Farm animals seized 'to stop them from dying'
A FARMER has appeared in court after his malnourished cows were found with their bones sticking out and their ribs on show.
James Hunt's animals were so under-fed they were at risk of dying, said trading standards officers.
They were also left without shelter and one pig was even kept locked in a trailer.
Officials this week said they had "no choice" but to prosecute the Louth farmer.
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They spoke after Hunt, 23, of Legbourne Road, pleaded guilty to 11 animal welfare charges at Boston Magistrates' Court on September 9.
Officers had tried to work with Hunt for three years to improve conditions for the animals on his farm.
But when he failed to act, trading standards say they had no option but to prosecute for offences including:
– inadequate food available
– dirty pens and no fresh bedding
– no proper shelter provided for animals
– keeping a pig permanently in a trailer
– failing to identify livestock
Hunt kept 35 cattle and one pig on the farm which had to be seized.
Alan Walsh, of Lincolnshire County Council trading standards, said: "The top rating for the condition of animals is five. When we took them from the farm, lots were scoring between one and two.
"Bones were sticking out and the ribs of some of the animals were showing.
"We seized the animals before Christmas as they were exposed to the poor weather conditions we had.
"We took them off the farm to stop them from dying. They would have died if we did not take them and if they were kept in the same conditions."
A pig was found locked in a trailer during visits by Trading Standards.
Ian Newell, service manager, said: "At the time of this investigation, Mr Hunt was providing no shelter to his animals from the wind, rain, hail and snow.
"The cattle were very weak and malnourished, and a pig was also found locked in a trailer."
The chairman of the bench presiding over the case said there had been "quite a significant level of neglect".
Vet Paul Gethings, an expert witness in the trial, said that this case did not deteriorate to the worst level of animal welfare offence, due to the timely intervention of Trading Standards, which prevented further suffering.
Hunt is due to be sentenced on October 21.