WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT – Man admits neglect and incompetence after rabbits put down

A rabbit found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STA

A rabbit found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS - Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards

A Suffolk smallholder has admitted neglecting rabbits – found in such a poor state they were euthanised that day.

One of the rabbits found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury. The rabbit was lat

One of the rabbits found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury. The rabbit was later put down Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS - Credit: Suffolk Trading Standards

Matthew Lowe, 39, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a white buck, white doe, brown doe and black kit by failing to properly attend to their welfare needs or seek veterinary treatment for their poor health.

Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard how Trading Standards officers discovered the animals during an inspection of land west of Wyevale Garden Centre, off Newton Road, Sudbury, on December 19 last year.

Lowe also admitted failing to notify authorities that he began keeping pigs on land off The Street, in Assington.

Meanwhile, on land at Newmans Green, he admitted failing to ensure a pig enclosure had farrowing rails or a way of protecting piglets, as well as attending pigs, poultry and rabbits without the appropriate ability, knowledge or professional competence, and failing to provide four sows with a suitable environment by housing them apart from other animals.


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Prosecutor Adam Pearson said the inspection of land off Newton Road was carried out following a report by a member of the public.

He explained that Lowe was using the land for breeding and keeping rabbits, pigs and poultry.

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“Some were in a considerable level of distress due to mistreatment,” he added.

“Some of the rabbits were in a very poor state of condition. Three had to be put down that day.

“One large white rabbit was found lying on its side in an enclosure. Its breathing was extremely laboured and it was riddles with flies.

“Another was suffering from myxomatosis; another was unresponsive.

“Another rabbit had a broken leg that was, effectively, at a right angle to where it should be. A vet estimated it would have been in pain every time it moved.

“There were further concerns for pigs and poultry.”

Mr Pearson said Trading Standards issued Lowe with an improvement notice, and that some, but not enough improvement was made by the time they returned.

Solicitor Craig Marchant put forward no initial mitigation for Lowe, who will instead be the subject of a full probation report before sentencing on October 10.

To report concerns about livestock, call 03454 040506.

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