A farmer who caused unnecessary suffering to more than 1,000 sheep and cattle has been handed a life ban from keeping animals.

John Ferguson, 50, of Welton of Creuchies, Alyth, Perthshire, pleaded guilty at Perth Sheriff’s Court to failing to provide 1,120 sheep and lambs and 95 cows and calves with a proper diet and necessary veterinary attention.

The investigation was led by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

Chief inspector for the SSPCA Brian Cowing said: “In my 32 years with the society, this is by far the worst animal welfare case I have dealt with on such a large scale with massive loss of livestock.

Many of the cattle and sheep were found to be in “extremely poor condition and emaciated”.

“One of the most distressing discoveries was a cow that had died while calving,” Mr Cowing said.

“That animal need not have suffered had proper stockmanship been deployed and veterinary care been provided in a timely fashion.

“A competent stockman would have readily identified the problems with the livestock on the farm and dealt with them through veterinary advice and treatment, adequate levels of feeding and supervision,” he said.

The ban prevents Mr Ferguson from owning, keeping or dealing in animals.

He was also ordered to complete 300 hours community service within a nine month period for the offences.

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