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Farmer sentenced following animal welfare offences

16 April 2024

A farmer from March has been sentenced by Peterborough Magistrates Court following an investigation by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards in relation to animal welfare offences.

Jack Smith, 21, who farmed cattle and pigs on land at Mill Hill Farm, Mill Hill Lane, March, pleaded guilty, on Wednesday 10 April, to 16 offences contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

Despite officers from Trading Standards visiting the farm on a number of occasions and Mr Smith receiving extensive advice from both Trading Standards and a veterinary surgeon from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), he failed to act to provide for the basic needs of his livestock.

Animals were kept in a hazardous environment under below standard conditions and given an inadequate diet. Farming practices were poor, and sick and injured animals were not housed appropriately with the necessary bedding or protected from pain and suffering. Veterinary advice was also not sought within appropriate timeframes to enable animals to receive the care they needed. 

Mr Smith was handed an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £26.

Peter Gell, Service Director for Regulatory Services at Cambridgeshire County Council commented: “Those that keep livestock must take animal welfare responsibilities seriously, letting animals suffer is not acceptable especially when there is advice and support available.

“Trading Standards will continue to take action to prevent suffering when its identified and use the sanctions available to deter others from offending.”

Aled Edwards, Head of Field Delivery England at the Animal and Plant Health Agency said: “I welcome the outcome of this case and hope it will act as a reminder to others of the importance of adhering to animal welfare legislation which is there to protect animals from inadequate treatment.

“This case demonstrates how our robust enforcement and close work with local authorities can bring those guilty of breaches of animal health and welfare legislation to justice.

“APHA takes potential breaches of animal health and welfare legislation very seriously and will continue to investigate all allegations.”