Tests awaited on cattle herd found dying

WELFARE officers are still awaiting results from post-mortem tests carried out on a heard of cattle found dead or dying on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

Laurence Cawley

WELFARE officers are still awaiting results from post-mortem tests carried out on a herd of cattle found dead or dying on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

Nearly 100 cows and calves were removed from a field at Barnham, near Thetford, by the RSPCA after they were found in a “weak” and “thin” condition nearly two weeks ago.

No food or water was found at the East Farm land during the five-day RSPCA operation.

The RSPCA swooped on the farm after a member of the public reported concerns about the welfare of the cattle.

Of the 134 cattle found at the farm, 36 were dead or had to be put to sleep following veterinary advice. Many of the surviving cattle were so weak that a trench was dug at the entrance of the field to make it easier for them to be loaded onto trucks.

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Sophie Wilkinson, spokeswoman for the RSPCA, said the cows remained at a private location in Norfolk and results from the post-mortem tests, carried out at the Veterinary Laboratory Association in Bury St Edmunds, were yet to come through.

She added the cows had undergone veterinary checks and were receiving treatment.

However, the cause of the animals' condition is not believed to be disease-related.

The owner of the animals has been warned that he faces a possible prosecution, but it may take some time to complete the investigation, said Miss Wilkinson.

Chief Insp Mark Thompson, from the RSPCA, said: “I would like to thank my team and everyone locally who has offered assistance with providing transport or who have helped with the removal of the animals.

“Their offers have been greatly appreciated with what has been a difficult and large-scale operation.”

The RSPCA had to get a special licence from Defra to remove the cows because many of the animals were not tagged.

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