Farmer fined for burying 1.25t of dead sheep at glamping site

A Cornwall farmer who buried more than a tonne of dead sheep at his glamping business has pleaded guilty to a string of animal welfare offences.

Kevin Hutchings of Pattacott Farm Camping and Glamping site, Maxworthy, failed to provide adequate food and medical care to animals and failed to properly dispose of 1,250kg of animal by-products.

Cornwall Council’s animal health team and a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency visited the farm in January and February 2020.

Plymouth Magistrates Court heard that Mr Hutchings had failed to provide poultry, sheep, pigs and cattle with adequate care. Most animals had no clean water or dry bedding.

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The officers found an emaciated year-old lamb which was unable to stand. A vet felt that the lamb had been subjected to cruelty and the animal was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

Officers found fields littered with fleece and sheep carcasses. A rotten smell, which could not be attributed to the carcasses, led the officers to a quarry on the farm that had been used to bury more than a tonne and a quarter of dead sheep.

The council ordered for the remains to be exhumed and correctly disposed of to prevent any pollution of ground water.

William Hazelton, representing Mr Hutchings, said the farmer had not sought veterinary advice and that the care given was well intentioned but incompetent.

The court heard Mr Hutchings’ business was under extreme financial strain, but that he had taken steps to improve conditions on the farm.

The magistrates gave credit for an early guilty plea, noting that Mr Hutchings now had a sheep health plan in place with his vets, and sympathised with his financial situation. The farmer was fined £1,855, plus £2,400 costs and a £181 victim surcharge.

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