19 June 1998
Exporter gets six months
for cruelty to sheep

LIVESTOCK exporter Richard Price has been jailed for six months for allowing 500 sheep to die on a farm in Calne, Wiltshire.

Chairman of the bench at Chippenham Magistrates Court, Serena Henly, told Mr Price that his treatment of the sheep was callous and deliberate. “You were responsible and caused horrific cruelty to this flock, of which 500 had to be destroyed or died. You failed to provide food, shelter or adequate care.”

Mr Price was originally convicted of the crime in February, 1990 but fled to France before he could be sentenced. Then, by chance, Wiltshire County Council animal health inspectors found him living in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and took him to court this week.

Prosecuting for the county council, Barbara Mills said animal health inspectors had found a horrific catalogue of cruelty to the flock of 700 sheep at High Penn Farm. “The sheep had been neglected, kept in appalling conditions and left to starve,” she said.

Mr Price exported sheep for Elders Trading and was responsible for the purchase and management of the animals, she added. He was exporting 3000 lambs a week.

But a collapse in lamb prices had left him unable to sell the 700 sheep. The owners of High Penn Farm agreed to let him store 500 of the animals on their 17.4ha (43 acres), but Mr Price moved them all in. The farms owners then contacted animal health inspectors when they discovered that many of the flock had sheep scab.

Defending, Michael Jeary said Mr Price accepted responsibility for the condition of the sheep, but he did not have enough money to feed the animals. Mr Price was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,329 within 28 days of his release.

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 19-25 June, 1998

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