Sheep farmer fined for neglect of animal welfare

A FARMER FROM north Bucks has been fined £1050 and ordered to pay £450 towards costs for causing unnecessary suffering to seven sheep in his care, reports Milton Keynes Council trading standards.

Following a tip-off from a member of the public MK trading standards investigated a flock of 50 sheep in a field of about 1ha (2.47 acres) at Woolstone, Milton Keynes in January 2005. 

A random sample of 18 were selected for investigation, of these seven were found to be at a level of welfare that would support legal action. 

A spokesman for MK trading standards said that between 15 and 30% of the flock were severely lame and emaciated.

Michael Dickens of Parkhill Farm, Little Horwood near Milton Keynes pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals under the Protection of Animals Act (1911).

“The sheep had been suffering from these conditions for a considerable amount of time, these [conditions] are very treatable and could have been prevented,” said Paul Furneaux, Acting Chief Trading Standards Officer.

“The welfare of farm animals is something we always take very seriously. Those who do not look after their animals properly must expect to be brought before the courts and may even be banned from keeping them,” he added.

Mr Dickens received a Home Office caution for the poor condition of hid animals in 2003.

However, he was spared a ban on keeping farmed animals on the basis that he has now prepared a welfare plan to prevent this level mismanagement from happening again.

“You do now have a welfare plan in place to prevent this from happening in future. We are therefore not going to impose a ban to prevent you from keeping livestock,” said the magistrate.

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