Farmer could be jailed over neglect

A PIG farmer has been told he could face a prison sentence after leaving dead animals to rot in their own excrement.Richard Read was accused of the “premeditated and prolonged” neglect of six pigs - three of which died - at his farm in Sedge Fen, near Brandon.

A PIG farmer has been told he could face a prison sentence after leaving dead animals to rot in their own excrement.

Richard Read was accused of the “premeditated and prolonged” neglect of six pigs - three of which died - at his farm in Sedge Fen, near Brandon.

The 52-year-old admitted six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, and one of non-compliance of farmed animal regulations, when he appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds yesterday .

The court heard how an RSPCA inspector visited Decoy Farm on March 15 this year, after being alerted to the fact there were dead and sick pigs being kept there.


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On inspecting the farm, he found numerous stables, containing little or no food, bedding and water, one of which was no bigger than three metres by three metres with piles of potatoes and dirt piled up against the door.

Hayley Saunders, prosecuting, told the court that in one of the stables there was a live black pig in “poor conditions”, next to another pig that was dead and lying just inside the stable door.

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Another dead pig was discovered in a second stable, which was covered from “wall to wall” in sloppy wet slurry that was several inches deep.

“It was difficult to confirm it was a body of a pig because it was sunk into the slurry,” said Miss Saunders.”

The court heard how Read, who has kept pigs since he was 12-years-old, also had a “menagerie” of other animals, including 12 horses, 200 mixed poultry, 13 sheep and a number of cats of dogs, which were living in normal conditions.

On arrival at the farm, vet David Scott said it was his opinion that unnecessary suffering had been caused to the pigs, and advised the removal of the three remaining live animals from the site because of the appalling environment they were living in.

He said two of the animals were very thin, with their spine, ribs, hip and neck bones clearly visible. Another was decomposed and buried in the mud, while another was “completely emaciated”.

A post mortem carried out on the dead animals revealed all three of the pigs were in an extremely poor condition, and had died immersed in slurry. One had even drowned in it.

When interviewed by the RSPCA, Read said he believed the dead pigs had been suffering from pneumonia, and had attempted to give them penicillin, although it was out of date. He admitted one of the stables had not been cleaned out for about two months.

Defence solicitor Kevin McCarthy said the death of the pigs was a harrowing tale that had haunted Read “through every waking hour”.

“This is a man who was struggling to do his best but failed miserably,” he said.

“He got rid of all the pigs that were left with him and does not intend to keep them ever again.”

But magistrate Robin Howe said it was a case of “premeditated, deliberate and prolonged neglect” over a period of time, and involving several animals.

“The bench considers this an extremely serious matter and we are leaving all options open,” he said.

The matter has been adjourned until next month for sentencing.

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