#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 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.
#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
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.”
#TheList William Thomas Gerald Benney, born c. 1941, of Trease Farm, Cury Cross Lanes, Helston TR12 7QU – laughed in court over horrific case of rotting lambs’ carcasses discovered on his land
Animal inspectors were stunned to find scenes of horror on William Benney’s farm where rotting lambs carcasses were found.
Surviving sheep were found lame and stumbling on bloodied feet, and distressing images reveal the shocking conditions in which animals lived.
On one visit, stunned inspectors discovered a pool of blood where lambs’ tails had been sliced off without anaesthetic.
The court heard Benney was formerly a proud and well-respected member of the agricultural community.
He was the third generation of his family at Trease Farm and had worked there for 60 years – from the age of 16.
He had won numerous prizes for his sheep at shows and during his career had been at times a president of Helston Fatstock Show, parish councillor and village hall committee chairman.
However, the court heard Benney had become unwell in recent years and admitted he could no longer care for the sheep.
Benney pleaded guilty to failing to prevent unnecessary suffering to his sheep, docking tails without anaesthetic, failing to treat lameness in the animals, failing to record the medicine used on the flock and failing to dispose of 35 sheep carcasses.
At one point in the hearing, Benney appeared to chuckle and was severely reprimanded by Judge Diane Baker, who said to him: “I don’t find any of this funny at all.
“You should listen carefully to what’s been said and not make any funny noises or shake your head.”
Later, Benney became tearful as the full evidence was ready out.
Kingsley Keat, prosecuting on behalf of Cornwall Council, said an animal welfare inspector and a Defra vet visited the farm in March 2017 where they found the bodies and skeletal remains of 35 lambs and sheep.
He said: “Many were very decomposed, indicated that they had been there a long time. They were scattered across the fields. Some of the new-born lambs appear to have got stuck in mud and died as a result.”
He said out of 120 sheep, a quarter were found to be lame and bleeding from foot-rot. One animal had pus oozing from a swollen leg.
Mr Keat said Benney had told the inspectors he had been unable to care for the animals for two weeks as he had flu, had hurt his knee and was suffering from sheep-dip poisoning.
He said Benney had asked a friend to look after the animals but admitted she did not have any experience of caring for sheep.
Mr Keats said on a later visit in August, the inspectors found Benney had recently used a carving knife to dock the tails of lambs without anaesthetic, which is against the law.
Judge Baker said to Benney: “If you had been a younger man, I would be sending you straight out that door to immediate custody.
“I do think your offending crosses the custody threshold but because of your age, your previous good character and health difficulties, I am going to suspend the period of imprisonment.”
She added: “This is one of the worst animal welfare cases I have recently dealt with. It involves a large number of animals and a long period of neglect.”
Sentencing: four months in prison, suspended for two years. Ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,329. Banned from keeping sheep or cattle for ten years.
#TheList farmer Edmund Draper Kane, born c. 1973, of North End Farm, 1 Harbridge Green, Ringwood BH24 3PT – left his cattle in ‘squalid and filthy’ conditions, leaving three dead.
Southampton magistrates heard how Kane left his cattle in a state of filth for months, lying in their own faeces, unable to stand and without water and bedding.
Kane, who has been farming for 20 years, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, not meeting the suitable environments for an animal and failing to comply with bovine responsibilities.
Presiding, District Judge Peter Greenfield told Kane how his actions had caused the cattle ‘enormous suffering’ in a ‘vision of hell’.
Prosecuting on behalf of Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards, John Pullen told the court how over several visits to the Ringwood farm in March 2017, inspectors found the cows without water and bedding and lacking enough energy to stand up.
He said: “After a complaint on March 2, a visit was made the next day by inspectors and a vet as to the conditions to these animals.
“What they found were emaciated animals in squalid, filthy conditions, causing unnecessary suffering.
“One cow had died and another had to be put down. Before another scheduled visit on March 7, another calf died. When inspectors went back on March 30, some four weeks later, the conditions had not improved.
“Forty-five cows were left with instruments that could injure them and in some cases, even without water.”
More than 100 cows were also left with no dry line, which is where the udder tissue recovers in between milking.
Mitigating, defence solicitor Neil Hinton said that ‘all dairy farms lose animals’ and that Kane was burdened by his finances.
He said: “He has to care for his 85-year-old mother and look after the farm almost by himself. A report dated in May shows improvements had been made. This was a blip and not the long-standing state of things.”
District Judge Greenfield said: “Every day you knew what condition these cows were left in and you didn’t change anything in at least four weeks.
“Leaving them without water is inexcusable.
“The last evidence of your farm being suitable is autumn 2016, so this lasted at least three months.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £5,655 costs. Disqualified from farming, keeping or transporting animals for three years (expires October 2020).