Animal cruelty farmer jailed for 12 months

A beef farmer has been jailed for 12 months for animal cruelty after welfare officers found the rotting carcasses of 33 cattle on his rented land.

James Stratton, 49, of Churton Heath Farm, Chester, Cheshire, admitted animal cruelty charges at Warrington Crown Court.

Mr Stratton was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

The county council welfare officers visited Cold Harbour Farm, where the animals were kept, on 13 February 2013 following an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.

As well as the 33 carcasses they found a further 37 cattle which were described as in such a “wild and dangerous” condition that they had to be destroyed by vets. Only one animal survived.

The court heard the deaths occurred because Mr Stratton had left the animals without food or water.

In his summing up Judge Roger Dutton likened the farm to a concentration camp and told Mr Stratton he was a “disgrace to the farming community”.

“It was more akin to some of the awful footage you saw at the end of the war,” Judge Dutton said.

Mr Stratton, who ran a farmhouse B&B at Churton Heath Farm, kept the beef cattle on rented land at nearby Cold Harbour Farm.

The court was told he was “struggling to cope” and was “too embarrassed” to ask for help.

(More on RSPCA animal cruelty figures )