A farm worker who neglected 1,700 pigs is sentenced

A farm worker who left pig carcases in the same sheds as live ones and neglected more than 1,700 pigs to the point where some had to be put down has been handed a prison sentence.

Thomas Betney, 21, was responsible for the pigs at his family’s farm at Green View Lodge, Hamsterley, County Durham, when officials found the animals in squalid conditions on October 31, 2017.

The Northern Echo reported that at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, district judge, Timothy Capstick, heard how officials from Durham County Council were almost ankle deep in pig muck when they conducted an inspection after being contacted by the Environment Agency.

Council solicitor, Stephen Buston, said 45 dead pigs were found in “varying degrees of decomposition” across the nine pig sheds which the live pigs would have had access to. A further 20 pigs had to be shot and three tankers of pig slurry removed from the site.

Mr Buston said all the pigs were removed and 200 were separated due to their “low body condition”. Following a further inspection on November 3, officials reported that the site had been cleaned up and the remaining pigs were allowed to go into the food chain.

Mr Betney pleaded guilty to 17 charges relating to his failure to provide the pigs with a suitable diet, housing and protecting them from pain and as well as failing to comply with his duties and requirements for complying with animal-byproducts.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 100 hours’ unpaid work. He was also disqualified from keeping pigs, cattle and sheep for 12 months and ordered to pay £2,168.51 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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