South Warwickshire farmer given suspended sentence and banned from keeping animals - The Leamington Observer

South Warwickshire farmer given suspended sentence and banned from keeping animals

Leamington Editorial 4th Jul, 2023 Updated: 5th Jul, 2023   0

A FARMER from Leamington who left his animals living in three feet of muck and without sufficient water to drink has escaped being jailed.

Ewan David Wells of Main Street, Hunningham, was handed a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as being banned from keeping animals after it was heard in court that one of his ewes had been subjected to such unnecessary suffering it had to be put down.

The prosecution was brought by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.

The 64-year-old had already pleaded guilty to three Animal Health offences in December 2022 and appeared at Coventry Magistrates Court on June 29 for sentencing.

The offences spanned a period between March 1, 2019 and March 1, 2022 and were discovered following visits to the farm by Trading Standards Animal Health Officers and APHA Veterinary Inspectors.

One offence related to causing unnecessary suffering to a ewe and the other two to failing to take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of animals for which he was responsible were met to the extent required by good practice.

The court heard that there was a heavy accumulation of muck on the farm, three feet deep in some areas, which would make it difficult for animals, including young calves to walk.

In some places muck had reached the same height of the rims of water troughs leading to constant contamination of the water within.

Old, rotten hay and silage had been left at the bottom of a feed ring from which animals were seen eating and in some areas silage and fodder beets were fed from the floor where they were contaminated with faeces. A shed containing around 200 ewes and some new born lambs had insufficient numbers of water buckets or other water provisions.

Cattle buildings were in poor repair and cattle had access to areas of the farm that had barbed wire on the floor and piles of scrap metal.

Mr Wells’ farm was inspected after he had been prosecuted in 2020 for causing unnecessary suffering to a cow. When problems were found, the tenant farmer was given an opportunity to put things right but failed to do so.

In mitigation, Mr Stephen Cadwaladr, representing Mr Wells stated that his client had operated a small farm for all of his working life and was not a wealthy man. Mr Wells farmed alone, days on the farm were long and the work arduous and Mr Wells had reluctantly accepted that he could no longer perform physical tasks as well as he once could. Further, he maintained that Mr Wells’ failure to meet best practice was for these and associated reasons as opposed to intention or idleness.

Mr Wells was also handed a 16 week custodial sentence suspended for a period of 12 months, given a 15 day rehabilitation requirement and ordered to pay a contribution of £6000 towards prosecution costs and a £122 victim surcharge.

Mr Wells is not prevented from working with animals in the employment of another.

The disqualification order is suspended for a period of five weeks, until August 3 in order to allow Mr Wells to make alternative arrangements for the animals on his farm.

Mr Wells may not seek to apply to terminate the disqualification order until June 28, 2028.

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