to have maggots in their feet eating at decomposing flesh.

A number of the animals were unable to stand and the court heard that some were in ‘significant pain’ from foot rot.

James Backhouse

During an inspection the men were asked if they had treated the animals’ condition, called ‘fly strike’, and James Backhouse said ‘we never treat the lameness.’

Inspectors also saw five dead sheep visible in the field as well as the illegal ‘dead pit.’

One of the sheep, who was noted as being unable to stand on the first visit, was found to have had her eyes pecked out by the second day because she was unable to get up.

It was later revealed that the brothers had not kept appropriate medical records.

Prosecutor Reed described the neglect as ‘prolonged’ and said: “The injuries were allowed to develop and fester over a long period of time.

“The sheep sustained a high level of suffering from the injuries.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £13,170 each. Disqualified from owning sheep for two years.

Oxfordshire County Council
Oxford Mail

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