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Pig farmer receives suspended prison sentence for mistreating animals

PUBLISHED: 18:26 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:26 08 February 2018

A farmer has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting to the mistreatment of pigs. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A farmer has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting to the mistreatment of pigs. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A farmer has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting to the mistreatment of pigs.

Christopher Maskery, 24, of The Poplars in Spexhall near Halesworth, appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court this week charged with breaches of the Animal Welfare Act and Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.

Maskery pleaded guilty to two offences under the former act and two under the latter, including one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

Maskery also received a Prohibitive Activity Order which bans him from breeding pigs or taking in further animals for breeding purposes for the period of the suspended sentence.

He also has to pay £2,440 in costs and a victim surcharge of £115.

The initial alarm was raised in May 2017 when Suffolk Trading Standards received a complaint about some pigs which were extremely thin and living in poor conditions at Willow Farm in South Elmham.

Officers visited the farm along with a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

They found that no water or feed was available to the majority of the 25 pigs on the farm.

The water supply was found to have been disconnected from the building in which the animals were housed and no stored feed was found on the premises.

Officers also found sharp edges on barn doors and a number of pens that contained large amounts of plastic wrapping strewn around from old feed bags.

Two sows were put down after being found in a stall with no water, feed and nowhere dry to lay.

The vet concluded the pigs were emaciated and had not been sufficiently fed.

Maskery also stated that he had never administered any medicines for the pigs and had not sought veterinary advice, despite the condition they were found in.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Unnecessary suffering of animals is totally unacceptable and action by Suffolk Trading Standards will be taken against animal keepers who do not provide the appropriate conditions and care to animals.

“If anyone has concerns about the welfare of farmed animals please contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.”

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