A mother and son have been given suspended prison sentences for a string of animal welfare offences, which led to the death or serious neglect of 84 cattle.
Margaret Jean Cooper, aged 80, and her son Richard Cooper, aged 55, both of Gilfachwith Farm in Llandysul, West Wales, had already pleaded guilty to seven charges.
These charges included causing the unnecessary suffering of 85 cattle, many of which died, as well as failing to dispose of carcasses.
Officers from Ceredigion County Council Animal Health and the Animal and Plant Health Agency described finding scenes of devastation when they first investigated the farm in May 2018.
Dead cattle were reportedly rotting alongside live animals in livestock sheds; the latter were subsequently taken away by the council to prevent further suffering.
Many of the animals were later put down because of the serious nature of their health issues.
At one stage, a council officer became stuck the deep slurry in the cattle shed.
Worst case in memory
Officers had never experienced such appalling conditions at any farm, according to the council’s corporate lead officer for policy and performance, Alun Williams.
“This case does not reflect the usual high standards of animal husbandry that is the norm in the two-and-a-half thousand farms in Ceredigion,” he added.
The pair were sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, banned from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered to pay costs to the council of £2,500 each, with a further victim surcharge of £150 each.
Mr Cooper was also made to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.
The duo were allowed to keep possession of their four elderly dogs for the duration of their lives.
“This was a horrendous case, as you know,” the chair of the magistrates told the convicted family members.
“We believe that your actions led to the sustained neglect of these animals, in that they were not provided with basic care needs, food, water, and bedding; dying tied to their stalls.
“There is clear evidence they have suffered over a long period of time. Also, carcasses of those that had died were mixed in with those that were living. It was horrendous,” they added.