Rabbits, pigs and poultry find new homes after smallholder prosecuted
- Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards
Almost 100 animals have been adopted or are set to find new homes after leaving a chaotic Suffolk smallholding.
Last month, Matthew Lowe was banned from owning farm animals for at least five years after an inspection of land in Assington, near Sudbury, discovered rabbits in such poor health that some were put down.
The 39-year-old, from Newton, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to attend to their welfare or seek help for their poor health. He also admitted failing to let authorities know he began keeping pigs and failing to ensure an enclosure was safe for piglets.
In addition, he pleaded guilty to attending to pigs, poultry and rabbits without the appropriate ability, knowledge or professional competence, and failing to provide four sows with an environment away from other animals.
Lowe was remorseful and “thoroughly embarrassed by the state of affairs” on his land, which was inspected last December after concerned calls from a neighbour.
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He was given an eight-week suspended jail sentence, ordered to carry out unpaid work and handed a £4,899 bill for costs.
Lowe’s partner has taken over the smallholding and signed over almost 100 animals to Suffolk Trading Standards, including 28 pigs (five born since the prosecution), which have all gone to smallholder Abby Jelley, who previously owned some of the sows and was a witness in the investigation.
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Another smallholder will take control of 23 poultry, while 25 rabbits have either found new homes or are awaiting adoption.
A adult white rabbit and her seven young – dubbed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – have moved to RSPCA Suffolk and East Ipswich, while two American sables rabbits, Casper and Evie, have moved to RSPCA West Suffolk to be neutered and made available for adoption as a pair.
The remaining rabbits will go to an experienced local smallholder.
Clair Missen, Suffolk Trading Standards officer, said: “We have visited the site since the prosecution and seen remarkable improvements since Mrs Lowe has taken it over. Suffolk Trading Standards officers will be in regular contact with her to offer support and advice.
“The remaining livestock are now a smaller, more manageable number, ensuring their needs are better met, with less chance of unwanted breeding.”