Tag Archives: farmed animals codes of practice breaches

Portreath, Cornwall: Nicholas Holley

#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding

Animal abuser Nick Holley from Cornwall

Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:

• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep

• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them

• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva

• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019

• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped

Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.

This sheep had been trapped in fencing for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty
This sheep had been trapped in fencing for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty

Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.

In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.

The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.

Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.

Falmouth Packet

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

Whickham, Newcastle upon Tyne: David Cottrell

#TheList David Cottrell, born 09/10/1966 of 18 Sandringham Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne NE16 5ZA – caused prolonged suffering to pigs he kept in shocking conditions

Cottrell, former owner of pork and black pudding producer Medomsley Bangers, is banned from keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.
Cottrell is now banned from keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.

Cottrell, former owner of pork and black pudding supplier Medomsley Bangers was convicted of 31 animal welfare charges relating to animals on his site at Manor Road, Medomsley, County Durham, from March to October 2018.

They included charges of being a person responsible for farmed animals and failing to take steps to ensure they had the right conditions, and failing to comply with duty regulations 4, 5 and 7 of the Animal Welfare Act.

Catherine Hazell, prosecuting for the council, said animal health inspectors and a police officer had first visited the site at Manor Road on March 23, 2018.

They found a pen of 11 pigs living in deep slurry with no dry lying area and no water, alongside two pig carcasses.

Another pen containing one pig had no water. Piglets were crammed into a small pen with hardly any space and filthy drinking water.

Officers searched the fields and found horses with access to a large pile of debris and wood with nails and sharp pieces which could likely cause them injury, as well as sheep carcasses.

Cottrell was issued a notice to dispose of the animal by-products, but when officers returned weeks later there was still no dry lying area for 23 pigs, while sharp objects were still in the field with the horses.

During a further visit in October 2018 five underweight pigs were found with no feed available. Six adolescent pigs were crammed in a small pen and standing knee-deep in slurry with filthy water.

The council seized 44 pigs as well as piglets in November 2018. Some of the pigs have since had piglets. There were eventually about 150 pigs in total.

Cottrell only provided his consent to the council selling the pigs in June.

The upkeep of the pigs amounted to £27,765 offset by the sale of some

A probation report noted that Cottrell had decided to set up his own business sheep and pig farming more than three years after suffering serious injuries in a horse accident.

Cottrell told a probation officer that at the time of the incidents he was caring for his terminally ill mother and elderly father and it had got “too much for him”.

He added, a contractor providing him feed had also let him down.

Cottrell, who is selling the land, is now working as a private contractor providing security and as a takeaway driver.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 300 hours of unpaid work with 15 probation activity days. He was ordered to pay £24,919, including costs of looking after the pigs and legal costs. Disqualified from owning or keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.

Northern Echo

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

Pinxton, Nottingham: farmer David Arfon Davies

#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

Rottweiler Modlin and horse Tommy have recovered from their ordeal on David Davies' farm in Pinxton, Nottingham
Rottweiler Modlin and horse Tommy have recovered from their ordeal on David Davies’ farm in Pinxton, Nottingham

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.

Nottingham Post

Stone, Staffordshire: Frederick James

#TheList farmer Frederick H James, born c. 1963, of Meaford View, Old Road, Oulton Heath, Stone ST15 8US – for failing to get treatment for a stricken cow on his dairy farm and keeping his livestock in deplorable conditions

Conditions on Frederick James's farm
Conditions on Frederick James’s farm

James was fined £1,553 after one of his cows was found ‘barely breathing’ and with just one eye.

Vets ordered the destruction of the ‘downed’ animal after finding it in distress at a Stone farm.

The defendant told investigators he had not called for help because he was short of cash and blamed low milk prices for part of his financial difficulties.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard an animal welfare officer and a vet visited James’s farm in Wash Dale Lane, Stone, on February 20, 2017, after being told a cow was dead in a field.

Prosecutor Khalid Mahmood said: “The animal welfare officer attended and cattle were in the yard. They were walking in slurry and were very dirty. The cattle had no dry lying area and the sheds had not been cleaned for months.

“The officer called a vet. They entered the pen and could see a downed cow. It had an eye missing and was barely breathing. The vet stated the cow was being caused unnecessary suffering.

“The farmer attended and said he could not afford to call the vet. He was embarrassed by the situation.”

James pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and three offences of failing to ensure the welfare of an animal.

Tacarat Hussain, mitigating, said: “This was an isolated incident caused by his financial and mental situation at the time.

“From February to now significant changes have been made. Mr James is now in the healthy position of receiving 30p per litre for his milk when he was receiving 14p per litre at the time and it was costing him 21p to produce.

“Mr James owed fees of £2,000 to the vet who told him he would not be coming out until the debts were settled. His new vet now works on a pay-as-you-go basis.”

The prosecution was brought by Staffordshire County Council.

Following the case, Councillor Gill Heath, cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a shocking case of animal neglect which is reflected in the sentence and sends out a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. This amounted to the prolonged neglect, injury and death of an animal.

“Whenever there is any compromise of animal health or welfare rules and evidence of neglect and ignored advice, we will not hesitate to take prompt action.”

Stoke Sentinel