Farmer banned from keeping animals after welfare offences

A Bedfordshire man has been disqualified from keeping farm animals for life after about 100 cows were found in his barns and fields – many of them emaciated, dying or dead.

The RSPCA was called in in January, in response to concerns about the British White cows kept at Green End Farm, Swineshead, Bedfordshire.

Arriving with a vet, the RSPCA found five of them already dead, and another nine in such a bad state they had to be put down.

See also: Police calls for RSPCA to lose its power to prosecute

A further 85 cows were taken into RSPCA care.

The farmer, 70-year old Andrew Peter Leishman, appeared at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Monday (7 November) and pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

Dead cow on straw


He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a number of the cattle, by failing to provide adequate nutrition, and to not providing a suitable environment.

Mr Leishman was given a life disqualification on keeping all farm animals, was given 240 hours of community service and was ordered to pay £94,375 costs to the RSPCA.

Starved to death

“I will never forget the sight of so many cows lying there dead, or dying, or so ill they would have gone that way had we not been called to the rescue,” said RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson.

“There were many animals lying there so still I thought they were dead at first. These were effectively starved to death.

“They just had not been given the food they needed.

“They had also been kept in filthy, completely unsuitable conditions – with deep litter all around them and in some cases up to their bellies.”

About 20 of the cows taken into RSPCA care did not survive, despite being under constant veterinary care.

The remaining 66 will be rehomed.

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